Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) principal election opponent went on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday and claimed he's "somebody who kind of makes Michelle Bachmann look like a hippie."

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) was responding to Akin's comment that she wasn't very "ladylike" during their recent debate. "I'm at a loss," she said. "I don't know exactly what his accusation that I'm not ladylike means. I'm a former courtroom prosecutor and I try to be strong and informed, and I think the debate was tough for Todd because I went through a list of his very, very extreme positions. I think that maybe he wasn't prepared to answer some of that... I'm hoping this motivates my supporters even more."

"If you look at some of the things that Todd Akin has said over the years, he said that liberalism is a hatred of God," she said later in the interview. "He has been a handful of votes against things like the sex offender registry, the center for missing and exploited children. This is somebody who kind of makes Michelle Bachmann look like a hippie. He is very much in a group of people that would never be part of the compromise that we need to find to address the fiscal cliff. He would never be part of the group in the middle that actually figures out ways to solve these problems."

Early on in the race, McCaskill was seen as a Senate Democrat whose continued tenure was in question, but all bets were off after Akin told a reporter that he didn't believe women could get pregnant if they're the victim of "legitimate rape." He later apologized and said he was actually talking about "forcible rape," but that just hit his poll numbers even harder.

Right away, media reports linked Akin and Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to a bill they both sponsored which sought to deny federal assistance to women who weren't otherwise physically injured during a sexual assault. The controversy roared so loudly during the lead-up to the Republican National Convention that Republicans far and wide, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Bush political strategist Karl Rove, called for Akin to drop out.

But he did not. Down in the polls and on the skids financially, Akin tried to put a brave face on being foresaken by what seemed like almost the entire Republican Party. Finally, the party's ultraconservative wing appeared to come around this week, with a super PAC created by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) announcing nearly $300,000 in donations for Akin and surveys showing the race tightening up.

In other words, this election is officially heating up and McCaskill is eager to prove her point.

This video is from MSNBC's "Morning Joe," broadcast Friday, Sept. 28, 2012.

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