In new TV ad, Akin apologizes for rape comment, again

In this Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, file photograph, Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri, waves to the crowd while introduced at a senate candidate forum during a Republican conference in Kansas City, Mo. File,AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

(CBS News)Despite mounting pressure to withdraw from his Senate race after offensive comments he made about rape and abortion, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., isn't backing down, and recorded a TV ad apologizing for his remarks.

"Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize," Akin tells viewers in the ad, first reported by Politico Tuesday morning. "As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them," Akin says.

"The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims," he continues.

"The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness."

The controversy began Sunday after Akin, a six-term conservative congressman who's running against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, was asked in a TV interview whether 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.

Reaction to his comments was swift, first from his opponent, McCaskill, with whom he's locked in a tight battle. Early Monday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighed in, calling his remarks "inexcusable" and "offensive", while some Republican senators like Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin called for him to drop out of the Senate race.

Later, President Obama suggested Akin's remarks illustrated the broad differences between Democrats and Republicans on issues like health care and reproductive rights.

"Rape is rape," Mr. Obama said. "And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me."

Mr. Obama added 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."

Akin apologizes for rape comments; Obama says "rape is rape"
Romney abortion view overrides Ryan in Akin response
Romney, Scott Brown rebuke Akin's rape comments
Mo. Rep. Todd Akin: Rape rarely leads to pregnancy

By the end of the day, even after Akin had publicly apologized, the conservative National Review had called for Akin to drop out and conservative radio host Sean Hannity suggested repeatedly in an interview with Akin that he, perhaps, for the good of the party, should consider ending his Senate bid.

And as Republicans continued their calls for Akin to drop out of the race by 5 p.m. Central Time Tuesday, the deadline for the party to be allowed to simply replace him on the ballot without complications, there were indications that if he decided to stay in, he'd be on his own, financially.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the Senate, told CBS News they would pull their financial support and a group run by Karl Rove, which has been running ads against McCaskill in Missouri, said they'd stop running commercials there.

  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBSNews.com's Executive Editor, Washington.

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