Embattled congressman Todd Akin won’t be withdrawing from Missouri’s Senate race despite calls from leaders within his party for him to step aside and make room for another candidate after his comments about “legitimate rape” and abortion caused a massive controversy. Mr. Akin made his intention to stick with his Senate bid clear on a pair of radio interviews this afternoon where he admitted that he “misspoke one word,” but also accused his detractors of having “an overreaction.”
Mr. Akin made his first radio appearance of the day on Mike Huckabee’s radio show, the same venue where he went on the air yesterday and proclaimed his intention to stay in the Senate race. Since then, calls from inside the GOP mounted for Mr. Akin to end his bid and reports emerged that he would indeed withdraw. This afternoon, Mr. Akin assured Mr. Huckabee that’s not his plan.
“I want to make things absolutely clear and that is, we are going to continue with this race for the U.S. Senate. We’ve given it a lot of thought,” he said.
Mr. Akin acknowledged he has lost the support of the GOP, but he said he believes “defense of the unborn and deep respect for life” is missing from much of today’s political discourse and he believes his supporters want him to continue taking up this cause.
“The party people said, ‘When you win the primary, then we’ll be with you.’ Well they were with us, then I said one word and one sentence on one day and everything changed,” said Mr. Akin. “But, you know, I tell you, I have been so encouraged by good friends who are closer than brothers and I realize now that there are a lot of other bravehearts that don’t fit into the political parties exactly. And I believe the defense of the unborn and deep respect for life, which underlie all of America, those are important parts of who we are and the’yre not things to run away from.”
Mr. Akin said the outcry against him “does seem like a bit of an overreaction” in light of the face he “hadn’t done anything that was morally or ethically wrong” other than “to get a word in the wrong place.” Though he described “the institutional side of the party” as “lined up” against him, Mr. Akin, who was leading in the polls against his incumbent Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill, prior to the fiasco, said he has “grassroots” support he thinks he can still win.
“I do receive continuing calls from other congressmen and people who are very supportive of what we’re trying to do,” Mr. Akin said. “Is there a matter of some justice there? That I misspoke one word, in one sentence in one day and, all of a sudden, overnight everybody decides, well Akin can’t possibly win. Well, you know, I don’t agree with that. The America that I know, the people that I know in Missouri, when you make a mistake–nobody expects us to get every word perfectly.”
A few minutes after wrapping up his interview with Mr. Huckabee, Mr. Akin made an appearance on Dana Loesch’s radio show where he gave his take on how the controversy began. Mr. Akin blamed the situation on his “misplacing of the word legitimate” in the interview where he suggested women’s bodies can avoid pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.” Instead of saying rapists are “legitimate,” Mr. Akin said he was trying to note some accusations of rapes are illegitimate.
“People had been hurt because they had assumed–that the ‘legitimate’ referred to rapists. There isn’t any legitimate rapist, none whatsoever, they’re horrible criminals,” Mr. Akin explained. “There’s nothing legitimate about the rapist, but, rather, I was putting that in the wrong place to point that there were people who make false claims.”
Mr. Akin didn’t explain how his placement of the word “legitimate” affected his claim that women’s bodies have “ways” to avoid pregnancy after a sexual encounter. He also said a lack of media savvy contributed to his troubles.
“I wasn’t really acclimated to the nature of the new media environment that we find ourselves in,” said Mr. Akin.
Despite having told Mr. Huckabee how confident he was about his “grassroots” supporters making up for his loss of party backing, Mr. Akin conceded to Ms. Loesch that he’s “a little short on money” and needs donors to “help us here.”
“It seems that we have lost some Republican support here, in terms of many millions of dollars,” he said.
Though he may have some newfound financial woes, Mr. Akin reiterated the fact he’s not giving up on his Senate bid and thinks he has what it takes to win.
“We are not getting out of this race. I am in this race for the long haul and we’re going to win it,” he said to Ms. Loesch.