Why hasn’t Congress impeached President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder? Rep. Todd Akin says it’s simply a lack of votes. But he says that may change eventually.
“That’s a good question,” Akin told a constituent on Tuesday who asked just that. “I can’t speak for the other 400 and some congressmen, but I believe when they take a look at impeachment the question is do you have the votes to do it and, if you do it, it goes to the Senate, what’s going to happen with Harry Reid?”
The exchange was captured on video by Democratic tracker American Bridge at an event held by the Boone County Pachyderms in Columbia, Mo., and provided exclusively to TPM. Impeachment is generally considered a taboo topic among national Republicans, who prefer to limit their disagreements with the president to the political arena.
Akin continued, saying that “some of these are tactical questions, what’s the right way to do these things.”
“I think some of the thought was, he’s coming up at this point for election and the best way to impeach him is the ballot box,” Akin said. “So I think that’s the thought, because you’re never going to get something through the Senate. That doesn’t mean that at a certain point you just say enough, I don’t care enough about the Senate, duty calls us to just get up and just impeach this guy. And maybe he’s not quite gotten to the point where you’ve got the Republicans — basically all the Republican bloc is not quite mad enough for that.”
Still, Akin said he had plenty of relevant concerns: Obama, he said, “ignores the Constitution, he ignores the laws, he wants to impose all of the czars, he completely ignores the train wreck of the economy, which he’s causing with trillion-dollar-plus deficits every year you go along.”
He concluded the quicker way to remove Obama from office would be to wait for the election to run its course.
“He is a complete menace to our civilization,” he said. “The question is what’s the best way to get rid of him, I think probably at the ballot box next election, we need to get that done.”
Akin’s communications director did not immediately reply to an e-mail for comment or a message left with the congressman’s office. The NRCC did not immediately respond to a message on its after-hours line.
Update: Steve Taylor, communications direcotr for Akin, replied that while he cannot comment on his boss’s campaign, Akin has never made an “official” suggestion that Obama should be impeached:
“On the official side Congressman Akin has made no suggestion of impeaching President Obama. That said he does believe that the interests of the Country have not been well served by the current Administration. Of course this will by the nature of presidential elections be considered this November by the national electorate.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.