From Colorado to New Hampshire to Illinois, Democrats already are using the incendiary comments about rape made by the Missouri congressman and Republican Senate candidate as a political bludgeon. In interviews, news releases and tweets, they've blasted Akin for saying victims of "legitimate rape" are able to naturally prevent pregnancy and tried to tie their opponents to legislation he's supported.
In New Hampshire, Annie Kuster rapped one of Democrats' top targets, GOP Rep. Charlie Bass, saying she was "disappointed" Bass hadn't yet called for Akin to leave the Senate race. Bass quickly did so. In Illinois, another Democratic challenger, Cheri Bustos, called on her opponent, GOP Rep. Bobby Schilling, to return a $2,000 donation from Akin. Schilling did so and issued a statement expressing his disgust with Akin's remarks.
Democrats are using an approach that Richard Nixon honed in his 1950 Senate race, where he linked Helen Gahgan Douglas to left-wing New York House member Vito Marcantonio. In his biography of Nixon, Earl Mazo observed:
In the California election Mrs. Douglas was first tied to Marcantonio by her Democratic primary opponent. When he read ahout it in Washington, Marcantonio went to a friend of Nixon’s and said, chuckling, “Tell Nicky to get on this thing because it is a good idea.” Marcantonio disliked Mrs. Douglas intensely and normally used an obscene five-letter word when referring to her in private conversations.