Romney doubles Obama's cash

Mitt crushing in fund race; Akin still ahead; the GOP's abortion platform; and other top Tuesday stories

By Alex Seitz-Wald
Published August 21, 2012 12:38PM (EDT)

Mitt's money: Mitt Romney’s cash advantage over President Obama more than doubled in July thanks to months of astronomical fundraising (his campaign and the RNC brought in over $200 million in June and July), leaving Republicans with $62 million more cash on hand than Democrats. The Obama campaign and the DNC spent $91 million in July, while raising just $75 million. Meanwhile, Romney spent far less, shelling out just half of what Obama spent on ads, thanks to help from super PACs who can fill the gap and let the Romney campaign keep its powder dry.

Akin defiant: Rep. Todd Akin is so far defying fellow Republicans’ calls for him to exit the Missouri Senate race, even cutting an ad saying he’s staying in and asking for forgiveness from constituents. The window closes at the end of the day today for the party to easily replace Akin on the ballot, as doing so later on would require a legal battle, so look for any news to happen in the next 12 hours. The National Republican Senate Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of Senate Republicans, has cut off funding to Akin, as has Karl Rove via his American Crossroads groups. Mitt Romney harshly condemned Akin, but stopped short of asking him to withdraw. Several Republican lawmakers and candidates have gone that extra step, likely concerned about their own bids.

The most important number for Akin: 1: PPP is out with the first poll of the race since Akin’s comments about rape and abortion Sunday, finding that the Republican is still leading Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, but by just 1 point -- a far cry from the double digit lead he enjoyed last week. On the comments,  75 percent of voters, including even 64 percent of Republicans, said they were inappropriate. Just 9 percent were OK with them. Only 24 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Akin, while 58 percent now have a negative one.

Department of uncomfortable timing: Just as the GOP is trying to distance itself from Akin’s comments on abortion, the party is putting the finishing touches on its draft platform ahead of next week’s convention, including a call to enact a “human life amendment" to the Constitution, which would prohibit abortion in all cases, including rape and incest, CNN reports. The draft platform declares:

"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."

This is hardly new -- Republicans have included the amendment as a part of their platform for several years. Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, a delegate from Missouri, told Politico, “It’s not a controversy anymore ... We’ve won that battle.”

Quagmire: As American forces in Afghanistan are reeling from deadly attacks by Afghan police and military allies, insurgents fired rockets at the main NATO airbase in the country, damaging a plane used by the top U.S. military leader, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey. The general was not onboard at the time and no one was seriously injured (two guards were lightly wounded), but it is a troubling development in the deteriorating war situation, especially if insurgents knew whose plane it was. “We think it was a lucky shot," a NATO spokesperson said.

Alex Seitz-Wald

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2012 Elections Campaign Finance Mitt Romney Todd Akin