Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is wading into the nation’s most incendiary Senate race this week, with the launch of a new statewide, six-figure ad campaign to help Missouri Republican Todd Akin.
Business Insider has learned that Paul’s political action committee, RANDPAC, will go on air Wednesday with a new ad attacking Akin’s opponent, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, for her vote against Paul’s amendment to block U.S. aid to Pakistan, Egypt, and Libya.
“Claire McCaskill works with Barack Obama to send our money overseas to radicals who attack our embassies, burn our flag, and kill our diplomats,” the narrator says. “What would you do? It’s time to bring our taxpayer dollars home and send Claire McCaskill home, too.”
Although the ad does not mention Akin by name, it represents Paul’s strongest public endorsement of the embattled Missouri Republican, who became persona non grata with the Republican Establishment after his mid-summer gaffe suggesting that women could not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”
In the wake of those comments, GOP leaders abandoned Akin en masse, pulling funding for his campaign and calling on him to step aside in his race to unseat McCaskill. But Akin has held on in the polls, framing his race as a grassroots fight against the GOP Establishment. A new poll from the Republican firm Wenzel Strategies shows Akin leading McCaskill by four points, 49 per cent to 45 per cent.
Now Paul joins South Carolina Senator and fellow Tea Party favourite Jim DeMint in breaking with Republican leadership and coming out to materially support Akin. Paul appears to be the only sitting Senator to have put up ads supporting Akin’s campaign.
“He accepts that Congressman Akin apologized for what he said and made a mistake,” Doug Stafford, Paul’s Chief of Staff, told Business Insider. “One or two mistaken sentences or thoughts doesn’t change the fact that there are dozens of issues on which Claire McCaskill is truly bad on and on which Todd Akin would be a significant improvement.”
The Missouri ad is also part of an aggressive campaign by Paul, a first-term Senator, to interject one of his pet issues into some of the nation’s most closely-watched Senate races. It is nearly identical to spots RANDPAC is running against Democratic incumbents in three other Senate races, all of which tie the Democrats’ votes against Paul’s amendment to the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Libya and Egypt.
Paul’s amendment, which would have halted U.S. aid to Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan until certain conditions were met, lost on a 81-10 vote in the Senate, with 30 Republican Senators joining 50 Democrats to oppose the proposal. Last week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham defended the vote against Paul’s amendment on a conference call hosted by West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who has also been targeted by Paul’s ads.
McCaskill campaign spokesperson Erik Dorey sends over this response to the new ad:
“Todd Akin’s position on this issue is so extreme, he would be one of only 10 Senators to cut this foreign aid funding. Sen. Roy Blunt, as well as every member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including Sen. John McCain, voted against this bill because these overly-simplistic solutions in a dangerous, complex world put our allies and American interests at risk. Claire’s led the fight to bring our tax dollars home from wasteful infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, and she is confident that those who attacked our embassies and our citizens will be brought to justice–an approach that Osama bin Laden came to understand intimately when U.S. Navy Seals showed up on his doorstep.”
The McCaskill campaign also noted that, as a congressman, Akin voted for Paul Ryan’s budget, which would have cut more than $400 million in State Department funding for U.S. embassy security.
*This article was originally posted at 8:12 p.m., October 15.