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Romney calls on Akin to quit

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Mitt Romney could have called for Todd Akin to leave Missouri's U.S. Senate race yesterday, but instead he waited until (a) Akin recommitted himself to the campaign, and (b) the deadline for withdrawal had nearly come and gone.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday called on Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) to drop out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri.

"As I said yesterday, Todd Akin's comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country," said Romney in a statement. "Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race."

So, here are a couple of follow-up questions Romney may not be entirely comfortable with.

First, if Akin's comments were offensive and wrong yesterday, why wait until he announced his intention to stay in the race to call for his departure?

And second, why, exactly, does Romney want Akin to withdraw? Is it because Romney disagrees with the congressman's policy position (there's ample reason to believe he doesn't disagree at all) or is it because Romney finds Akin politically inconvenient?

For what it's worth, I rather doubt the appeal will affect Akin's thinking. Akin has never been fond of Romney, and the former governor has never made any effort to help the congressman. So what's the point? I suspect Romney wants to give the appearance of reasonableness, standing up to nutty rhetoric regarding women's health, even as he and his running mate agree with the substance of Akin's underlying argument.