The ads Senate Republicans have dreaded in Missouri are here

October 10, 2012

Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-Mo.) campaign has unleashed a series of brutal new TV ads hitting Rep. Todd Akin (R) squarely where it hurts the most: the issue of rape.

Each spot features a woman who says she has survived a sexual assault. Two of the women also identify as being "pro-life" on the issue of abortion. 

One spot hits Akin for his opposition to emergency contraception. It features a woman who identifies herself as a "pro-life" Republican who survived rape. She says that while she declined emergency contraception, she believes no woman should be denied the option.

"I'm a Republican and a pro-life mother, and a rape survivor," the woman says in a spot titled "Diana." "In the hospital I was offered emergency contraception. Because of my personal beliefs, I declined. Here's what else I believe: no woman should be denied that choice. What Todd Akin said is offensive, but what he believes is worse. He would criminalize emergency contraception."

Akin stoked controversy in August when he said in an interview that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy.

A second McCaskill spot slams Akin over his remark. "I’m a pro-life mother, and a survivor of an extremely violent sexual assault. As a woman of faith, I must forgive Todd Akin. But as a voter, it’s not something I can forget," says a second woman in a spot titled "Joanie."

In a third spot called "Rachel," a woman who says she took emergency contraception after being raped says: "What Todd Akin said was troubling enough, but it’s what he believes that’s worse. His policies would criminalize emergency contraception for women who are raped."

The ads represent McCaskill's harshest assault yet against Akin, and underscores the challenge the Republican faces with under four weeks to go until Election Day. 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Chris Cillizza | October 10, 2012