In an interview on ABCâ??s â??This Week,â? New Jersey Gov. Christie was asked whether Missouri Rep. and GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin should have the support of the Republican Party despite his controversial statement about â??legitimate rape.â?
â??No,â? Christie replied, vigorously and without hesitation.
The repudiation of Akin comes at a time when the most recent Rasmussen Poll shows the embattled Missourian trailing Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill by a margin of 49 to 43 percent among likely voters. Some veteran political strategists guess that if this is the case, the contest is much closer than that because a number of voters probably donâ??t want to admit that they are still planning to vote for six-term Rep. Akin. The late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo experienced similar â??under the radarâ? support and both politicians always ran ahead of what poll numbers showed.
Days before Christie delivered his dismissal of Akin, other Republican heavyweights began coming out for him and urging the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the American Crossroads superPAC to do the same. Among them were Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Roy Blunt (Mo.) and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum. In a statewide tour on behalf of Akin, Newt Gingrich summed up the attitude of Republicans toward their nominee when he said the race was a choice between â??six seconds of stupidity (a reference to Akinâ??s remark) or six years of bad votes.â?
Based on his remarks Sunday, Christie seems to prefer the latter.