Akin Camp Scoops Post-Dispatch By Publishing Email From Reporter Kevin McDermott
Late yesterday afternoon, Todd Akin's campaign got ahead of a Post-Dispatch scoop by publishing emails between the campaign's spokesperson and longtime political reporter Kevin McDermott.
Rick Tyler, Akin's spokesperson top left, reporter Kevin McDermott lower left, and Rep. Todd Akin, right.
The email from McDermott contained what appeared to be the story's first four paragraphs revealing that Akin was arrested not once, but at least three times at anti-abortion demonstrations in the '80s.
"I asked them to take it down and last I looked it was still up. I'm not going to have a cow about it," said McDermott shortly after his version went live. "That's just not what I expected."
The email exchange was between McDermott and Akin spokesman Rick Tyler. McDermott said that what he sent was a rough draft intended to give the Akin campaign an opportunity to respond, but was not ready for publication.
"That's the funny part, I kind of feel like I was doing them a favor, but maybe they didn't see it that way," said McDermott.
Akin previously told his supporters in a speech that he'd been arrested blocking the entrance of an abortion clinic and that he was a "jail bird." His campaign subsequently refused to talk about the incident.
McDermott obtained new specifics about the arrests from the Post-Dispatch's own archives. The articles were previously overlooked because they use the first name "William," a given name Akin traded for "Todd" when he entered politics. The clippings show Akin was arrested three times in 1985, and once had to be carried out of an elevator by police. Read the whole thing here.
In the exchange with Tyler, McDermott asks for comment and pasted the working lede into the email. Tyler responded with his own story about opponent Claire McCaskill's husband's legal trouble. About an hour later, someone Tyler forwarded the emails to made the exchange live on Akin.org: