Updated: 5:30 p.m. ET
As Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin makes a last-minute push for support in Missouri, his campaign is out with a new ad that, rather cryptically, touches on some of the issues that got him into hot water a few months ago: Rape and abortion.
Akin, who was rebuked by Republicans and Democrats alike for suggesting in an August interview that women couldn't get pregnant from "legitimate rape," has since fought to catch up with opponent Claire McCaskill, the state's Democratic incumbent, who has long been considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for re-election and who currently has a slim lead in the polls.
Even while his comments about rape and abortion earned Akin a widespread disavowal by his fellow Republicans, the candidate appears to be making a last stab at owning the issue: In "Care Ad," a minute-long spot released today by the campaign, a woman named Kelly who touches on her own experience with rape and abortion.
"I'm a woman who's had an abortion," she says. "I've been raped in my past."
The woman does not elaborate on her experience - it's unclear if the pregnancy she terminated was a consequence of the rape, nor does she state explicitly that she regrets having had an abortion - but she cites Akin's pro-life stance as grounds for her support. As CNN points out, Kelly expresses regret over the abortion in a longer video on Akin's website.
"The reason I'm voting for Todd and that I'm so proud of him is because he defends the unborn," she says. "He's a kind man, a passionate man, he has so much integrity."
The ad, which appears to be a last-ditch effort to appeal to women voters, also features a woman named Zoya, who seems to be expressing concerns that America is at risk of mirroring Russian social policies.
"I know Congressman Todd Akin knows what government's job is - that is to protect life, not to control life, like they did in Russia," she said. "The reason why I'm supporting Todd Akin is because I love this nation, I love my freedoms, I don't want to lose my freedoms. I don't want the same thing that happened to America as what happened to Russia."
The Akin campaign declined to comment on questions about the size and scope of the ad or the source. A spokesperson for the campaign said he did not know whether or not the woman in the ad who had an abortion did so as a result of being raped.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which in the past said it would not be providing funding to the Akin campaign as a result of his controversial August comments, did not respond to an inquiry as to whether or not it had helped fund this ad.