Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich threw his support behind Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin. Akin was thrust into national prominence after his now infamous comments regarding "legitimate rape."
Since then, the candidate has been ostracized by many national Republicans who did not want to be linked to Akin's controversial comments. He apologized, but ignored calls from the GOP establishment to step down.
Gingrich told the crowd that everyone makes mistakes.
"I've occasionally said some pretty dumb things in my career. My wife occasionally looks at me and says, 'Lunar colony?' But if saying something dumb disqualifies you, Joe Biden wouldn't be Vice President," Gingrich said, drawing laughter and applause from the Akin supporters.
The former Speaker said the decision to back Akin comes down to one question. "Do you want to keep Harry Reid as Majority Leader?" Gingrich asked the crowd.
Akin also addressed the topic of earmarks at the event, which you can see video of here:
National groups like Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads GPS have said they will not support Akin in November, but Gingrich said he believes Republican support will gradually come back soon.
"My years of experience and occasional conversations lead me to believe you'll see more and more people gradually come to Todd's support, and you'll see the (Republican) institutions come to Todd's support," Gingrich told the press.
Gingrich spoke at a $500-a-plate fundraiser for Akin -- important fundraising for a campaign that currently does not have the financial backing of the Republican Party. Thirty-six people were in attendance.
Outside, protesters gathered to voice their displeasure with Akin's views on birth control and Medicare.
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