advertisement

U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin says he will stay in race

Monday, August 20, 2012 | 12:40 p.m. CDT; updated 4:39 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 20, 2012

ST. LOUIS — Missouri Rep. Todd Akin apologized Monday for his televised comments that women's bodies are able to prevent pregnancies if they are victims of "a legitimate rape," but he refused to heed calls to abandon his bid for the Senate.

Appearing on former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's radio show, Akin said 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."

Calls for Akin's exit from the race grew Monday, with at least two Republican senators — Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — saying he should resign the party's nomination.

In Columbia, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer said the same in a post on his Facebook page.

"As a husband, a father and a former prosecutor of rapists, I find Todd Akin’s comments barbaric and sickening," Schaefer wrote, noting he has sponsored legislation to protect pregnant rape victims from continued harassment by their attackers. "This issue goes far beyond politics and to the very essence of compassion for those most vulnerable. It is my opinion that Todd Akin should exit the U.S. Senate race immediately."

Mitch Richards, a Republican candidate for the 47th District House seat representing part of Boone County, said Akin's statement was "completely unacceptable."

"What Akin said does not reflect the mainstream of the Republican Party and reflected on all Republicans," Richards said. He called Schaefer's comment poignant and said he stands by it.

Akin, who has served six terms, pledged to continue the race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

This month, the 65-year-old congressman won the state's Republican Senate primary by a comfortable margin.

"The good people of Missouri nominated me, and I'm not a quitter," he said. "And my belief is we're going to take this thing forward and, by the grace of God, we're going to win this race."

During the primary campaign, Akin ran TV ads in which Huckabee praised him as "a courageous conservative" and "a Bible-based Christian" who "supports traditional marriage" and "defends the unborn."

Asked in an interview Sunday on KTVI-TV if he would support abortions for women who have been raped, Akin said: "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."

Later Sunday, Akin released a statement saying that he "misspoke" during the interview, though the statement did not say specifically which points were in error.

"In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview, and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year," Akin's statement said.

Akin also said he believes "deeply in the protection of all life" and does "not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action."

Brown, considered to be one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans in the November election, said Akin's comments were "outrageous, inappropriate and wrong."

"There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking," said Brown, who is locked in a tight race with Elizabeth Warren.

Brown said Akin should apologize and resign the Senate nomination.

Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, said in a tweet that Akin "should step aside today for the good of the nation."

Moments after Akin's apology, President Barack Obama said Akin's comments underscore why politicians — most of whom are men— should not make health decisions on behalf of women.

"Rape is rape," Obama said. He said the idea of distinguishing among types of rape "doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me."

Akin's comments also brought a swift rebuke from the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Romney and Ryan "disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

Romney went further in an interview with National Review Online, calling Akin's comments "insulting, inexcusable and frankly wrong."

"Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive," Romney said.

In an emailed statement Sunday, McCaskill said it was "beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape."

Ushering Akin from the race is complicated by the fact that he has never been a candidate beholden to the party establishment. Since being elected to Congress in 2000, Akin has relied on a grassroots network of supporters. His Senate campaign is being run by his son.

Behind the scenes, Republican officials were looking for intermediaries Akin trusted to try to coax him from the race.

Missouri election law allows candidates to withdraw 11 weeks before Election Day. That means the deadline to exit the Nov. 6 election would be 5 p.m. Tuesday. Otherwise, a court order would be needed to remove a candidate's name from the ballot.

If Akin were to leave, state law holds that the Republican state committee has two weeks to name a replacement. The candidate would be required to file within 28 days of Akin's exit.

Akin, a former state lawmaker who was first elected to the House in 2000, has a long-established base among evangelical Christians and was endorsed in the primary by more than 100 pastors.

Missourian reporter Nassim Benchaabane contributed to this report.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Joy Mayer August 20, 2012 | 12:57 p.m.

Do Todd Akin's weekend comments about pregnancy and "legitimate rape" change your feelings about him? Do they change how you plan to vote in November?

Comment here, or email reporter Hank Koebler at hjkb78@mail.missouri.edu.

Joy Mayer
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Bruce Caldwell August 20, 2012 | 1:24 p.m.

Todd Akin could be the next new voice for Modern Republicanism.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 20, 2012 | 1:34 p.m.

("Rape Pregnancies Are Rare
John C. Willke, M.D.")
http://www.christianliferesources.com/ar...

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble August 20, 2012 | 2:12 p.m.

