What's keeping Todd Akin in Senate race? (+video)
Republican Senate contender Todd Akin expressed a determination to stay in the race, even amidst advice from others in his party to step down. He says his comments relating to rape boil down to 'one word in one sentence on one day.'
KANSAS CITY, Mo.
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“Let me just make it clear: We’re not getting out of this race,” Akin said on a conservative St. Louis radio show. “I’m in this for the long haul, and we’re going to win it.”
The unprecedented onslaught spurred by his weekend comments about rape victims came from the highest reaches of the Republican Party and raised new doubts about whether Akin’s campaign could recover.
Even GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for Akin to withdraw. So did U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri’s highest elected Republican, and four former senators from Missouri: John Ashcroft, Jack Danforth, Kit Bond and Jim Talent.
Major GOP fundraisers, including Crossroads GPS, pledged again to abandon Akin’s campaign. So did the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. And top party officials asked Akin not to attend next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
But through it all, Akin held firm, blaming his fall from party grace on “one word in one sentence on one day.” That, he said, was a reference to his use of the word “legitimate” in response to a TV interviewer’s question Sunday about whether he supports abortion even in cases of rape.
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said that day in comments that triggered a national firestorm. He later said he misspoke and apologized.
But Akin didn’t comment Tuesday on the “female body has ways to shut that whole thing down” part of his statement, which was widely debunked by women’s groups in Missouri and nationwide.
Romney attempted to distance himself for the second straight day from the remarks that the Republican Party fears could further weaken its standing with women.
“Todd Akin’s comments were offensive and wrong, and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country,” Romney said. “Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.”
The group of Missouri’s Republican senators — current and former — were just as direct, saying Akin’s comments about rape victims were “totally unacceptable” and that Akin must step down.
“We do not believe it serves the national interest for Congressman Todd Akin to stay in this race,” they said in a statement. “The issues at stake are too big, and this election is simply too important. The right decision is to step aside.”