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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

McCaskill Ads Feature Victims of Sexual Assault


Senator Claire McCaskill's campaign released blistering attack ads against Representative Todd Akin on Wednesday that featured three Republican women who said they were rape victims and criticized Mr. Akin for his opposition to allowing sexual assault victims to have access to emergency contraception.

In three separate 30-second clips, each woman â€" listed only by a first name, Diana, Joanie and Rachel â€" stares directly into the camera and makes her pitch against Mr. Akin, accusing him of denying women a right to choose.

Diana described herself as a pro-life mother who never has voted for Ms. McCaskill, the one-term Democratic Missouri senator, but now she will because of Mr. Akin.

“In the hospital I was offered emergency contraception,” she said. “Because of my personal beliefs, I declined. Here's what else I believe: no woman should be denied that choice.”

The ad was the latest example of how the McCaskill campaign has taken a more aggressive stance in recent weeks on Mr. Akin's comments in August that victims of a “legitimate rape” had biological mechanisms to fend off getting pregnant. Mr. Akin was roundly criticized from members of both parties. Republicans tried to get him to drop out of the race so they could replace him with another candidate. But he refused, and the deadline for him to withdraw passed on Sept. 25.

Joanie brought up the “legitimate rape” comment, saying that although Mr. Akin said he misspoke, “I do believe he showed his true colors and his true intent on what he intends to do if he's elected.”

“As a woman of faith, I must forgive Todd Akin,” she continued. “But as a voter, it's not something I can forget.”

Rachel said that she was raped a decade ago during a home invasion and that she took emergency contraception at the hospital.

“At the worst moment of her life, no woman should be denied that choice,” she said. “What Todd Akin said was troubling enough, but it's what he believes that's worse.”

The new ad comes as Ms. McCaskill was forced to fight off negative publicity surrounding her campaign. An Associated Press report on Tuesday said that companies with ties to Ms. McCaskill's husband received nearly $40 million in federal subsidies for low-income housing projects while she has been in office. The campaign denied that Ms. McCaskill had been funneling funds to benefit her husband, saying she had voted against some measures that would have financed the businesses that contracted with the federal government to provide low-income housing. The campaign also told The Associated Press that the bills financed a variety of government programs.

Ryan Hite, a spokesman for Mr. Akin, said in a statement on Wednesday that Ms. McCaskill's new ads were an effort to distract attention from the scrutiny she was facing.

“She has up until now successfully hidden from voters the fact that her 1 percent luxury lifestyle is funded by U.S. taxpayers,” Mr. Hite wrote. “Claire McCaskill has betrayed the public trust by putting her interests ahead of Missouri voters' and no amount of advertising will paper it over.”