Your link does nothing to support Akins' point, Ray, but since you bring it up:

http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(9...

and

"Gottschall and Gottschall (2003) estimated that pregnancy rates resulting from rape are two times that of consensual per-incident rates. That is, approximately 6% of rapes result in pregnancy compared to approximately 3% of consensual copulations.

Sources:
Gottschall, J., & Gottschall, T. (2003). Are per-incident rape-pregnancy rates higher than per-incident consensual pregnancy rates? Human Nature, 14(1), 1-20. doi:10.1007/s12110-003-1014-0

McKibbin, W. F., Shackelford, T. K., Goetz, A. T., & Starratt, V. G. (2008). Why do men rape? An evolutionary psychological perspective. Review of General Psychology, 12(1), 86. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.12.1.86"

(Report Comment)
Ida Fogle August 20, 2012 | 2:42 p.m.

Every time Akin opens his mouth, my opinion of him gets a little worse. I never planned to vote for him, so my mind hasn't changed there. He has a long of history of saying outrageous things like this and has co-sponsored proposed legislation that would change the definition of rape. So, I find it hard to see this as a "gaffe."

He's also the candidate who promises if we elect him he'll work to take away our right to vote. So...

I suppose the only thing that's changed for me is that I've progressed from merely planning to vote for McCaskill to actually donating money to her campaign.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 20, 2012 | 3:30 p.m.

@Kevin Gamble
What it proves is that Akin may have been carrying around in his head information he read on a Christian website.
He has apologized for offending others.
I'm still waiting for McCaskill to apologize for ignoring many of us seniors at her Town Hall meetings on ObamaCare.
Do progressive liberals ever apologize?
Does Obama lie?
Does he tell the "whole story?"

(Report Comment)
Bob Brandon August 20, 2012 | 4:15 p.m.

He won the votes of Missouri Republicans in a well-contested race, and his politics, for better or worse, are not unknown to discerning voters. He should stay in the race.

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 20, 2012 | 4:44 p.m.

I'm going to post this again.

This election is about the economy, Stupid! We must not allow one more liberal D' to return to return to the corrupt, "do nothing" Senate, now dictated to by the liar named, Harry Reid. If the Senate is not reclaimed by Republicans, Romney may win, but little will change if liberal Democrats have total power to stop everything in the Senate.

Give Akin hell after he is elected, but get to the polls and vote for him!

(Report Comment)
Robin Nuttall August 20, 2012 | 5:05 p.m.

Frank Christian, this election is not only about the economy. It's about the extreme Christian right wing making a bid for the country and taking it down a road many of us do not want to see.

I can not, and I will not, EVER vote for someone who will not support choice. It's about SO much more than the economy.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall August 20, 2012 | 5:09 p.m.

It is truly sad to see out of the very few comments, there are actually a couple in support of electing this idiot to represent us in the US Senate. It is pathetic. There might not be a good choice available, but the are clearly some just terrible choices and clearly still some supporters for these moronic options. Sad state of affairs.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance August 20, 2012 | 5:18 p.m.

Wow, Frank, really?

Akins is trying to parse what is a legitimate rape. If anyone votes for this man should be ashamed of themselves. It reflects on your character who you vote for. Knowing that there are people like Frank who vote for this garbage, will make me double my efforts to make sure these pathetic people stop making decisions for us. The Republicans have stopped every attempt to get money into the middle class' hands so they can generate demand for goods and services. The Republicans have kept this economy crippled to make sure Obama has a tough fight for re-election. Akins mentioned punishment for criminals and not fetuses, but never mentions that the woman has to carry her RAPISTS baby to term. If you can't vote for Claire, you have a Libertarian alternative.

(Report Comment)
Bruce Caldwell August 20, 2012 | 5:28 p.m.

"Give Akin hell after the election, but get to the polls and vote for him!"- Frank ("they probably really wanted it") Cristian.

Yeah Frank, good luck with that kind of persuasive argument!
Frank Christian, also the next new voice for Modern Republicanism

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 20, 2012 | 6:30 p.m.

Joy Mayer asks, "Do Todd Akin's weekend comments about pregnancy and "legitimate rape" change your feelings about him? Do they change how you plan to vote in November?
_________________

Data will be interesting to see.

Now, how about asking the following question:

Do Jo Biden's comments about chaining Americans or the speculation of a Republican attorney general change your feelings about him? Do they change how you plan to vote in November?

I'll post later on the topic at hand; been sittin' onna tractor today, but I've been thinking about this. The short of what I will post is that Akin should withdraw in favor of someone else, but I wish to post other stuff too. I just wanted to point out to Joy that an editorial bias and some sort of selective reporting may be showing.

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 20, 2012 | 7:37 p.m.

