KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For months, Democrats have criticized what they call the Republicans’ war on women. The argument came to a head this weekend when Republican Representative Todd Akin spoke publicly about "legitimate rape."
Akin is running against incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill.
It could have been exactly what democratic strategists had hoped for. It could have been just a slip of the tongue. Either way, the fall out from Akin’s comments could play out on the national stage for weeks.
Watch here: Akin’s apology
Democrats may have won a battle in the ‘war on women’ when Akin did anything to fight back.
“This has been something that the Democratic Party has been trying to highlight for a while now. What he did was play beautifully into their plan, inadvertently," said Mona Lyne, associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri Kansas City.
Lyne thinks the long-term fall out from Akin's comments will be a larger divide among women voters.
“I think up until now, it's resonated mostly with democratic voters. This is going to allow them to get the attention of independent voters," she said.
Democrats, like Jackson County Democratic Committee Chair Stephen Bough, see Akin's actions as a reflection of the far right and the Republican party as a whole.
“Whether it's getting rid of Medicare or privatizing social security or talking about 'legitimate rape', it call comes from the same far fringe of the right wing," explained Bough.
Republican strategist Jason Klindt disagrees.
“I'm sure the democrats would love to paint with a broad brush here but we're going to have to judge Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on their own merits," Klindt fought back.
On Tuesday, Klindt told 41 Action News he can't remember ever seeing the Republican Party threaten to pull money from a campaign as fast as after Akin’s comments.
“We are in, truly, uncharted territory. I've never seen this before,” said Klindt.
"I think its offensive for the Republican Party to call on Todd Akin to bow down. They're clearly trying to protect the Republican Party," said Bough.
Protecting the chance to regain legislative power in Congress and the White House has quickly come to a head through Akin.
Even before his statements on Sunday, the race against McCaskill was highly publicized because Republicans are four seats away from seizing power the senate. McCaskill's seat was considered a toss-up.
Another long-term implication from the statements on rape could be a tarnished Romney-Ryan ticket. Paul Ryan has already been attacked for teaming up with Akin for a piece of legislation dealing with abortion.
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