NOW with Alex Wagner | September 11, 2012
>>> it has been 23 days since todd akin first gifted the world with his own version of reproductive science and made the remarkably and totally unfounded statement that, quote, legitimate rape doesn't cause pregnancy.
>> from what i understand from doctors, that's really rare. if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
>> despite pleas from nearly every single republican in the country to please, no, really, please, crop out of the missouri senate race todd akin plans to do his own thing. last night, he told reporters that he's, quote, totally in. before absconding from capitol hill and his late '90s ford explorer . disgruntled republicans cannot be happy. his refusal to drop out is causing problems for the gop 's bid for four seats to take back the senate . republicans are reportedly having trouble flipping seats in north dakota , montana, new mexico and hawaii. referring to the 2010 campaigns gop pollster wit ayers told politico quote --
>> former newt gingrich adviser rick tyler joined the campaign of embattled candidate todd akin and joins us now from st. louis. hello to you, rick.
>> alex , how are you?
>> i'm gad. you know, rick, we've had you on this program before when you were working with team gingrich and talked about being a representative of the underdog. it seems that you've gone even one step further with congressman akin in so far as he's not just the underdog, he -- in the eyes of many people in the gop , is a villen to his own party. why did you choose todd akin ?
>> you know me, alex , i'm going wherever the fight is. if that puts me on the other end of the establishment i think that's probably why you like me. here i am fighting the establishment, fighting the democrats, and we're going to win this thing.
>> what do you make of the claims that todd akin may cost republicans control of the senate ?
>> it's bologna. if the republicans can't articulate a message on how to beat a barack obama and beat a democratic congress and, you know, i listen to the flat earth economics and -- in the late -- in the late -- in the last segment, but the way to get the economy going is to get 23 million people back working again and paying taxes. that's how you're going end to up balancing the budget and what todd has been talking about. the republicans , the senate in particular, i don't know why the nrsc, but have this ability year after year to say their senate candidates don't say anything significant, don't talk about issues, you talked about that in terms of romney . that will win if we can just -- the economy keeps tanking south and we have no real message. i just don't think that's true. you have to vote an articulate message, give a vision as i heard in the last segment about what this is about, putting people back to work, the economy back to work, will balance the budget far more than any specific static plans of raising taxes , cutting spending. all that is dynamic and depends on the economy and how much revenue is coming into the government.
>> i do want to focus, though, on the party dynamics here.
>> i won't presume anything, but i get the sense you are a man of conservative stripe and we've been talking about infighting vis-a-vis the romney candidacy, romney nomination, the fact that republicans are unhappy with where he's gone or hasn't gone which is probably more to the point. todd akin certainly has not done anything to unite the party. do you think after this is all said and done, if mitt romney loses this election, and todd senate sea t there will be a circling of the wagons and republicans will have a long session on the proverbial psychiatrist couch to figure out what they are doing.
>> if barack obama wins re-election with 8.3% and the real number closer to 11% if you count the people that left the market and we lose control of the senate , i think this republican party will have to completely utterly and totally revamp its thinking, its strategy, what it stands for, how it trends, what it speaks about, how it recruits and the total abandonment or the professionalization of the party and the abandonment of the grass roots . i think we lose races now because we don't know how to articulate conservative issues, don't know how to talk about the economy. we can win on the environment, on health care , we can win on education, but few of our guys, some do, few know how to make the win, make the winning issues. oh, no, education, that's a democratic issue. health care we can't talk about that. environment they own that issue. we should dominate those issues and if we knew how to talk about them we would win all day every day. yes, if we lose the race we only have ourselves to blame and a revolution in the republican party .
>> steve core knack be ki, let's talk a little bit about the senate races. folks are saying this is a reduction of 2010 when you had i'll kay whack ka doodle candidates and the republicans had a chance of gaining the seats and had candidates that were -- the voters deemed unfit for a senate seat. those memories are haunting them in the todd akin race?
>> absolutely. it's interesting to hear rick try to blame it more on, you know, the failure of national republicans maybe to beat obama but that not with standing this is a race republicans should have won and everybody was pencilling in until about a month ago.
>> in fair ms. still may win.
>> the best parallel is the sharron engle harry reid race in 2010 . if you look at his poll numbers and standings at the start of the year, should never won re-election. he got the one opponent in the entire state of nevada he was capable of beating, even then a four or five point race. claire mccaskill looked gone until a month ago, she has drawn the one opponent she could beat.
>> part of the challenge that the republican party has is this tea party movement, far right, movement to the far right, it has undermined their party fundamentally. not the national republicans . it's that you cannot win in a state wide election with ideas that say, you know, student loans is like stage three cancer. you can't win by saying -- talking about legitimate rape and women having mystical powers.
>> women do have mystical powers.
>> i wasn't going to tell anybody.
>> but some of -- and the problem that i think akin brings to the party is he kind of like opened the door to a lot of other candidates like paul ryan who's, you know, their vp nominee who cosponsored that legislation and to many other candidates who have similarly said, lots of crazy things that came in 2010 . remember 2010 midterm election , smaller percentage of the electorate voting. this time because it's a presidential year you have more people voting and if you're running state wide that's more people who are not necessarily going to go along with those far right wing ideas. it's much easier to win in gerrymandered congressional district than statewide.
>> rick, in the days following the legitimate rape comments todd akin took out an ad trying to apologize for them. i wonder if he regrets opening the pan dor's box which is the gop 's position on women's health care and reproductive rights ?
>> no. i don't think -- in terms of pro life todd akin is not going to back down. he is pro life . unapologetically pro life .
>> not necessarily the abortion question, but the question of forcible rape and what is legitimate rape.
>> al leshgs, he apologized for that. it was nonsensical. i condemned it, everybody condemned it in the republican party . could they get beyond it and seemed like they couldn't. the senate -- the senate torl committee will lose the senate because they can't defend their positions. it won't be because of todd akin . by the way, if you look at chair mccaskill who voted for obama care, very unpopular in this state, voted for every tax increase, debt limit increase to the tune of $6.9 trillion in the last six years, todd voted against every debt limit increase since 2009 , against medicare part d , voted against no child left behind which was actually no child gets ahead, he voted against tax cuts , he has an "a" with the nra and 100% with pro life , it couldn't be more dramatic. you can say from your perspective, karen, that this is an extreme candidate but i think claire mccaskill , $6.9 trillion worth of debt, supporting abortion in most extreme circumstances puts her in the extreme category and i think most missourians who want an election not a selection by the establishment, will agree with todd akin not mccaskill.
>> rick tyler , todd akin is stranger to extremities of any sort.
>> great to see you, alex .
>> great to see you.
>> i missed you.
>> i missed you too, rick. we'll see you where the fight is.