With the most recent polling showing a virtually tied Senate race in Missouri, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is launching a new ad that uses footage her rival Rep. Todd Akin's controversial remarks on rape.
The ad shows Akin saying in an August interview, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Several Missouri women are featured in the ad. One woman calls Akin's comments "beyond the pale," while another says, "I worry about the misinformation he evidently believes."
Akin's comments on "legitimate rape" threw the Republican's Senate race into a tailspin, spurring Republican officials to disassociate themselves with his campaign and casting Akin as the face of the so-called Republican "war on women." Still, in the red state of Missouri, Akin has managed to stay within striking distance of McCaskill. The latest St. Louis Dispatch poll shows McCaskill leading by just two points, 45 percent to 43 percent.
In the final weeks of the campaign, Akin is moderating his tone on the campaign trail, the New York Times reports, remarking recently that the McCaskill ads are "trying to make me look like some kind of a weirdo or something."
Instead of casting himself as anti-establishment, Akin now sticks to safer themes like smaller government, according to the Times, while he rarely brings up the topics of rape or abortion. It's a change of course from even just a week ago, when his campaign caused an uproar by. When a supporter at a recent rally suggested that McCaskill was President Obama's "lap dog," Akin reportedly told him with a smile, "I don't use that word 'dog' anymore. It gets me in trouble."