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McCaskill hits Todd Akin with new ad, raises 'legitimate rape' remark

Todd Akin is getting $250,000 in support from the Freedom's Defense Fund. But the Republican National Committee isn't supporting Todd Akin.

By David A. LiebAssociated Press / September 26, 2012

Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, and his wife Lulli Akin, left, take part in a news conference at the start of a statewide bus tour, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in St. Louis.

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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Jefferson City, Mo.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is airing a new ad highlighting Rep. Todd Akin's much-criticized remark about rape, moving quickly to capitalize on her Republican challenger's comment as it became clear Tuesday that he wasn't dropping out of the Senate race.

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Akin also sought to capitalize on Tuesday's deadline for candidates to withdraw by court order from the Missouri ballot. Instead of quitting, the congressman rallied with about 200 supporters in St. Louis before launching a statewide bus tour and asked for donations to replenish his financially strapped campaign.

Akin has repeatedly apologized and rejected calls from top Republicans to quit the Senate race after a television interview aired Aug. 19 in which he said that women's bodies have ways of averting pregnancy in cases of what he called "legitimate rape."

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Some doubted his resolve to remain in the race, making Tuesday's drop-out deadline an important mark six weeks before the Nov. 6 election. But the 5 p.m. deadline passed without Akin quitting.

At his St. Louis rally, Akin said he was "given a trust" by voters who nominated him in the Aug. 7 Republican primary. He also compared himself to former Missouri Sen. Harry Truman, who overcame opposition from fellow Democrats to win re-election in 1940, later becoming vice president and then president.

"I have one purpose going into November, and that's replacing Claire McCaskill," Akin said in a five-minute speech prefaced by endorsements from various religious leaders and conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. He left without taking questions from reporters.

Earlier Tuesday, McCaskill's campaign website debuted an ad citing comments Akin made over the past year expressing dislike for Social Security, questioning the constitutionality of the Medicare program and voicing opposition to the federal government's role in setting a minimum wage and financing student loans.

The ad culminates by referencing Akin's remark about rape and asks: "What will he say next?"

McCaskill's campaign said the ad is running on TV stations statewide.

It marks the first time McCaskill has addressed Akin's rape remark in an ad, though she has cited his comments about other issues from the moment he won the Republican primary. As the drop-out deadline passed Tuesday, McCaskill also launched a new online fundraising drive with the declaration: "Todd Akin is Officially Claire's Opponent."

After his rape remark, Akin lost the financial support of the Republican National Committee, the GOP's Senate campaign arm and the Crossroads group affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove. That eliminated millions of dollars of planned advertising in Missouri.

Akin has countered that with a small-dollar, online fundraising drive highlighting how he's standing up to Republican Party bosses and President Barack Obama's administration. Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich headlined a more traditional fundraiser Monday for Akin. And late Tuesday,

And late Tuesday, Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt changed course by saying he was supporting Akin — whom he'd called on to quit the Senate race last month in a joint statement with four former Missouri senators.

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