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Akin defies Romney and GOP leaders to stay in race

By David A. Lieb

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:25 p.m. HST, Aug 21, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. » Rep. Todd Akin defied the nation's top Republicans today to forge ahead with his besieged Senate campaign, declaring that GOP leaders were overreacting by abandoning him because of comments that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape."

Akin pledged to carry on with his quest to unseat Democrat Claire McCaskill. But his bid faced tall obstacles: a lack of money, a lack of party support and no assurance that his apologies would be enough to heal a self-inflicted political wound.

"I misspoke one word in one sentence on one day, and all of a sudden, overnight, everybody decides, 'Well, Akin can't possibly win,'" he said on a national radio show hosted by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. "Well, I don't agree with that."

Akin predicted he would bounce back from the political crisis threatening his campaign and capture a seat that is pivotal to Republican hopes of regaining control of the Senate.

"I'm in this race for the long haul, and we're going to win it," he told radio host Dana Loesch in St. Louis.

If he stays on the ballot, Akin will have to rebuild without any money from the national party and with new misgivings among rank-and-file Republican voters who just two weeks ago propelled him to a comfortable victory in a hotly contested three-way primary.

At several points during the interview with Huckabee, Akin focused on the idea he had misplaced a single word during a Sunday interview with St. Louis television station KTVI. But Akin has been roundly criticized both for using the phrase "legitimate rape" and saying a woman's body has the ability to prevent conception after such an attack.

Hours earlier, Akin posted an online video in which he apologized again for his remarks. Campaign spokesman Ryan Hite said the apology was intended to cover both the reference to "legitimate rape" and Akin's assertion that rape victims have a natural defense against pregnancy.

In a potential sign of his strategy, Akin appealed to Christian evangelicals, anti-abortion activists and anti-establishment Republicans. He said he remains the best messenger to highlight respect for life and liberty that he contends are crumbling under the big-government policies of President Barack Obama.

As a key deadline to withdraw from the ballot loomed, Republican leaders intensified their pressure on Akin to exit.

Sen. Roy Blunt issued a joint statement Tuesday with all four of Missouri's living former Republican senators — John Ashcroft, Kit Bond, Jim Talent and John Danforth — saying "it serves the national interest" for Akin to step aside.

Pointing to the group, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the congressman should "accept their counsel."

A Romney aide said the candidate had been inclined to let Akin make the decision on his own. But after the Missouri lawmakers called for Akin to go, Romney wanted to make his position clear, said the aide, who requested anonymity because the aide was not authorized to publicly discuss Romney's thinking.

The deadline passed without any paperwork from the increasingly isolated Akin.

He provoked a political uproar when he was asked in the KTVI interview whether his general opposition to abortion extends to women who have been raped.

"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said.

In the apology video posted today on YouTube, Akin acknowledged that rape can lead to pregnancy, adding: "The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness."

The video will be running as a 30-second ad on TV stations statewide for several days, Hite said.

But it's not clear if Akin's campaign will have the financial support to wage a prolonged advertising battle against McCaskill in the expensive St. Louis and Kansas City markets and the Republican-rich area of southwest Missouri.

The campaign arm of the Senate Republicans has already withdrawn $5 million in advertising planned for the Missouri race. The Karl Rove-backed Crossroads organization pulled its ads, too.

Crossroads President and CEO Steven Law suggested Tuesday that Akin was potentially helping Democrats retain their Senate majority by remaining in the race.

"The stakes in this election are far bigger than any one individual," said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. By staying in the race, Akin "is putting at great risk many of the issues that he and others in the Republican Party are fighting for."

While repeating his apology, Akin began taking a more aggressive tone today.

Asked by Huckabee if Akin felt betrayed by fellow Republicans, Akin replied: "I hadn't done anything morally or ethically wrong, as sometimes people in politics do ... It does seem like a little bit of an overreaction."

To continue his campaign, Akin will need the support of social conservatives, who have formed his political base through a 12-year congressional career.

Noreen McCann, who lives in the same suburban St. Louis area as Akin, said Tuesday that his rape comment hasn't weakened her support for him. McCann expressed frustration that Akin was being publicly flayed for his ill-chosen words while other Democrats — specifically President Bill Clinton — have survived scandals that included accusations of sexual impropriety and lies.

Akin "is a man of principle. I trust and respect his integrity and his commitment to defending American values," said McCann, who had passed out Akin fliers on primary election day. "I think he wants to defend all innocent human life. If he misspoke, or it was in the wrong context, that is not a major problem for me."

If Akin were to leave, state law gives the Republican state committee two weeks to name a replacement. Akin can withdraw from the race as late as Sept. 25, but after Tuesday, he would need a court order to do so.

Associated Press writers Jim Salter in St. Louis and Henry C. Jackson in Washington contributed to this report.

