08/22/2012 05:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Karl Rove Propped Up Todd Akin With Millions, Then Immediately Cut Ties Over Rape Comment

Republican Rep. Todd Akin has refused to drop out of Missouri's Senate race, defying calls from leaders of his own party who say he could hurt Republican chances this November.

Akin sparked a national controversy over the weekend after he told an interviewer that women are somehow capable of blocking pregnancy during what he called a "legitimate rape," a comment he later apologized over.

Republicans, from presidential candidate Mitt Romney to Karl Rove to Senate leaders, urged Akin to withdraw before a Tuesday deadline for Missouri candidates. But Akin has pressed ahead with his campaign, tweeting to supporters: "Donations are pouring in. Thank you for standing up against the liberal elite."

Democracy Now! discusses Karl Roves influence in Akin's Senate race with Craig Unger, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and author of the new book, Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove's Secret Kingdom of Power.

Unger says that Rove's super PAC "had put in more than $5 million into the Akin campaign, which was twice as much as the Akin campaign itself had put in. So he was responsible for Akin's lead over McCaskill more than anyone." However, on the Akin controversy, Unger says, "This is [Rove's] nightmare. And he was doing everything he could to pull the plug immediately. ... This is not the conversation [the Republicans] want to have."

While Rove was almost indicted for the Valerie Plame Wilson affair, he has reinvented himself to become the most powerful political operative in America. Heading up the American Crossroads super PAC and the affiliated non-profit Crossroads GPS, Rove has built up a war chest that has given Mitt Romney a significant cash advantage in the fundraising race with President Obama.

In Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove's Secret Kingdom of Power, Unger writes that Rove's ambitions are not simply about winning elections, but represent "a far more grandiose vision -- the forging of a historic realignment of America's political landscape, the transformation of America into effectively a one-party state." Democracy Now! speaks to Unger at length about his book, which will be released Sept. 4.

Click here to read the complete transcript of this interview and for more information about Democracy Now!, an independent, global weekday news hour.

For all of our coverage on the 2012 election, visit the Democracy Now! news archive here.

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