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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Epic Denial of the Akin Campaign



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I realize almost everyone is sick of hearing about Todd Akin, but sometimes the level of delusion is pretty spectacular, even by the standard of the usual rampaging egos and narcissists of politics. For example, here’s his response to this morning’s Rasmussen poll, which shows Akin down, 48 percent to 38 percent:

The following statement was released by Perry Akin, Campaign Manager for Todd Akin for Senate, in response to the Rasmussen poll released this morning:

“The fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48% after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is. If she can’t break fifty percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down. Todd is in this race to win; we will close this gap and win in November with the support of the grassroots in Missouri and across America.”

Potential first lesson of politics: No matter how much you love him, do not select your son to run your campaign. He may have a hard time acknowledging difficult truths when the candidate is someone so close to him.

Not that the Akins care, but McCaskill’s been polling in the low to mid 40s so far, so she’s actually improving in Rasmussen’s latest. Meanwhile, here’s how he was polling in the head-to-head match-ups before his infamous remarks: 51, 47, 49, 50, 45, 48, 50. In other words, he’s dropped significantly, she’s up a bit.

They will “close this gap” — how? By insisting to the world that he’s “standing on principle,” when every principle he claims to hold dear is endangered by his candidacy? Any other pro-life candidate would have a better shot at winning the race in November than Akin.

By endlessly admitting that he was “misinformed” on the issue that is the centerpiece of his campaign and one of his passions?

By endlessly invoking the faux-apology that he “wasn’t perfect”? Trust us, sir, we’ve never held that belief.

By repeatedly invoking primary results, when those primary results would have looked quite different had Akin made his remarks before GOP primary voters cast their ballots?

By bragging that “hundreds of people have joined our cause” in a state with 4.1 million registered voters?

We’ve seen this before — a candidate makes nonsensical, controversial, or self-destructive statements before the electorate, and the electorate recoils. The rest of the GOP sees signs of trouble, and starts expressing those concerns in increasing volume, but the candidate resists the urge to withdraw from the race. The candidate and the campaign insist to the rest of the party that they know what they’re doing, that the race is still winnable, and that the world will soon be shocked by a most unexpected victory. We saw it from Katherine Harris in 2006, and from Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Carl Paladino in 2010.

These candidates and their teams always insist that they know better. They always insist that they have some sort of secret understanding of the race, some sort of secret game plan or strategy that will completely change the circumstances. And they always, always, always lose.


Tags: Claire McCaskill , Rasmussen , Todd Akin


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