Todd Akin is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Todd Akin

“What the hell was Todd Akin thinking?” seems to be the question being asked by everyone — conservative and liberal alike — since the Missouri Republican appeared on St. Louis-based KTVI on Sunday morning.

In case you missed it, Akin, who won the GOP nomination for United States Senate earlier this month, told KTVI on the question of rape and abortion that “[i]f it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

Given that this Senate seat is key for Republicans, Akin’s comments have many worried that they may miss their shot. Sen. Clarie McCaskill, who currently trails Akin by 11 points, is seizing on the opportunity to blast her opponent, noting that the comments are “a window into Todd Akin’s mind.”

Republicans, seeing the potential that the gaffe could cost them the seat, are slamming Akin’s remarks. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee, told the National Review that Akin’s remarks were “inexcusable.” Karl Rove says that the Missouri GOP Senate nominee has “some real explaining to do.” Michelle Malkin, a conservative commentator, called Akin’s remarks “ignorant, garbled nonsense.” And Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who is in his own tough fight for re-election, not only condemned the remarks but is calling on Akin to resign his nomination and let someone else step in.

This election is going to come down to the economy, not unimportant social issues. Akin should’ve passed on the question, preferring instead to focus on McCaskill’s frequent support of President Obama’s economic policies, including the stimulus bill and ObamaCare.

Can he still win the seat? Who knows. Voters do have a short-term memory, and while Akin will take heat for a few weeks over the remark, he’ll have an opportunity to refocus on other issues. But for the moment, Akin has put life back into McCaskill’s campaign and possibly put Republican hopes of taking back the Senate in jeopardy.

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