Rove unloads on Todd Akin on eve of GOP convention
August 27th, 2012
11:08 AM ET
2 years ago

Rove unloads on Todd Akin on eve of GOP convention

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - Republican strategist Karl Rove ramped up his criticism of Missouri candidate Todd Akin on Monday, calling his recent remarks about rape and abortion "morally incomprehensible" and insisting that he drop out of the race.

"I know Todd. He is a good man and he's got a good heart," Rove said at a breakfast in Tampa hosted by Politico. "He said a really stupid, indefensible thing from which there is no recovery and if he really cares are about the values of conservatism and pro-life, he will not go down for defeat as the biggest loss by a Republican candidate for Senate in modern history."

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

To make his point, Rove highlighted last week's Mason-Dixon poll surveying the race between Akin and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. The poll showed Akin's support plummeting in the wake of his now-infamous remark that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy.

"You can see that the guy was ahead by 10 points just after the Republican primary and a week later is behind by 8 or 9 or 10 and sinking," he said.

Rove's cash-flush 527 group, American Crossroads, has threatened to withhold funding for television ads in Missouri until Akin steps aside.

But the efforts of Washington-based GOP groups like Crossroads to push Akin out of the race have rankled some Christian conservatives, including former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee, who have rallied to Akin's side and urged him to fight on.

Rove said he understood their concerns but said there is no path forward for the Republican congressman.

"I talk to some conservatives who say, 'It's not fair. We have to stand with him,'" Rove said. "Well, it is unfair. I get that. But it was also incredibly wrong, and there was no recovery from it. It would be one thing if it was some minor misstatement. But this was pseudo-science and morally incomprehensible."

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Dan

    Akin's belief that abortions in the case of rape and incest are what makes Americans sick to their stomach.

    If Republicans want to distance themselves, they will announce this week that Ryan was wrong to introduce the bill in 2009 and Ryan/Akin were wrong for co-sponsoring banning abortion in the case of rape and incest.

    Rove can try to cover up the facts, but more Americans are realizing what the House Republicans did during the last 4 years instead of jobs bills.

    August 27, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. gt

    true....but his ego wont let him quit.its all about him...jerk...

    August 27, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Rove is correct. Akin will most likely lose. Unfortunately, Akin is a Republican, which means he will not admit that he is wrong about anything.

    Note that Akin said that he "mispoke." Akin did not, and will not, deny that he holds the beliefs expressed in his original remark. A lot of hard line right wingers hold that view, including Paul Ryan the presumptive VP nominee.

    August 27, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. somebody

    Pay close attention to what Rove and the rest of the GOP say about this. They are not upset with Todd Akin's position. His position fits almost perfectly with the GOP platform postition. They are upset that he actually said it in a public forum. They are upset because he will probably lose the senate seat because of it. Party First always.

    August 27, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. ST

    Rove should understand that whether Todd Akin goes or stays it doesn't make any difference. The damage has been made and it is beyond repair.

    August 27, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. Al-NY,NY

    Keep the $ flowing there Carl. We need this moron in the race

    August 27, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. PaulCat

    That's right Carl, he shouldn't have say it until after the election.

    August 27, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. Thomas

    Rove needs a sacrificial cow to take the heat off Flip and Flop.

    August 27, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. ragallo

    They eat their progeny.

    August 27, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. manhandler1

    "Morally icomprehensible?" This coming from the most morally incomprehensible man in the country. If I were him, I'd never. never bring the term up.

    August 27, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Doug

    Pseudo science is what the GOP is all about.

    August 27, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Sandy

    Oh please! They are just doing this so no one thinks they feel the same way as Akin.

    August 27, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Bill King

    Unless the GOP reversed it's Pro Life extremeism or at least modifies it there attacks on Todd Akin are moot

    August 27, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Four and The Door

    Although Akin said, " I'm not a quitter.", that's not the point. The point is he made an inexcusable error in judgement and he just needs to own up to that and do what is right. Leave the race. Be a patriot. Step aside for the good of the nation. This is bigger than your own ego.

    August 27, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. sonny chapman

    Karl Rove lecturing anyone on Morality ? Karl is only worried about losing an election. Morality has nothing to do with anything in Rove World;

    August 27, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Why is Turd Blossom venting. Akin just supported the republican's position of wanting to control womens' bodies. Just good ol southern christian values.

    August 27, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. 1Joyce

    Idiotic remark. He should have stepped aside. The money has stopped, as it should.

    August 27, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Alex

    Before last year, I didn't know much about Rove outside of his generally bad public image owing to association with the Bush presidency. I heard him speak and was honestly blown away by his intelligence and evenhandedness in discussing the big issues facing our country. My left-leaning friends who went in laughing about his record and how a liberal crowd would eat him up walked out of the venue in total silence, clearly stunned by how he presented his points and discussed the issues with wisdom.

    This is more great stuff from him. Rep. Akin is a blight on conservatism and only reinforces the stereotype of the uneducated Republican. He should step down and the party should recommit itself to free enterprise, freedom of choice and move away from dogmatism on social issues and leave those to states.

    August 27, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Tony

    Pseudo-science and morally incomprehensible? This is funny coming from Rove. He knows that on abortion, the Republican party platform agrees with Akin– no abortion under any circumstances.

    August 27, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. luke,az

    Why is Rove attacking Akin for beliefs that are in the Republican list of planks. The Republican party is being exposed as a party of hypocrites. How can anyone born in the 20th century vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket.

    August 27, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. BigTBone

    If I believed in god, Karl Rove is what Satan would look like. Or maybe Norquist.

    The "architect" indeed.

    August 27, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. Say No to Willard Romney Hood and Personhood Ann Ryand

    Akin = giving voice to the GOP platform, there is no difference. If he has to step down, the whole party should step down as well. Really, they should step down for the good of our nation.

    August 27, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. rs

    Here's the proof the GOP doesn't get the Todd Akin affair, and they don't get their role in the "War on Women". No doubt, Akin's comments on "legitimate rape", and his failure to understand the female reproductive system so totally in public looks bad, real bad. What looks much worse though are two things:
    First that the GOP sees women as merely vessels for children only- even children conceived through rape or incests (approx. 35,000 per year), and whould not only force women to bear their attcker's children- but then grant the rapist visitation rights. Akin is alone in this belief- every GOP member of the house voted for this, and Mr. Ryan has proposed this.
    Second: thee GOP has a hypocracy issue here. They want Akin to go away, yet they actually support his legislation 100%.

    Maybe old, rich, white men shouldn't play any role in legislating women's reproductive rights.

    August 27, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. gord

    the enemy with in –8 yr,s of roves america all-most destroyed america

    August 27, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. DumbasRocks [R]s

    ......."go down for defeat as the biggest loss by a Republican candidate for Senate in modern history."

    Akin will still make a race of it in Missouri. Why? Rove clearly underestimates the feral stupidity within both his party and the general electorate. This is especially baffling for Rove, who benefitted - no COUNTED ON! - this very stupidity to get his goofy puppet G. Bush elected. If people were so abysmally stupid enough to have voted for Bush twice, what's the big deal with throwing in a vote for Akin?

    August 27, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
1 2