WASHINGTON -- Democrats greeted Tuesday's announcement that controversial Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin is refusing to bow out of the Missouri contest by releasing a massive dump of opposition research, featuring many of the decidedly non-mainstream comments Akin made before his claims on "legitimate rape."
Among them, Akin compared Missouri's children's health insurance program to the Titanic, insisted the Senate's 2012 National Defense Authorization Act "legalizes bestiality" and claimed that the Matthew Shepard hate crimes legislation would be to blame for more hatred.
Since Akin sparked the firestorm with his comments on rape, many GOP leaders have appealed to him to quit. Akin has refused, and Tuesday at 5 p.m. Missouri time marked the last moment he could legally withdraw from the contest.
While Democrats condemned Akin's remarks, they -- and incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill -- argued that Akin had every right to run. Largely that's because McCaskill stands her best chance against him, and indeed, she has passed him in the polls.
The Akin opposition research featuring his top 10 "crazy" comments was prepared by the Democratic group American Bridge, and released soon after it was clear Akin would not withdraw.
"With the deadline now passed for Akin to withdraw his name from the November ballot, Republican strategists are wishing that they had had a way to shut down his whole candidacy. Instead, they are finding out that these are the consequences of nominating crazy," the organization said in releasing the material.
On the NDAA, Akin appeared aware that many in the Tea Party were alarmed that it included provisions that codified the military's power to detain people indefinitely. But he said they missed the even worse problem.
"The Senate version came across, a lot of Tea Party people take a good look at that bill and they’re going, 'we're worried that this may give Obama authority to bring troops in and arrest Americans and detain them for long periods of time.' Ok, so that was their concern," Akin said at a rally outside the Capitol. "They should have read it closer, because it also legalized bestiality. The Senate gets a little weird."
On hate crimes, Akin took to the House floor to oppose the landmark legislation inspired by the brutal murder of Shepard.
"The first major reason to vote no is because this bill increases hatred in America. I will say it again. This bill increases hatred in America," Akin argued. "It creates animosity by elevating one group over another group, and thus creates hatred. This is counter to everything American law has ever stood for, and it will increase hatred in America.”
In Akin's mind, the push to help millions of children get health care was like running the country into an iceberg.
"We're going to give that money to give free health insurance to children with families making more than $80,000, children of illegal immigrants," Akin said in 2007. "The Democrats are about to vote for something which will make the Titanic wreck look small.”
There are many other comments that are likely to now be featured in campaign speeches and ads by Democrats, including:
- Complaining of the lost states' rights during the Civil War
- Denying climate change, saying "the planet has not really been warming the last number of years"
- Saying there was "a huge economic incentive for people to be the have-nots"
- Comparing President Obama to the devil
- Questioning the constitutionality of Medicare
- Making up a story of human cloning to oppose stem cell research
- Comparing federal student loans to "stage 3 cancer of socialism" in America
- Saying the Social Security retirement age should be raised as high as 83
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