It’s official: Todd Akin is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Missouri.

Cue the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which had made abundantly clear to Akin, and everyone else, that it would not spend a dime for him if he stayed in the race after his comments in August about “legitimate rape.”

After the deadline passed for Akin to leave the contest, the NRSC put out a statement this past week asserting that “as with every Republican Senate candidate, we hope Todd Akin wins in November and we will continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead.”

Rewarding the committee’s confidence, Akin told the Kansas City Star on Thursday that his opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), had acted more “ladylike” during her 2006 Senate campaign. (Yes, he really said that.)

Adding to the NRSC’s agita, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) — someone who seems to take great pleasure in making committee Chairman John Cornyn’s life more difficult (though he did send $100,000 to the NRSC this past week) — endorsed Akin, joining former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.).

Worth noting: Weeks before Akin won the Missouri primary in August, a top DeMint political adviser said that the congressman was the weakest candidate “because he’s too liberal on spending and earmarks.”

The Akin imbroglio has put the NRSC’s top aides, who are tasked with being political pragmatists in every possible situation, in an impossible spot — stuck between walking away from a badly damaged candidate and giving up on what should have been a very winnable race.

The NRSC, for watching Missouri go from a sure thing to a long shot, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

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