It took just two words for Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, to wreck his political future.
The two words — “legitimate rape” — were uttered during a local TV interview last weekend as part of a longer (and kooky) argument by Akin that many women who have been raped don’t become pregnant. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down,” he said. (In case you had any doubts, Akin is a member of Congress, not a doctor.)
Worst Week in Washington
Chris Cillizza grants the award to the Democrat, Republican, West Wing dweller, Capitol Hill insider, K Street dealer, business guru, sports hero, think tank scribblers or other inhabitant of Planet Beltway who experienced the absolute worst week.
More from Outlook
Gun metaphors riddle our slang.
From “Grapes of Wrath” to the White House.
An interview with the woman the novelist accused of “two-timing me with Cervantes.”
What hasn’t changed since the Bangladesh factory collapsed.
A national firestorm ensued, with nearly every prominent Republican in the country — up to and including presidential candidate Mitt Romney — calling on Akin to step aside so he wouldn’t cost the party a very winnable race against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).
But Akin let a Tuesday deadline to remove himself from the ballot pass, even as groups such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee were pulling millions out of the contest, where their hopes for victory were fading fast.
By week’s end, Akin had turned from apologetic to defiant, blasting the GOP establishment and the media in a series of tweets. One sample: “The media is against us. The Washington elites are against us. The party bosses are against us.”
Akin has become the political equivalent of those Japanese soldiers who continued to fight World War II after their side conceded. He’s a political dead man walking, and everyone seems to know it. Everyone, that is, but Akin.
Todd Akin, for not grasping that “legitimate rape” totally delegitimized your candidacy, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Have a candidate for the Worst Week
in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza
Read more from Outlook, friend us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.