Mark Newt Gingrich's words: Todd Akin will triumph in Missouri. And he'll get the national GOP behind him too.
The former House Speaker stumped on behalf of the struggling Republican Senate candidate in St. Louis on Monday, where he predicted the Republican establishment, including White House hopeful Mitt Romney, would throw their weight behind Akin ahead of November's election.
Romney, of course, has called for Akin—under fire for his comments last month about "legitimate rape"—to pull the plug on his campaign. Gingrich said GOPers have a "moral obligation" to back Akin, especially if they want to win a majority in the Senate.
“My expectation will be that in the crunch, in October, Governor Romney is going to be for the entire ticket,” Gingrich said. “And he’s going to be for Todd Akin. And clearly Gov. Romney has to carry Missouri in order to win the presidency."
And he downplayed Akin's controversial comments, saying: "If saying something dumb disqualifies you, Joe Biden couldn't be vice president."
The Huffington Post's Howard Fineman told MNSBC host Ed Schultz on Monday night that Romney would only flip-flop and back Akin if polls showed the loose-lipped lawmaker was gaining ground. Right now, he's six or seven points behind once-vulnerable Democrat Claire McCaskill.
"I think that Mitt Romney will blow whichever way the wind does," said Fineman. "Right now he can stay away from it because Akin is still down considerably."
So why is Gingrich backing Akin in the first place?
"I think Newt will go wherever he’s really and truly wanted," said Fineman. "And at this point, Todd Akin doesn’t have many friends in the national Republican party. And for that matter, neither does Newt Gingrich. So Newt wants to go somewhere to try and be a hero and a savior to anyone who will view him as such. And Todd Akin is desperate enough."