Republican leaders in Washington called on U.S. Rep. Todd Akin to pull out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, saying his campaign was unwinnable and he couldn't recover from his "legitimate rape" remark.
The thought from D.C. was that Akin was a loose canon whose verbal foibles would garner him unflattering headlines. But perhaps even they couldn't have expected Monday's kerfuffle in which a senior campaign leader used a profanity in describing the dog breed that Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, is.
It began last week when Akin likened McCaskill to a "dog" fetching Washington's problems and bringing them back to Missouri.
Akin made the comment at a fundraiser on Saturday, likening McCaskill to a "dog" playing "fetch," according to audio posted by the PoliticoMo.com website.
That comment quickly made the rounds on social media much like the comment did in August that women's bodies could shut down and prevent a pregnancy during a "legitimate rape." After the firestorm, Akin said he misspoke and Missouri voters would forgive him.
McCaskill briefly addressed the issue Monday after a rural get-out-the-vote effort in Festus, a small town about 30 miles south of St. Louis. She said Akin's Saturday comment was unfortunate, but declined further comment.
His campaign wasn't backing down Monday. Rick Tyler, a senior advisor to Akin, blasted out a tweet that took the dog comparison a step further into unprecedented territory.
"If Claire McCaskill were a dog, she'd be a 'Bullshuitsu,'" the tweet proclaimed.
McCaskill's campaign issued a short response.
"Once again, Akin's campaign has engaged in the kind of rhetoric that offends women and anyone else with a sense of decency," according to the statement. "We'll leave it to Missouri voters to make judgements about the kind of language being used by Akin's campaign."
However, McCaskill's spokeswoman did offer a quick list of the unflattering headlines that the comment is drawing in just a few hours.
Republicans need to gain four seats to win control of the Senate, which is one of the reasons national GOP leaders cited in urging Akin to leave the race.
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