Report: Akin met with conservative leaders in Tampa

In this Feb. 18, 2012, photo, Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., waves to the crowd while introduced at a senate candidate forum in Kansas City, Mo. Akin vowed to fight on in his embattled Senate campaign as the deadline to exit the Nov. 6 elections loomed, Aug. 21, 2012, putting pressure on the Missouri congressman to abandon the race over his comments that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape." Orlin Wagner

In this Feb 18, 2012 file photo, 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.
Orlin Wagner
(CBS  News) Embattled Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., reportedly traveled south to Tampa, the site of the Republican National Convention, to meet with conservative leaders.

Akin, the Republican Missouri Senate nominee who has defied calls from top members of his party to leave the race, has said he will not attend the convention. But he did travel to Tampa for a meeting of the conservative Council for National Policy, according to Politico.

Akin says he is staying in the race following his comments that "legitimate rape" rarely leads to abortion. Republicans have vowed to withhold money from him in an effort to get him to drop out of what they see as a winnable race, one crucial to their chances to win the Senate. Akin said in a Tweet Thursday morning that he has raised $100,000 since his remarks aired Sunday.

The National Republican Senate Campaign Committee has said it will withhold $5 million dollars that would have gone to Akin in his effort to defeat Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Sarah Palin, meanwhile, is encouraging Sarah Steelman, whom Akin defeated in the Republican primary, to launch a third party bid.

The Council for National Policy, which does not discuss its membership, "brings together the country's most influential conservative leaders" to "solve America's growing problems" the organization's website says.

Bryan Fischer of the socially conservative American Family Association told CBS News this week that his group supports Akin.

"He's a strong defender of the sanctity of life. We just think what's being done to him here is virtually criminal," said Fischer.

"They should not throw Todd Akin overboard - his is a one-word misspeak," he added. "And they're going to trash a guy's political career over that? Give me a break."

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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