Rebounding from recent controversy, Rep. Todd Akin is climbing in the polls and fighting to win a valuable seat in the Republican race to take control of the Senate.
Two months ago, Akin, R-Mo., was riding high. He had just won a very competitive U.S. Senate primary and was comfortably ahead of embattled Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
About two weeks later, all of that changed when Akin took heavy fire for saying that women’s bodies have a natural mechanism for preventing pregnancy in the case of “legitimate rape.” That triggered a swing in the polls and prompted scores of Republicans to call for his withdrawal from the race. Ultimately, Akin decided to stay in the race. And despite the pressure, he told WND’s Greg Corombos the decision was an easy one.
“Many people in politics make the mistake of saying ‘Can we win?’ or ‘How do we win?’ instead of ‘What’s the right thing to do?'” said Akin. My sense of this was it was really pretty straightforward. There had been eight people who’d been involved in the primary for about 16 months. When it was all done, Republicans in the state of Missouri selected who they wanted to run against Claire McCaskill. It turned out that it was me. ”
Akin said winning that primary carried a very special responsibility, regardless of controversy.
“Now there are people that want me to step aside so they can appoint someone else,” he said. “I don’t really believe that it’s even a moral thing for me to do. [I’ve] been given, in a sense, a sacred trust to try to take back the Senate for the Republicans.”
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Akin said his initial instincts were confirmed a few days later when national Republican leaders asked him to drop out of the race, the same people who gave the cold shoulder to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in his Senate race against Charlie Crist in 2010 and who also tried to knock off Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul that same year.
“I’m not going to play their game,” said Akin. “The people of our state chose me because of the beliefs that I have and what I have to offer. I’m not going to allow a couple of party bosses to chase somebody out and name who they wanted to replace him.”
Akin said his withdrawal would have triggered chaos as different camps jockeyed for their preferred candidate to be the new nominee – without the blessing of Republican voters in the state. He also asserted that he made the right decision, regardless of the outcome in November.
Right now, the race appears to be very tight. Akin cited two polls showing him ahead of Sen. McCaskill by one to three percentage points. Two other polls show her up five to six points. Akin insisted that the uproar over his comments is not distracting him or the voters of Missouri. He acknowledged that the media and Sen. McCaskill are attempting to keep the focus on his abortion comments, but he said it’s a tactic that won’t work.
“Claire McCaskill is going to try to make the race about all kinds of little things. It’s a distraction to get away from how she voted. They want to make it about how (Akin) thinks or what he said or what somebody else thinks or what they said about what he thought that she thought that he said,” mused Akin. “Anything but her voting record, which is just a disaster for the state of Missouri and a disaster for her politically.”
Akin said McCaskill has to answer for being the deciding vote for the Obama health plan, despite 71 percent of Missourians voting against it in a statewide referendum. Akin also slammed McCaskill for voting for the stimulus plan, and in the process cutting programs for education and veterans while managing to insert a million taxpayer dollars for her family’s business.
Akin is not impressed by the drop in the national unemployment rate to 7.8 percent in September.
“I don’t know how anybody who really knows anything about business or our economy could be very impressed with where we are,” he told WND.
The congressman echoed the Romney campaign in pointing out that the calculation doesn’t include millions of workers who have dropped out of the labor market because they can’t find work.
“There are policies that we have put in place and that Obama has built up over the last four years that are highly destructive to job creation,” Akin said, citing the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world and an onslaught of federal regulations that has small business owners terrified.
Akin believes he will win the Senate race in four weeks for one overwhelming reason.
“We have a senator who has gone to Washington, D.C., and scooped up a whole lot of Washington and brought it back to Missouri and dumped it all on us,” said Akin. “You’ve got Obamacare, the stimulus and all the bailouts and all these other things. It seems to me that the exact opposite should be the job of a senator from Missouri. Let’s take the common sense from Missouri and take it back to help the people in Washington.”