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Former Missouri senator won't say Akin should stay in Senate race

August 20, 2012|By Paul West

TAMPA, Fla. -- Former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent declined Monday to endorse Rep. Todd Akin's continued presence on the Missouri Senate ballot.

"It's a decision he has to make," said Talent. The former senator has more than a casual interest in the matter:  It's his old seat that Akin is trying to reclaim for the Republicans.

Talent lost it to Democrat Claire McCaskill in the 2006 Democratic wave. Until Akin's weekend comments about "legitimate rape," McCaskill had been considered the most vulnerable Democrat up for re-election this fall.

Talent said he wasn't interested in discussing his reaction to Akin's remarks, pleading the press of his current duties at the site of the Republican National Convention. But he did say, "I can't agree with anything he said."

Talent is in Tampa, where the nominating convention opens Aug. 27, as co-chairman of a platform sub-committee on foreign policy and defense. He is also one of Mitt Romney's top surrogates, often holding conference calls for the campaign.

At least one Massachusetts Republican, Sen. Scott Brown, has called for Akin to abandon the nomination he won in this month's crowded Missouri primary.

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paul.west@latimes.com

Twitter: @paulwestdc

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