AKIN SAYS NO TO DROPPING OUT OF RACE
(St. Louis) (Yahoo! News) – GOP Rep. Todd Akin said Monday that he doesn’t plan to drop out of the Missouri Senate race after his Sunday comments about “legitimate rape” prompted criticism from at least five Republican Senate candidates and presidential contender Mitt Romney.
“I’ve really made a couple of serious mistakes here that were just wrong, and I need to apologize for those,” Akin said on Mike Huckabee’s radio show Monday. “Rape is never legitimate; it’s an evil act that’s committed by violent predators.”
In a local TV interview Sunday, the six-term congressman defended his stance that rape victims should not have access to legal abortions because women rarely get pregnant from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said, prompting a firestorm of controversy.
Akin said Monday that by “legitimate rape,” he meant “forcible rape.” He said he understood that rape could result in pregnancy, and told Huckabee that he personally knew some victims of rape. “I know it’s a terrible, terrible thing.”
Akin added that he has no plans of dropping out, despite heavy criticism from Mitt Romney and other members of his party. Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has called on him to step aside. “I’m not a quitter,” Akin said. “I don’t know that I’m the only person in public office who suffered from foot in mouth disease here. … I’ve not yet begun to fight.”
Sen. John Cornyn, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement that Akin’s comments are “indefensible.” “I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next twenty-four hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service,” he said. According to Politico, Akin is cutting an apology ad in an effort to save his campaign.
Akin added that no Republican has personally called him and asked to step aside. The congressman is beating Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in the polls by a few percentage points.
ROMNEY CAMPAIGN DISTANCES FROM AKIN
(St. Louis) (AP) – Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a conservative Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in the case of “a legitimate rape,” adding that conception in such cases is rare.
Akin, a six-term congressman running against incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill, was asked in an interview on St. Louis television station KTVI if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.
“It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that’s really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said of a rape victim’s chances of becoming pregnant.
Akin said in an emailed statement later Sunday that he “misspoke” during the interview, though the statement did not specify which points or comments.
“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” Akin’s statement said.
Akin also said in the statement he believes “deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”
Akin’s comments also brought a swift rebuke from the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“Governor Romney and Congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.
McCaskill, who is seeking a second term, said Sunday in an emailed statement that she found the comments “offensive.”
“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape,” McCaskill said. “The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”
This month, Akin won the state’s Republican U.S. Senate primary by a comfortable margin. During the primary, Akin enhanced his standing with TV ads in which former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee praised him as “a courageous conservative” and “a Bible-based Christian” who “supports traditional marriage” and “defends the unborn.”
Akin, a former state lawmaker who first won election to the U.S. House in 2000, also has a long-established base among evangelical Christians and was endorsed in the primary by more than 100 pastors.
Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, on Sunday called Akin’s remarks “flat-out astonishing.”
“That kind of rhetoric re-traumatizes sexual assault victims. … That kind of talk, I believe, is intended to shame women,” she told AP Radio.
Akin was interviewed on KTVI’s “The Jaco Report,” and also talked about numerous campaign issues, such as voter ID laws, the economy and Medicare. KTVI said the interview was conducted earlier in the week.
REPUBLICAN SENATOR CALLS FOR AKIN TO DROP OUT OF RACE
(Madison) (AP) – Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is calling on Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin to drop out of the race following comments Akin made about rape.
Akin said in an interview Sunday that women’s bodies are able to prevent pregnancies in cases of what he called “a legitimate rape.”
Johnson issued a statement Monday saying Akin “should do the right thing for the nation and step aside today, so Missouri Republicans can put forth a candidate that can win in November.”
Republican Tommy Thompson, who is running for the Senate in Wisconsin, says he strongly disapproves of Akin’s comments but adds whether he drops out of the race is up to him and voters in Missouri.
Thompson’s challenger Democrat Tammy Baldwin calls Akin’s comments “ignorant, offensive and downright disgusting.”
GOVERNOR NIXON CONDEMNS AKIN REMARKS
(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri’s Democratic governor is joining critics in condemning remarks made by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin about rape.
Akin said in a radio interview that women’s bodies are sometimes able to prevent pregnancies after what he called “a legitimate rape.” The statements set off a furor and at least one Republican U.S. senator has called on Akin to step aside.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday that he completely disagrees with Akin’s comments, which he called offensive and harmful. Nixon said in a written statement the comments were “inaccurate, wrong and remarkably out of touch with reality.”
LOSING CANDIDATES SOUGHT FOR COMMENT
(Jefferson City) (AP) – The two losing candidates in the Republican primary for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat are getting renewed attention after comments by the party’s nominee about rape.
Six-term Congressman Todd Akin said in a television interview Sunday that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in “a legitimate rape” situation. He was responding to a question about abortions for rape victims.
Sarah Steelman, who finished third in the primary with 29 percent of the vote, tweeted Monday that Akin’s comments were inexcusable, insulting and embarrassing to the GOP.
A telephone message was left by The Associated Press for John Brunner, who received 30 percent of the vote in the race.
No candidate would automatically take Akin’s place if he leaves the race. The Republican state committee would have two weeks to name a replacement.