JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill took aim Wednesday at Republican challenger Todd Akin with a new series of TV ads featuring rape survivors outraged by Akin's remark about "legitimate rape" and his opposition to emergency contraception.
The three separate ads feature individual testimonials from three women who said they were raped, including one who describes herself as a "pro-life" Republican and another self-described "pro-life mother" who calls herself a "woman of faith." The ads are among the most powerful yet by McCaskill, who is intent on reminding voters of Akin's remark about women's bodies having ways of avoiding pregnancy in "legitimate rape."
Akin's comment in mid-August drew widespread condemnation, including from GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and other top Republicans, who pressured him to drop out of the Senate race. Akin apologized repeatedly and instead forged ahead with his campaign, even as some deep-pocketed fundraising groups abandoned him. After a final drop-out deadline passed in late September and some GOP leaders in Missouri helped Akin raise campaign cash, McCaskill intensified the pressure on Akin with ads referencing his "legitimate rape" remark.
McCaskill's goal is to persuade voters that Akin didn't merely misspeak, but that his words revealed his extreme beliefs. Akin has countered by continuing to highlight his opposition to abortion while suggesting it is McCaskill who is out of line with most Missourians because of her support for President Barack Obama's marquee initiatives such as the 2009 stimulus act and 2010 health care law.
In her new ads, McCaskill links the "legitimate rape" remark to statements Akin made in a separate August interview in which he expressed support for a ban on emergency contraception.
"As far as I'm concerned, the morning-after pill is a form of abortion. I think we just shouldn't have abortion in this country," Akin said in the August interview on Kansas City radio station KCMO.
Two of the women in McCaskill's new ads suggest Akin wants to "criminalize emergency contraception."
One person, who describes herself as a Republican "pro-life mother" says: "I have never voted for Claire McCaskill, but because of Todd Akin, I will now."
Another declares that Akin's rape remark "showed his true colors" and adds: "As a woman of faith, I must forgive Todd Akin, but as a voter, it's not something I can forget."
Akin's campaign had no immediate comment about the ads.