Former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) took a swipe at Karl Rove's latest venture on Wednesday, blasting the Republican strategist's new project as a "disrespectful" and thinly veiled attempt to "get rid of conservatives."
"It may be another example of big-government conservatism, to try to bypass primaries,” Akin said in an interview with The Hill of Rove's Conservative Victory Project, which will oppose fringe candidates in Republican primaries. "If they were successful, it basically helps kill the grassroots heart of the party. I think it’s very non-constructive."
Akin waged an unsuccessful Senate bid against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) last year. Many blamed Akin's defeat on his controversial remark that "legitimate rape" victims rarely become pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
The Rove-backed project, an offshoot of the American Crossroads super PAC, will look to prevent future Todd Akins from beating more electable candidates in congressional primaries.
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” American Crossroads president Steven J. Law told the New York Times. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win."
Rove also defended the project last week, telling Fox News that candidates like Akin do not represent the best of what the Republican Party has to offer.
"It's amazing that people think Todd Akin was the best we could've come up with," Rove said. "He wasn't even a Tea Partier."
Akin, whom Law has cited by name as one of the candidates who inspired the new effort, said that he doesn't take the project personally, but believes it will be detrimental to the GOP.
“I think people are going to be wise to that attempt to bypass primary elections," Akin said. "To me, I think that’s tremendously disrespectful to the grassroots Republican primary voters."