Democrats are convinced Todd Akin faceplanted his way though the Missouri Senate race this week, pointing to the furor over his claim that Claire McCaskill wasn’t “ladylike” and his comparison of of the Democratic Senator to a caged animal.
Nonsense, Todd Akin says: everything is right on track.
Rick Tyler, the former Newt Gingrich adviser now working for Akin, told TPM that his candidate’s remarks are no problem.
“He’s doing great!” Tyler said.
On “ladylike,” Tyler accused Democrats of being overly sensitive.
“We don’t say ‘ladylike or gentlemanly?’ Did you notice how the president of the United States was introduced in his last speech? ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States. All those people must have been offended right?” he said. “I lost my subscription to the candidate’s guide to political correctness. Help me out how do I refer to the president’s wife? Isn’t she the First Lady?”
But Tyler suggested Akin perhaps wished he didn’t say the “caged wildcat” line.
“You should ask Joe Biden if putting African Americans back in chains is something he would like to retract,” he said.
Overall, though, Tyler said things are going the way Akin planned.
“I think we’ve returned to our regularly scheduled program,” he said. “That is that this race was always a referendum on Claire McCaskill and now has returned to a referendum on Claire McCaskill.”
Tyler has reason to feel confident. After the last day for Akin to drop out of the race passed on Tuesday, national Republicans came calling, warming to Akin’s candidacy after rejecting him in August following the “legitimate rape” flap that made him a household name.
Republicans want to win control of the Senate, and they say it’s hard to see a path to that goal without Missouri. So, held noses or not, they’re signaling a readiness to give Akin a boost. On Friday, Akin got two more pieces of national good news. Former Missouri Sens. Kit Bond and Jim Talent reversed course and endorsed him, and RNC chair Reince Priebus signaled his group might do the same.
Then again, Tyler also has reason to be wary. Akin’s not making it easy for national Republicans to sign on with his continued incendiary remarks. He went viral yet again Friday with his public opposition to the concept of equal pay laws.
Earlier in the day, NRSC chair John Cornyn (TX) said Akin’s not likely to be a senator.
“I just think that this is not a winnable race,” he told a Kentucky paper. “We have to make tough calculations based on limited resources and where to allocate it, where it will have the best likelihood of electing a Republican senator.”
Tyler said Cornyn’s going to come around.
“John’s a good friend and I think that if he wants to win the majority in the Senate, he’s going to have to target Missouri,” he said. “There’s no other way around it.”
Democrats, meanwhile, are loving every minute of the past five days.
“It’s been a whirlwhind of a week,” McCaskill spokesperson Caitlin Legacki told reporters in an email.
McCaskill, too, is having a field day on television.
“This is somebody who kind of makes Michele Bachmann look like a hippie,” she told MSNBC Friday.