A dog may be man’s best friend, but most women don’t appreciate being called one or compared to one.
Rep. Todd Akin did just that to his opponent, incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), at a fundraiser in Springfield, Mo., Saturday night.
Eli Yokley, editor-in-chief of PoliticMo.com, captured the comment on audio: “She goes to Washington, D.C. It’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch,’ she goes to Washington, D.C., and gets all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.”
He continued, “It seems to me that she’s got it just backwards. What we should be doing is taking the common sense we see in Missouri and taking that to Washington, D.C., and blessing them with more solutions instead of more problems.”
The fundraiser featured former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, one of the few GOP party leaders who has stuck by Akin since the congressman’s infamous comment during a TV interview in August, during which he said a woman’s body had the ability to prevent pregnancy in the case of “legitimate rape.”
Shortly after that, Akin’s wife compared his treatment by GOP party bosses to rape, according to a National Journal interview.
Since then, Akin has continued to make comments that have failed to endear him to female voters. After his first debate with McCaskill, he said her behavior had not been very “ladylike.”
Akin discussed his opposition to the minimum wage and his vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act during a press conference I attended in Kansas City at the end of September.
He opposes abortion. Period. That certainly doesn’t alienate the entire female vote: There are plenty of women who are pro-life. But he also is against the morning-after pill, which he said was abortion – an incorrect comparison based on science. The morning-after pill contains the same hormones found in the birth-control pill but in a larger dose. It simply “shuts down” a woman’s ability to get pregnant that month by stopping or delaying ovulation.
And to think Akin sits on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology.
Protesters dog (pun intended) his every appearance. He’s seen as another soldier in the War against Women.
And now he compares McCaskill’s behavior to that of a dog.
I’ve heard Akin speak at press conferences and campaign rallies. He has an unrehearsed off-the-cuff style that sounds as if he’s just now thinking of what he’s going to say. I thought perhaps he’d affected that in order to sound more down home. Now I wonder if he really does campaign, unscripted.
Although Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney — who asked Akin to step down in August — still hasn’t come around and endorsed the Missouri Republican, his experience at a fundraiser should have been a lesson. Romney’s “47 percent” comment has haunted his campaign since, creating fodder for opponents who see him as removed from most Americans’ economic woes.
Akin is creating the same scenario with women. Any candidate out there should be aware of today’s plugged-in world. No comment is made in privacy. Someone has recorded it, and tomorrow it may very well appear on YouTube, as this comment about McCaskill already has.
Someone needs to muzzle Akin for the next two weeks.
Diana Reese is a freelance journalist in Kansas City and a former editor of Missouri Life magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.