Rove's joke about Akin's 'murder' generates no laughs from his staff
Just when the national Republican anger – some would call it obsession – with Missouri U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin appeared to be waning, consultant Karl Rove resurrected it with actor Clint Eastwood-style talk.
Businessweek reports that when the topic of Akin arose at a GOP fundraiser this week in Tampa, Rove said, "We should sink Todd Akin. If he's found mysteriously murdered, don't look for my whereabouts!"
The comments swiftly were captured in the social-media whirlwind and have reached the ears of the Akin campaign back in Missouri – which had been hoping to get back to normal, after two weeks of controversy over the congressman’s observations about “legitimate rape.”
“Given the current FBI investigation of threats against Congressman Akin and call for acts of violence and rape against his family and staff, joking as to the potential murder of congressman Akin is deeply disturbing,” said Steve Taylor, Akin’s district director. “I am certain he misspoke.”
Late Friday afternoon, Rove called Akin to personally apologize, said Akin campaign spokesman Ryan Hite.
Rove, who controls the SuperPAC Crossroad GPS, is among the party leaders who have unsuccessfully sought to force out Akin as their party’s nominee against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. However, after an initial dip, recent polls have shown Akin to be neck-and-neck with McCaskill – prompting some Republicans to settle down.
Rove, however, has continued to maintain that Crossroads – which already has spent millions in Missouri on anti-McCaskill attack ads – won’t spend any more as long as Akin remains as the GOP nominee.
(Start of update) Meanwhile, the Missouri Highway Patrol was called in Friday to provide some temporary protection while Akin was campaigning in northwest Missouri, during his first public return to the trail since the controversy broke two weeks ago.
An Akin campaign spokesman confirmed that the patrol was called to deal with a small group of protesters who showed up at a town hall Akin was holding in Savannah, Mo., and blocked a roadway leading to a radio station where Akin was to visit for an on-air interview.
A patrol spokesman, Lt. John Hotz, said the patrol's response shouldn't be interpreted as ongoing protection for the congressman. "We responded as we would to any citizen'' seeking help, Hotz said. (End of update)