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whs1966 wrote:
I suppose that Mr. Akin opposes the teaching of evolution and believes that there is no evidence that human activities contribute to global warming.
on August 21,2012 | 04:05AM
loquaciousone wrote:
He never was around when I cut one loose.
on August 21,2012 | 08:22AM
808comp wrote:
Another jerky politician. Seems like alot of them don't think before they open their mouth .
on August 21,2012 | 06:45AM
Descartes22 wrote:
Akin says that he "misspoke" and meant to say "forcible" rape instead of "legitimate" rape. He makes this claim because members of the reactionary House of Representatives, including the candidate for Vice-President, sought to amend the law on federal funding of abortions in the case of rapes to "forcible" rape. As the President stated, "Rape is rape." Just more nutty and backward thinking by Romney's running mate.
on August 21,2012 | 07:29AM
lee1957 wrote:
I would contend there is a difference between "forcible" rape and statutory rape, but I am not a constitutional law professor.
on August 21,2012 | 12:07PM
Descartes22 wrote:
A 32 year old man who has sexual relations with an 12 year old girl engages in "statutory" rape. The Republican Vice-President nominee would deprive the girl of federal funds to obtain an abortion - that is, if the biology of the female cannot miraculously work its wonders in repelling a rapist's fluids.
on August 21,2012 | 12:23PM
allie wrote:
Why do men have to make health care decisions for us? The politician is a near mor9on. Let him keep his hands out of my shorts. geesh!
on August 21,2012 | 03:05PM
HD36 wrote:
What he meant was that there are different degrees of rape for which different sentences should be handed to the defendant. For example, we have different degrees of murder: murder 1-premeditated; murder , manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, etc. Could the same logic be applied to a rape? Yes, rape in the 1st degree would be where a woman is attacked or forced to have sex against her will; rape in the second might be where you go on a date. Go back to your place. Engage in foreplay. You start having sex and after a couple pumps she says, stop! don't, stop. The next morning she asks when you're going to get married, and you say, " never, I'm already married" she gets pissed calls the police and says she was raped, as she told you to stop. You tell the cops she said, "don't stop" The last degree, lets say, negligent rape might be a case where you go into a bar. There's a girl there that looks fully mature and she's drinking. She says she's 18 but she looks 21. After you have sex her dad is knocking on your door saying you raped his 15year old daughter. See, it ain't so black and white as Obama would have you believe.
on August 21,2012 | 10:28PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Rep. Akin is not alone in his bellief that a woman who has been "legitimately" raped secretes a spermacide that in many cases prevents the unwanted pregnancy. Other conservative lawmakers over the years have made the same assertion. The “personhood” bill, co-sponsored by Akin and Paul Ryan, called the Sanctity of Life Act, has as its basis the belief held by both men, that the soul enters the fetus at conception. The Romney campaign confirmed today that Ryan does personally oppose abortion in the case of rape, but that a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose it. Devout Catholics believe the soul enter the fetus at conception, thus abortion is a crime that compounds the crime of rape. Mormons have fluctuated over the years. President Hinckley, a past Prophet of the church, firmly believed that the soul entered at conception. However, current Mormon thought has accepted the "first breath" as the time that the soul enters. So, you can understand why Romney's view o abortion has been ambivalent. However, in his seeking to garner the conservative vote, he has once again swung to the viewpoint given by President Hinckley, an apparent political tactic. Akin believes his only mistake was in his choice of words, and that his conservative followers, many of whom beleive as he does, will give him a victory in the conservative state of Missouri. He is probably right.
on August 21,2012 | 07:31AM
Notawannabe wrote:
Oh, please don't leave the race. I want to see you go down in flames BIG TIME on election day.
on August 21,2012 | 07:35AM
808comp wrote:
Whats the matter SA. didn't like my earlier comment that you had it deleted??
on August 21,2012 | 08:13AM
entrkn wrote:
Akin is no different from any of the other GOP congressmen... if you want to get rid of him you should get rid of all the GOP congressmen...
on August 21,2012 | 10:35AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Latest news from Times is that the Republican Platform Committee, in a slap in the face to Mitt Romney, and in support of Akin, passed this morning party platform language calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. So, I refer to my earlier comment regarding conservative beliefs on abortion. Akin is not an isolated case. He is a member of the multitude, representing the new powers that be in the Republican party. It seems Romney will be a puppet. The real power will be Ryan. Fascinating.
on August 21,2012 | 11:10AM
Pacej001 wrote:
The power of a Vice President = that of a flower pot, or less. Is, always has been, always will be.
on August 21,2012 | 05:25PM
mitt_grund wrote:
I thought that was kind of a witty response until I realized that some of them do become president unexpectedly. Andrew Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt, Lydon Johnson, Gerald Ford. And then I stopped laughing. But I will keep that image in my mind.
on August 21,2012 | 05:44PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Breaking news from the Times. The Republican platform committee passed platform language this morning calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. This supports Akin and is a slap in the face of Romney. It appears that the ultra-conservative wing of the party is in control of the convention. Does this mean Romney will be a mere puppet and the real power Ryan? Sending this for second time as for some reason my first was "sent for approval", aka censored.
on August 21,2012 | 11:16AM
Descartes22 wrote:
Nice platform from the perspective of the President's party. It's too bad the inclusive, socially progressive "country club Republicans" have become all but extinct. When reasonable Senators like Lugar or Specter are bounced from their party, it does not bode well for what the founders envisioned.
on August 21,2012 | 12:28PM
kainalu wrote:
The snakes eating the snakes. The GOP caucuses and primaries have nominated a moderate-conservative, while the Republican House and Senate are ripe with nationalist tea-partiers. OOPS!
on August 21,2012 | 12:16PM
Aquarius1 wrote:
This is why men should not be making decisions related to the women's body. The sad thing is that there are many others who thinks like this neanderthal. TAlk about backward.
on August 21,2012 | 12:28PM
WKAMA wrote:
Wow, Mr Akin may have something that would put the condom industry out of business.
on August 21,2012 | 02:52PM
ghstar wrote:
It is very worrisome that this loon is on the House Science and Technology committee. How many more illiterates do we have making laws on science, the environment, energy, space, defense, and education?
on August 21,2012 | 03:26PM
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