WASHINGTON, D.C. — With some polls showing Rep. Todd Akin and Sen. Claire McCaskill in a tight contest for U.S. Senate in Missouri, both campaigns have returned in the final days of the campaign to the issue that has defined the race: Akin's remark about "legitimate rape."
The McCaskill campaign's latest ad invokes Mitt Romney's response immediately following that controversy, when Romney said Akin should quit the race.
"Is Todd Akin fit to serve in the Senate?" a narrator in the ad asks. "Mitt Romney doesn't think so."
The ad cuts to Romney saying: "What he said was indefensible. It was wrong. It was offensive, and he should step out of the race."
Meanwhile, Akin's campaign, buoyed by a last-minute influx of money and advertising from outside groups, has launched an ad blitz of its own: The campaign plans to spend $1.75 million running pro-Akin television statewide in the final week of the election, $367,000 of which will be paid by the Missouri Republican Party.
In one of those ads, an Akin supporter, Kelly Burrell, says, "I've had an abortion. I've been raped in my past." She adds, "The reason that I'm voting for Todd and that I'm so proud of him is because he defends the unborn."
But Akin's most recent ad essentially retools and shortens one he's been using on the campaign trail: It features two of the same women, including Burrell, who has also appeared with Akin on the campaign trail. In both ads and in public, Burrell has spoken about having been raped, and regretting having an abortion.