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Todd Akin says he's staying in Senate race, despite furor over rape comment

Todd Akin's remark on 'legitimate rape' set off a firestorm, including within Republican ranks. If he were to drop out of the Missouri Senate race before 5 p.m. Tuesday, the state party can nominate a replacement.

By Staff writer / August 20, 2012

Rep. Todd Akin (R) of Missouri and his wife, Lulli, talk with reporters while attending the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo., on Aug. 16. Mr. Akin was keeping a low profile Monday, a day after a TV interview in which he said that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in 'a legitimate rape' and that conception is rare in such cases.

Orlin Wagner/AP

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Rep. Todd Akin (R) of Missouri apologized for his recent comments on rape but said he was staying in the race for US Senate, saying “I have not yet begun to fight.”

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Representative Akin offered his apology on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s radio show Monday afternoon, his first interview since comments over the weekend in which he referred to “legitimate rape” in response to a question about his views on possible allowances for abortion.

“Rape is never legitimate, it’s an evil act that’s committed by violent predators,” Akin said Monday. “I used the wrong words in the wrong way. What I said was ill-conceived and it was wrong – and for that I apologize.”

But Akin said he would not heed the call of several prominent Republicans to drop out of the race to replace Sen. Claire McCaskill, widely believed to be the most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbent this year. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows Akin with a 48 percent to 43 percent lead over Senator McCaskill.

“I don’t know that I’m the only person in public office who has suffered from foot in mouth disease here,” Akin said. “My belief is we’re going to take this thing forward and, by the grace of God, win this race.”

He said he had not been contacted by GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney’s campaign or any national Republican organization asking him to drop out of the race.

But several Republican officeholders have called for Akin to step down.

Sen. Scott Brown (R) of Massachusetts, who is embroiled in one of the nation’s tightest and most expensive Senate races, said in an e-mailed statement before Aken’s radio interview that “[n]ot only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin's statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri."

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