Former Republican presidential candidate New Gingrich lashed out Karl Rove on Sunday over the suggestion that Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) could be murdered to prevent Republicans from losing the Senate race in Missouri.
During a Thursday fundraiser for his conservative super PAC, Rove had joked that Republicans should find a way to end Akin's Senate bid after he suggested that women could not get pregnant through "legitimate rape."
“We should sink Todd Akin,” Rove said. “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”
Gingrich told an NBC panel on Sunday that it was a mistake to force Akin out of the race.
"Karl Rove said some terrible things on Friday for which he has apologized, which should remind us that people make mistakes," the former House Speaker explained.
"He was joking about if he shows up, he murdered someone," NBC host David Gregory noted.
"In the age of [former Arizona Rep.] Gabby Giffords it is not a joke to say that a member of congress ought to get murdered," Gingrich insisted.
"When a majority of the people in Missouri on Friday -- in the latest PPP poll -- said he should stay on the ticket -- a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, a majority of independents. He won the primary. Now for Washington figures -- remember, the same Washington figures who last time wanted to kick off Marco Rubio for Charlie Crist, who will be in Charlotte [at the Democratic National Convention]. I just think that people ought to be a little cautious in saying the voters of Missouri don't count."
Gingrich is just the latest high-profile conservative to blast the Republican strategist over his remarks about Akin.
Over the weekend, anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly called for Rove to resign, saying his comments were "incredibly offensive and dangerous."
Fox News host Mike Huckabee, who has been one of Akin's top defenders, also cited Giffords when suggesting that conservatives should now shun Rove.
"In light of the attempted assassination of congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the remark was disturbing," Huckabee wrote on Saturday. "If Todd is continued to be alienated and Karl doesn’t suffer the same fate, then I will encourage all the activists I can to spend all their time, money, and effort in Missouri. If the party doesn’t want us, then I guess they don’t need us. Akin will. Janet and I are sending him the maximum we can under federal law."