Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) performance during a Missouri senatorial debate Friday, Ed Schultz said on The Ed Show that evening, was part of a wave of problems more Republican candidates are encountering in the wake of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's infamous "47 percent" video.
While Akin did his best to put his own firestorm -- created by his "legitimate rape" remarks earlier this year -- behind him by saying the election was really "about two visions about what America is," Schultz aired clips of his closest competitor, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), linking it to "other extreme views," like abolishing the minimum wage and doing away with Medicare and school lunch programs.
"Senator McCaskill kept going, but you get the picture," Schultz said.
As Talking Points Memo reported, Akin was also attacked by the third candidate at the debate, Libertarian nominee, Jonathan Dine.
"I was astonished to find that Akin sits on the science committee, yet he fails to understand basic eighth-grade biology," Dine said.
And Akin isn't alone, according to The Nation's John Nichols. Even as the Romney campaign dismisses concerns over his effect on senatorial candidates as "galactically stupid," Nichols said, more of them are "terrified" of the former Massachusetts governor, including Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who had his own debate last night against Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren.
"The most devastating thing that Elizabeth Warren said in that debate was simply, 'I support Barack Obama for president. I think he should have another term," said Nichols, the magazine's Washington correspondent. "You saw Scott Brown gulp. When you bring Romney into this thing, that's trouble."
Romney's increasing radioactivity, Nichols said, makes Democrats feel more confident about their chances at the polls.
"When Mitt Romney goes off message, when Todd Akin goes off message, it starts Americans in states across the country to think, 'Wow, is this Republican party so far out there that I ought to just go down my ballot and tick the Democratic candidates?'" he said. "I think you're seeing that happening. The polls are suggesting an Obama-Senate connection."
Schultz's discussion with Nichols, aired Friday on MSNBC, can be seen here.
All three Missouri candidates' remarks on the "legitimate rape" question from today's debate in Missouri, posted by TPM, can be seen below.