It's OK, progressive, liberals, (you know who you are.) I never expected you to get my message. The socialist nation of France has averaged 2% growth and 8% unemployment for last 40 years. It's going on 4 for us with Obama, but you, of course see no need for "change".

Robin, the road we are heading down is the one with the longest high unemployed numbers, since the Depression. There are far fewer jobs,now, to be filled. Ours have now been unemployed so long that if the Economy ever does recover these will never be able compete with the new, younger applicants. 25% of our teens cannot even find part time work. They are missing the experience that comes with a job, punctuality, responsibility, the pride of Earning a wage. We are building a sub-culture of unemployable people, always dependent upon government. You would doubt, I suppose, that this is what Obama and his Democrats are looking for (or do you care?).

This is visibly happening around you, yet your position is, vote for no one that might change it unless they are "pro-choice". Will you think "support choice" when the price of fuel limits your travel to work and the grocery store? When your choice is to turn on the heat or don more clothes? These are just a couple of problems you have been promised, not by Christian right wing, by B. Obama and his D's. This election is ALL about the economy!

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 20, 2012 | 7:40 p.m.

It's OK, progressive, liberals, you know who you are. I never expected you to get my message. The socialist nation of France has averaged 2% growth and 8% unemployment for last 40 years. It's going on 4 for us with Obama, but you, of course see no need for "change".

Robin, the road we are heading down is the one with the longest high unemployed numbers, since the Depression. There are far fewer jobs to be had. Ours have now been unemployed so long that if the Economy ever does recover these will never be able compete with the new, younger applicants. 25% of our teens cannot even find part time work. They are missing the experience that comes with a job, punctuality, responsibility, the pride of Earning a wage. We are building a sub-culture of unemployable people, always dependent upon government. You would doubt, I suppose, that this is what Obama and his Democrats are looking for (or do you care?).

This is visibly happening around you, yet your position is, vote for no one that might change it unless they are "pro-choice". Will you think "support choice" when the price of fuel limits your travel to work and the grocery store? When your choice is to turn on the heat or don more clothes? These are just a couple of problems you have been promised, not by Christian right wing, by B. Obama and his D's. This election is ALL about the economy!

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 20, 2012 | 7:46 p.m.

Joy - I'm sorry about this double header. View your post only gave me the article with no comments. To avoid losing the text I went back to the original. Did not know I was getting a two-fer.

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer August 20, 2012 | 10:31 p.m.

@Frank, we do have a bug that sometimes comments don't show up, then reappear upon refreshing the page. Sorry for the trouble.

@Michael, a Twitter follower brought up the same point today, and it's absolutely fair to ask. In this case, we decided to pose the question because of what we were hearing from readers, and seeing in online discussions -- people who had changed their mind. We're wondering about whether there's a story there, and are hoping people will choose to share their perspective publicly, to inform our reporting and potentially become sources. We don't ask it lightly, or with an intended bias. I'd certainly welcome feedback on the wording of the question.

Joy Mayer
Director of community outreach
Columbia Missourian
mayerj@missouri.edu

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 20, 2012 | 11:57 p.m.

Joy: My feedback has already been offered. You already read it.

I think it's a big deal when the VP of the United States tells folks conservatives will put them back in chains. I also think it's a big deal when the VP of the United States tells the NAACP to worry about a Romney attorney general. And I think it's a big deal when Akin jumps over the stupid fence.

Apparently, the Missourian (and you) are much more selective with its choice of "big deals". I do not believe you are blind to this, and I do not believe you are naive. Hence, I simply do not believe statements of "no bias"....to say nothing of selectivity in the stories this newspaper chooses to report. Res ipsa loquitur.

I cannot fathom how you see a story here, but not there. You should see it in both places, yet you remain silent about one but not the other. I believe that, once again, this newspaper is trying to MAKE news rather than report news.

Akin should withdraw. I was going to write more on the topic, but I'm generally disgusted with everyone right now (including this newspaper), so I neither see nor feel any reason to continue.

(Report Comment)
Bob Brandon August 21, 2012 | 7:42 a.m.

Frank complained: "I never expected you ["liberals"] to get my message."

(laughing) I think "liberals" got his message just fine. Just like they got Akin's. They just don't happen to agree with it and are establishing why no-one else with discerning tastes in politics should either.

In other words, "not getting" Frank's message is a bit like "not getting" eating dirt.

(Report Comment)
Rich C. August 21, 2012 | 7:43 a.m.

Frank,

It's laughable that you think Todd Akin will change any of those things.

It's laughable that you think Republicans are the cure-all.

