Todd Akin missed his 5 p.m. dropout deadline yesterday, but technically he still has a few weeks to step aside and make room for a Republican replacement (as long as he gets court approval). ABC News reports that Akin isn’t ruling out an exit:
“Well George, I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen. I don’t know the future, but I do know this. I knew that the party voters took a look at our hearts, understood who we were, had a chance to meet us in many, many different ways and made a decision,” Akin told me. “And it makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs as opposed to the election process.”
Apparently Akin may not know how bad the damage actually is. According to Politico, he’s been holed up with his strategy advisor, who’s pushing him to stay in the race. But CBS reports that Akin’s decision isn’t final, and it depends on whether Republicans come around to support him:
But, says Andrews, “Two sources tell CBS News [Akin’s] real strategy here is to hang tough — for now — and see if that wins enough money and support to stay in the race. In others words — his final decision to stay in — may not be final.”
In a potential sign of his strategy, Akin appealed Tuesday to Christian evangelicals, anti-abortion activists and anti-establishment Republicans. He said he remains the best messenger to highlight respect for life and liberty that he contends are crumbling under the big-government policies of President Obama.
Akin seems to hope that he can blame his flub on the liberal media and convince conservative grassroots to rally around him. But when Sarah Palin, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh have all turned against you, that’s not really a viable strategy.
For now, there’s not much conservatives can do other than wait it out. Bill Kristol writes that Republicans and conservatives have already made their points publicly, and now it’s time for friends and supporters of Akin make the case to him behind the scenes.