ST. LOUIS – Rep. Todd Akin renewed his vow to carry on with his embattled Senate campaign Tuesday, even as a key deadline loomed to withdraw from the race about his comment that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape.”
Akin, who has been trying to salvage his once-promising bid against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, insisted the uproar surrounding his remarks was an overreaction to misspeaking “one word in one sentence on one day.”
For the second time in two days, Akin went on the radio show hosted by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to say he planned to stay in the race, despite constant urging from prominent members of his own party to step aside.
“I guess my question is: Is there a matter of some justice here?” Akin asked. After his original statement, “all of a sudden, overnight, everybody decides, `Well, Akin can’t possibly win.’ Well, I don’t agree with that.”
The race has long been targeted by the GOP as crucial to regaining control of the Senate.
“I hadn’t done anything morally or ethically wrong, as sometimes people in politics do,” Akin said. “We do a lot of talking, and to get a word in the wrong place, still, that’s not a good thing to do, or to hurt anybody that way, it does seem like a little bit of an overreaction.”
Hours earlier, he posted a video online in which he apologized again.
But ominous signs were mounting against the six-term legislator from suburban St. Louis, most notably the apparent loss of millions of dollars in campaign advertising money.
The decision has some urgency. Missouri election law allows candidates to withdraw 11 weeks before Election Day. That means the deadline to exit the Nov. 6 election is 5 p.m. Tuesday. Otherwise, a court order would be needed to remove a name from the ballot.
The uproar began Sunday, when St. Louis television station KTVI aired an interview in which Akin was asked 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. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said.
In the interviews with Huckabee and Sean Hannity on Monday, Akin acknowledged that rape can lead to conception.
“Rape is never legitimate. It’s an evil act. It’s committed by violent predators,” Akin said. “I used the wrong words the wrong way.”
Associated Press writers Henry C. Jackson in Washington; Jim Suhr in St. Louis; and Chris Blank and David Lieb in Jefferson City, Mo., contributed to this report.