Before yesterday, it had been 73 days since President Obama had answered a single question from the White House news corps on U.S. soil. Sure, he has since told Entertainment Tonight that George Clooney is “a wonderful guy,” and he told a New Mexico radio DJ that if he had a super power he would like “to be able to speak any language.” But as far as serious questions go, like, “Mr. President, why do you believe that now is a good time to raise taxes on the United States economy?” Obama has avoided them like the plague.
Until Todd Akin.
On Sunday, Akin told the St. Louis Fox affiliate, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that [pregnancy] down.” Akin has since apologized for using the phrase “legitimate rape” and has also admitted his assertion, that the female body automatically rejects pregnancies from rape, is 100 percent false. But that has not stopped the full force of the Republican establishment from trying to push him out of the race.
American Crossroads, the Super PAC founded by Karl Rove, has told Akin that if he stays in the race they will not spend any more money on the election. Same with the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Mitt Romney called Akin’s comments “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.” Paul Ryan has personally called Akin and asked him to leave the race. And Sen. Joh Cornyn, R-Texas, said, “Over the next 24 hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service.”
Akin has until 5 pm tonight to withdrawal from the race. If he does, the Missouri Republican Party can select a new nominee with no penalty. If he doesn’t, he can still withdrawal later, but Republicans would have to pay the state to have new ballots printed.
But Akin seems undaunted. He has repeatedly announced he has no intention of leaving the race and he even released a new ad this morning asking Missouri voters for forgiveness. And a new Public Policy Polling poll released today shows Akin still leading Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., 44-43. It is entirely possible that Akin’s ego is big enough that he will risk sinking his entire party by staying in the race.
Which would be great news for Obama. Despite the fact that Election Day is just 77 days away, the first question Obama was asked was about Akin. “Rape is rape,” Obama responded. Later, when asked to defend his campaign’s accusations that Romney is a felon, Obama said, “Nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon.” That is a flat out lie. His deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter first accused Romney of being a felon on a July 12th media conference call and then given an opportunity to retract her claim on CNN on July 16th she repeated the accusation.
But nobody in the White House press corps followed up. They were all too busy covering Todd Akin.
Money: Obama and the DNC spent more money ($91 million) than they took in ($75 million) in July, leaving them with just $124 million cash on hand. Romney, meanwhile, raised $101 million and now has $186 million cash on hand.
Obama: Campaigning in Ohio today, Obama will attack Paul Ryan on education spending.
Romney: Paul Ryan will hold to rallies in Pennsylvania today.
In Other News
Gallup, Swing-State Voters Say They Are No Better Off Than in 2008: A majority of voters in key 2012 election swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago; 40% say they are better off. Swing-state voters’ assessments of their situation compared with 2008 have varied little since last fall.
The Wall Street Journal, Europe Bank Quashes Bond-Buy Talk: The European Central Bank, backed by Germany, shot down speculation that the ECB is preparing to dramatically escalate its crisis response by setting a cap on government-bond yields in Spain, Italy and other debt-saddled euro-zone countries.
A The Corner, Katrina Trinko explains “How the GOP Can Win the Medicare Fight.”
The Wall Street Journal fact checks Obama’s claim that Ryan’s Medicare plan will cost seniors $6,400 a year.
Human Events John Gizzi reports that this year’s Republican platform will be much more conservative than the last one.
Talking Points Memo profiles the Election Protection program of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.
The Huffington Post‘s Sam Stein looks at David Axelrod’s efforts to tie Todd Akin to Paul Ryan.
Peter Orszag claims “Private-Market Tooth Fairy” can’t cut health care spending.