Updated at 6:05 p.m. with more from Ralph Reed

Mike Huckabee vouches for Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), Crossroads GPS spends $4 million more on Senate races and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has a laugh. 

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* Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee gave embattled Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) some backup, sending an email to supporters saying he "was shocked by GOP leaders and elected officials who rushed so quickly to end the political life of a candidate over a mistaken comment in an interview." Also weighing in: Ann Wagner, the Republican nominee for Akin's House seat. "Todd has apologized and understands he was wrong in what he said.  It is now up to Missouri voters to decide whether they accept his apology," Wagner said in a statement.

Two reports indicate that Akin has been in Tampa meeting with conservative activists at the Council For National Policy, a group of conservatives shrouded in secrecy. CNN reported Faith And Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed said he spoke with Akin and that the congressman and his team are undergoing a “thorough assessment of whether or not the support is there to continue the campaign.” Reed told The Fix the quote was out of context and he had "no knowledge or awareness that he or hus (sic) campaign are engaged in any reassessment." Reed added, "all I said is that he had every right to make his own decision and make his own assessment.  I said I was confident he would make the right decision." For his own part, Akin tweeted Thursday that he had raised over $100,000 in the days since his controversial remarks.

* Stumping in New Mexico, Mitt Romney pitched an energy plan grounded in loosening environmental regulations and increasing domestic production of oil and coal. President Obama's campaign responded by casting the plan as an attempt to cater to oil companies.

* Two new Ohio Senate polls are out: A Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times Swing State Poll shows Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) leading Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel 48 percent to 41 percent while a University of Cincinnati survey shows Brown with a 48 percent to 47 percent lead, which is inside the margin of error.


* The Republican-aligned group Crossroads GPS launched a four-state, $4.2 million Senate race ad buy in Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, and Montana. A little more than half of the total buy is being spent in Florida, which contains several expensive media markets.

* A Winston Group poll of registered voters conducted for the GOP-aligned American Action Network shows a split when it comes to the Medicare messages the two parties are trying to drive home. When asked to choose between "the Republican candidate who says that President Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare for current seniors to fund his health care plan" and the "Democrat candidate who says that the Romney-Ryan plan will end Medicare as we know it and turn Medicare into a voucher system," 47 percent chose the former while 48 percent selected the latter.

* Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) does not believe the results of Republican-leaning automated pollster Rasmussen Reports' one-day poll showing Akin trailing her by ten points. McCaskill tweeted the survey "made me laugh out loud. If anyone believes that, I just turned 29. Sneaky stuff."

* Republican National Convention CEO Bill Harris sought to make clear that Republicans are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Issac and are continuing to move ahead with convention planning. "We continue to move forward with our planning and look forward to a successful convention," he said.


A taste of fame.

With Aaron Blake