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Becoming Legitimate?

Embattled Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin will be on the ballot in Missouri come election day. The deadline for him to dropout in time for a new candidate to be listed has passed. Despite the urging of nearly all Republican leaders--including Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and several Republican senators--Akin stubbornly refused to step aside. Akin's comments about "legitimate rape" rightfully sparked outrage over his inaccurate claims. Now that Republicans are stuck with Akin, some are starting to come out in support for him, including Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina and former presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Even Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, who previously offered harsh criticisms of Akin and urged him to drop out, now supports Akin. Meanwhile, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) leaders continue to strongly support Akin. After I reported last month how MBC leaders were supporting Akin and using MBC resources to push his campaign, Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the IRS urging an investigation of the MBC. Rather than back away, MBC leaders instead continued to support Akin with a conference call (as I reported in another article last month). Now two of those involved in the previous efforts--MBC employee Don Hinkle and pastor David Baker--are joining a bus tour to actively campaign on Akin's behalf. Also joining the effort are conservative Christian figures like Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum and Dick Bott of Bott Radio Network (both Missourians). Even as these figures attempt to baptize Akin's campaign and help him politically redeem himself, his mouth is causing more problems. As if Akin's comments last month about women and rape were not enough, today he leveled a sexist attack on his opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill, as he accused her of not being "ladylike" in her treatment of him during a recent debate. Perhaps Republican politicians and Christian leaders supporting him should donate duct tape for his mouth. Or perhaps they should quit trying to prop him up.

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