Say what you will about Todd Akin, but the man is not a quitter.
Infamous for wrecking his Senate campaign in 2012 -- when his brain failed to shut down that whole thing his mouth was saying about rape -- Missouri's prodigal son came out swinging this month with a national book tour to promote Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith.
The tour showed Akin in vintage form: He blamed the media and Republican leadership for his campaign loss, compared himself to Joseph McCarthy and reneged on his apologies for the "legitimate rape" comments that got him in trouble in the first place. Also, he believes that abortion "easily trumps slavery as the greatest moral evil in American history." Yup, that sounds like the Akin we know.
But can Akin still surprise us? Does he have more magic left in the tank? In the spirit of scientific inquiry, we listened to his roughly two-hour interview with KMOX's Reardon on Tuesday, which we assumed would present the friendliest arena for Akin to open up his feelings and let loose.
After a thorough analysis, it's pretty clear he's still got what it take to compete in the foot-in-mouth big leagues. Here are six insights we gained into the mind of the Firing Back-author:
(In case anyone has spent the last two years under a rock, here's the original 2012 interview that started the "legitimate rape" craze.)
1. Todd Akin Keeps Using Words
To his credit, Reardon repeatedly held Akin to task for the "legitimate rape" comments, which makes sense because the resulting backlash impacted the rest of the Republican party. This line of questioning seemed to force Akin into all sorts of uncomfortable linguistic contortions.
For instance, when Reardon asks if Akin can understand why people got so angry, Akin responds that yes, his "shutting the whole thing down" line was "very unprofessional." Yet, seconds later, Akin tries to write off the entire gaffe as a "complicated parenthesis" to his larger point about abortions, and that he was the victim of the liberal, abortion-loving media.
2. Todd Akin Doesn't Stop To Think About His Anecdotes
Akin wasted little time in dropping one his favorite new soundbites on KMOX listeners:
"The main thing [my critics] said is, 'Akin thinks that nobody can get pregnant through rape.' But we had people working on our campaign that were the children of rape!"
Reardon, however, detects a slight logical flaw: If Akin had been aware that rape could produce children, why then did he tell FOX 2's Charlie Jaco that a woman's body could "shut that whole thing down"? But Akin is too slippery for logic:
"Well no, because after I made that comment I said, 'Well, what if that doesn't happen?'"
Indeed, Akin did hedge his infamous declaration during the 2012 interview.
"What I believe happens," continues Akin, responding to Reardon's point, "is that stress plays a part, but people can still get pregnant from rape, and those were the ones working on the campaign with me."
3. Todd Akin Believes Abortion Is Stopping America from Being a Cool Country
When asked if focusing on faith-based issues distracts Republicans from confronting tangible challenges, like the economy, Akin doesn't flinch: He whips out his history knowledge to prove why George Washington, if he were around today, would value faith and family above solving unemployment.
I spent two or three years reading the source documents of our Founders..their understanding was that in order to have a really cool country like ours, that has a lot of freedom, high standard of living, a large level of respect of one citizen to another... in order to create something like that, it really sits at the most fundamental level on the individual citizen...and that's where I bring the faith in because they brought it in. They believed your mindset, how you approach life, is so important to the quality of life.
More pearls of wisdom from Todd Akin await, on the next page