Via the Examiner, a golden moment from “Morning Joe” in which McCaskill walks the vanishingly fine line between being deeply offended at the thought of Akin representing Missouri and yet not so deeply offended that she’d want to see him disqualify himself immediately. If you’re depressed by all the Akin coverage today, let this thought comfort you: The Democrats worked very hard, and spent a lot of money, to make sure he was her opponent in November. They banked on him screwing up spectacularly, and now he has — so spectacularly and so soon, in fact, that this might blow up right in their faces by landing a steadier, sturdier Republican candidate on the ballot in his place.

Oops:

In the weeks before the August 7 primary, McCaskill and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aired ads that ostensibly attacked Akin, but actually boosted his candidacy. The ads called said him a “true conservative” and questioned if he was “too conservative,” hardly a negative in a GOP primary. One radio ad ended by noting that Akin “has been endorsed by the most conservative leaders in our country: Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee.”

McCaskill did air ads against all the Republicans in the race, but only the Akin ones included such glowing testimonials. With a wink and a nod, Democrats placed their bets that the conservative congressman would be her weakest foe in the fall, even if they’re never publicly acknowledged it.

According to WaPo, the combined $1.5 million that McCaskill’s campaign and Democratic groups spent in the last weeks before the primary “attacking” Akin as a true conservative was more money than his own team spent on ads over the course of the entire campaign. That’s how badly they wanted to face him, and their strategy worked so well that they might get Brunner or Steelman or maybe even a more established Missouri Republican instead. Keep an eye on Jim Talent: He denied today that he’d run again for his old seat, possibly because he’s in line to be defense secretary under President Romney, but the calls for him to replace Akin on the ballot have already begun. Your country needs you, Jim.

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