Nearly two months after controversial comments on rape made Rep. Todd Akin a political pariah, all 21 members of America's largest reality television family are scheduled to make campaign appearances for the embattled Missouri senate candidate.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar received national attention from their TLC reality show "19 Kids and Counting," which chronicles their life raising nine girls and ten boys - all of whom have names beginning with the letter "J." The Duggars, who share Akin's pro-life views, are hoping to bring their wholesome family charm to Akin's campaign, which is trying to close the gap between the congressman and Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Michelle Duggar will speak today at the "Missouri Women Standing with Todd Akin" in Springfield. She will be joined by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's wife, Janet. The entire family is slated to make appearances in the final 20 days leading up to the election.
This isn't Michelle Duggar's first foray into conservative politics. She attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in February of this year, telling attendees she was unhappy that the Susan G. Komen foundation chose to stand by Planned Parenthood after initially deciding to cease providing funds for the family planning agency.
And it's the issue of abortion and women's health that thrust the Missouri senate race into the spotlight, and in the process set Republicans back in a competitive race that they had initially eyed as being a vulnerable one for the Democrats.
The last reliable poll, taken only days after Akin told a St. Louis radio station that woman rarely get pregnant from a "legitimate rape," showed McCaskill with a nine-point lead. More recent but less reliable polls still show McCaskill still having an advantage, although smaller than it was just after the fallout over the comments.
Following the comments, many Republicans called for Akin to pull out of the race, including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. But some conservative organizations stood by Akin in the face of bipartisan criticism, including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association. Evangelical activist and former "Growing Pains" star Kirk Cameron defended Akin on NBC's Today Show, saying, ""Clearly this is a man who is advocating the sanctity of life through and through."