Missouri GOP Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin is getting plenty of advice on what to do after making some unfortunate comments last weekend about how a woman's body could handle a "legitimate rape." Even Sarah Palin – one of the tea party favorites – is calling for him to step aside in hopes that Republicans can still gain a majority in the U.S. Senate.
"He's inviting himself back into this general election that's coming up, and he's going to get defeated. And that's unfortunate," the former Alaska governor said on Fox News' "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren." "That is why we have to think pragmatically about this, and we have to think, well, what's another option? Is a third-party another option? If it is, let's go. The status quo has got to go."
Palin, who does not have a reputation of being a "country club," or typical mainstream Republican, has thrown her support behind former state treasurer Sarah Steelman who was her first choice in the competitive Missouri GOP primary. The party's more mainstream faction has for the most part supported businessman John Brunner who spent over $7 million of his own money in the race and came in second.
Soon after Akin made the controversial statements that gave top Republicans a case of heavy heartburn, top officials – including Mitt Romney – have called for the six-term Congressman to step aside in hopes that the party can still win.
However, the initial and intense pressure placed on Akin by GOP heavyweights may have produced a reaction that went against what they intended. Akin announced on Tuesday that he was staying in the race and asked for forgiveness from the voters.
One high-ranking Republican who has fought for social values for years said the situation not only places an Akin victory in danger, but also endangers the chance for Romney to win the Show Me state. Yet if Akin does stay in then the party will have to figure out a way to fund his campaign, calling it a "horrible problem."
"The constant and poor treatment by the party could end up throwing the election for Romney if they are not careful," the anonymous insider told The Christian Post. "Under no circumstances can Romney win the White House unless he wins Missouri. If he (Akin) stays in they've got to figure out a way to get money to him. It's a long uphill climb to win control of the Senate unless you win that seat."
The controversial remarks Akin made in an interview with KTVI-TV on Sunday were: "From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."
Some pro-life women such as Elizabeth Graham, the director of Texas Right to Life, are coming to Akin's defense and makes the case that although rape is a horrible and usually violent crime, "abortion cannot right that wrong."
"Our views to protect life are being assaulted in the media right now because of the liberal venom," she said.
"The Left is lying when they say that Akin doesn't understand what rape really is. I've heard on the liberal news channels that his position is 'medieval.' Look at what the extreme leftist Debbie Wasserman Schultz said this evening to pro-abortion supporters: 'It's 2012. The entire Republican Party just said it wants a constitutional amendment telling rape survivors they don't get to make their own health care decisions. Democrats across the country are fighting back.'"
Conservative columnist Bill Kristol said in a blog post in The Weekly Standard on Wednesday, that if left to his own accord, it is possible Akin will exit on his own terms before Labor Day.
"My advice, for what it's worth, to conservatives and Republicans desperate to see Todd Akin off the ballot in Missouri: You've made your point," wrote Kristol. "You've bewailed and denounced and threatened. Now it's time to hearken to the words of Lincoln, in his great Temperance Address, delivered on Washington's birthday in 1842 in Springfield, Illinois, addressing the fervent and fervid temperance advocates of his time-but also the fervent and fervid of all times."
"Now is the time for kind, unassuming-and private-persuasion by conservatives, by pro-life and pro-marriage advocates, by serious people who've worked with Akin and by his fellow Missourians. I have reason to believe that's now beginning to happen behind the scenes. And I suspect that by the Democratic convention, by Labor Day, Akin will have stepped aside."
Former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer says Romney and other candidates need to put the focus where it belongs and not allow liberals to frame the debate and not allow themselves to constantly play defense.
"What every GOP candidate and group, including Romney, need to do when asked about the tough issues is to avoid getting into a debate and turn the issue back to the president and vice president who favor late-term abortions," Bauer told The Christian Post. "When matters of life and the treatment of women are discussed, the Democrats have far more to answer to than Republicans."
Chuck Donavan of the Charlotte Lozier Institute agrees with Bauer's assessment.
"With astonishing regularity, media voices that won't spend more than a minute examining Barack Obama's support for keeping sex-selection abortion legal, or his opposition to a law guaranteeing equal treatment for children born alive after failed abortions, chime in feverishly when a Republican lawmaker speaks inaccurately about abortion and rape," Donavan said in an emailed statement.
"Representative Todd Akin's remarks prompted a CNN headline that abortion is now at the "center" of the 2012 campaign. If CNN means a full debate on the issue, so be it, despite this unfortunate entry point. More likely, there will be little real debate."
If Akin does step aside, the Missouri Republican Party will be tasked with selecting his replacement.