Todd Akin: We're here through November
(CBS News) Despite a week of intense pressure from within the GOP to drop his Missouri Senate bid, Republican Rep. Todd Akin on Friday insisted yet again that he's staying in the race through November election - and that he's "here to win."
"Apparently there are some people who are having trouble understanding our message," he told reporters in a Friday evening press conference. "I'd like to be clear on that today, that we're going to be here through the November election and we're going to be here to win."
The six-term conservative congressman acknowledged that he "may not be the favorite candidate of some people within the Republican establishment" but said that wouldn't deter him in his electoral efforts this fall.
"The voters made a decision. And this is an election it's not a selection," he said.
Akin stressed that the campaign had been riddled in recent days with "too much attention to politics and not enough attention to principle," but maintained that he would be running "the same as we have in the past" despite the recent uproar.
The Missouri Republican came under fire after suggesting in a local interview Sunday that women are unlikely to become pregnant if raped.
"It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said when asked whether he would support abortions for rape victims. "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 was quick to apologize for his remarks and said he made a "very, very serious error." Nevertheless, he initially insisted he would stay in the Senate race and Tuesday morning launched an ad asking voters for their forgiveness. The congressman reportedly met with conservative leaders in Tampa this week and sought donations from small donors after the National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled its $5 million in funding for his race.
The race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri has been considered one of the GOP's best chances to pick up a Senate seat; Akin won the Aug. 7 Missouri Republican primary, but he was never the party's first choice. While polls showed McCaskill trailing all of her potential GOP competitors, Akin had the smallest lead against her. McCaskill and Democratic groups in fact spent money in the GOP primary to get Akin on the ballot.
Akin missed an August 21 deadline to easily drop out of the race. In spite of Akin's insistence that he's staying in the race, he quickly lost support from Mitt Romney, the Republican party and influential outside groups. Romney called his remarks "inexcusable," and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called them "wildly offensive." National conservative media similarly piled on, and the powerful super PAC American Crossroads also pulled its support.
And even though the Romney campaign flatly condemned Akin's remarks, Democrats tried to tie the GOP ticket and the Republican party in general to the controversial statements. President Obama on Monday said that Akin's remarks underscore "why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women."
As the chorus of opposition grew against Akin, U.S. Capitol Police said Thursday they are investigating threats against the congressman.
Akin acknowledged on Friday that there have been threats, but said he was unable to discuss them due to House rules.
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