Akin Staying in After Meeting With Top-Level Evangelicals in Florida
The embattled GOP Senate candidate from Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin, met with key members of the Council for National Policy in Florida the past two days to assess his current status and whether he can remain a viable candidate in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri. Several sources told The Christian Post that Akin believes he can still win and wanted to stay in the race and in a late afternoon press conference, confirmed that on Friday.
"Apparently, there's some people who are having trouble understanding our message. I'd like to be clear on that today -- that we're going to be here through the November election, and we're going to be here to win," Akin said. "There may be some negotiations," he added, "but they don't include me."
After a hard-fought, three-way primary in which he captured the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, Akin's political honeymoon came to an abrupt halt when he used the phrase "legitimate rape" in response to an abortion question.
Since then, several Republican elected officials and party officers, including Mitt Romney, have asked him to relinquish his victory in hopes of salvaging any chance the GOP has to take the U.S. Senate in November. So far, Akin has refused their request.
The powerful, and somewhat mystic CNP organization weighed in on the issue by meeting with Akin on Wednesday evening and again on Thursday in hopes of helping him reach some consensus on his short-term future. Several members of the group that include Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, have publicly maintained their support for Akin while others have suggested he has no choice but to quit the race and allow another Republican – preferably a female candidate – to take his place on the ballot.
Perkins compared Akin's misstep to similar verbal gaffes delivered by Vice President Joe Biden, referring to it as a "Biden-ism."
"It was a Biden-ism," Perkins said on MSNBC. "Todd said he misspoke. He apologized for it. And so now I think it's time to move on."
Perkins did confirm the meeting between Akin and CNP and for all indications, it seems most of the group's members are still supportive of his candidacy.
"There was a private meeting that took place with Todd Akin just to talk with him and encourage him and the stand that he's taking," Perkins said. "From my perspective, our organization endorsed him in the primary, we endorsed him based upon the totality of his record. He has been a strong advocate for national defense, a strong advocate for life and for the family and for all Americans. And so our position on him and his candidacy has not changed."
Fox News television host Mike Huckabee also vowed to stay with Akin, writing in a blog post, "The Party's leaders have for reasons that aren't rational, left him behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding, a casualty of his self-inflicted, but not intentional wound. In a Party that supposedly stands for life, it was tragic to see the carefully orchestrated and systematic attack on a fellow Republican," wrote Huckabee.
"Not for a moral failure or corruption or a criminal act, but for a misstatement which he contritely and utterly repudiated. I was shocked by GOP leaders and elected officials who rushed so quickly to end the political life of a candidate over a mistaken comment in an interview."
But another member of the elusive CNP said Akin is a "dead man walking" and needs to step down in order to save face and at the same time, allow the GOP the opportunity to win a majority in the U.S. Senate.
"He really needs to end this whole mess and get out," said someone who attended the meeting with Akin but asked not to be identified. "I agree that he needs to have a say in who his replacement will be but it's obvious to me he will be a bigger distraction than a viable candidate."
Given Akin's strong stance and vow to fight on, some Republicans, including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, may have to evaluate how they treat Akin in the Show Me state that remains a must-win if Romney wants to take the oath of office next January.
On Thursday, Rep. Ryan was campaigning in Missouri with most all the major Republicans by his side absent Akin, who was meeting with CNP folks in Florida. Ryan never mentioned Akin during his remarks.
The past few days have also been especially difficult on Akin's family too. He and his family have received numerous death threats that are now being investigated by the authorities, including the Capitol Hill Police.
Gary Bauer, who is a former GOP presidential candidate and former head of Family Research Council, was about to board a plane to Tampa for the RNC convention. When asked what he thought Akin should do, all he said was, "I believe all Americans and all Missouri citizens should pray for Rep. Akin and his family while they make the tough decisions before them."