You're laughable.

(Report Comment)
Rich C. August 21, 2012 | 8:48 a.m.

A republican somewhere will fork over some big money today to coerce Akin into stepping down. It is pointless for him to continue into November. Sure, you'll have a few people like Frank that vote for him but it will be a landslide victory for Claire.

No wonder she ran ads for the guy.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 21, 2012 | 9:06 a.m.

@Joy
I think the bias is not in the wording of the question. The bias is where was the question when Harry Reid decided to make up lies on the Senate floor about a presidential nominee? Where was the question when the Vice President used slave imagery as a scare tactic about a nominee? Where was the question when the incumbant POTUS's campaign called the other nominee a killer when they knew ahead of time that the story was bogus? These are all as bad as a bible beater with much less power, albeit local, making asinine comments in an interview IMHO.

One more though. Where was the question when our Attorney General lied to Congress? You don't get do overs with stuff like that and he sent at least two "do overs" after having been caught lying in letters to congress. NBC goes a year without reporting on an issue that ended with our sitting Attorney General being held in contempt of Congress and they lead the nightly news with Akin's foot in mouth disease. Holder should have been disbarred and ousted no question about it. However, since the "justice" dept is run by political cronies for the time being, he will not suffer the consequences of his actions until there is new leaders in the justice dept that will follow and enforce the laws of the land. What Holder did was far worse than any of this in my book.

I see this blind eye the lamestream has turned as fuel for more of the same. However you feel about the mess that is the political environment these days, IMHO you have no one to thank but the lamestream media and their unabashed bias that has emboldened the left to engage in more and more outrageous behavior. Not only have they not been held to task, they have been cheered on. Then, one state senate candidate says something completely indefensible and all of a sudden the pc police wake up and call out the pitchforks. Do you think this is not noticed by those of us that quit drinking the cool-aid as we grew up?

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 21, 2012 | 9:08 a.m.

Senate candidate from our state...

(Report Comment)
Tracy Greever-Rice August 21, 2012 | 9:12 a.m.

Well, Mike, there is, of course, the issue that none of those things you claim actually happened...

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 21, 2012 | 9:21 a.m.

@Joy
Don't take my rant personally please... You don't need to respond to every rant from the likes of me ;-)

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 21, 2012 | 9:25 a.m.

@Tracy
Mark my words. Holder will eventually be disbarred for what he did. It won't happen until a changing of the guard, but it will happen. Do you remember Clinton? He got disbarred and he lied about a "personnel" issue instead of ongoing operations...

(Report Comment)
Rich C. August 21, 2012 | 9:39 a.m.

It still hasn't been proven that Harry lied about Romney's taxes.

There's only one way to find out..

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 21, 2012 | 10:01 a.m.

I am still waiting for Owebama to admit the only reason he got in to Columbia with his horrible grades was because he applied as a foreign exchange student... Way to keep it going Rich...

(Report Comment)
Rich C. August 21, 2012 | 10:38 a.m.

You may have "stopped drinking the kool-aid" but you sure found something even more potent.

(Report Comment)
Tracy Greever-Rice August 21, 2012 | 1:01 p.m.

Clinton's disbarment was wholly an act of political theater tied in with the 'impeachment' charade. Look, I have no great love of either Clinton or Holder (though Clinton is a really interesting character study), and I've found the Obama administration's justice department's kowtowing response to all issues of civil liberties extremely disappointing. That's why the whole Holder deal is really quite amazing, he's pretty much one of you, Mike. I guess it's just so very, very easy to play the 'contempt of congress' card for purposes of political distraction and as a smear tactic. Anyone & everyone with a brain understands that it's nothing but political folderal and lowest-common denominator gamesmanship.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 21, 2012 | 2:54 p.m.

I agree with you that the impeachment was theater. Clinton didn't help things either... I actually think he was smarter and a better president than what we have now. I'd buy Clinton a beer if he shows up at an MU Arkansas game, but Holder will get nothing but an earful from me ;-)

Back to Holder, the oath the lawyers/officers of the court/whatever you call them, take that says they will respect the court and tell the truth when they are under oath is a serious deal for any officer of the court, much less the Attorney General. Clinton was forced to give up his law license and was disbarred somewhat quietly after the whole impeachment fandago. You just can't go that route when you are an officer of the court instead of just a "regular" politician. Holder could have gotten away with a political theater defense if he had fessed up to knowing about it and going the mea culpa route and saying it didn't work out like we wanted, this was one operation that went bad out of thousands of good ones etc... But, when he chose to engage in the "moral terpitude" of this administration and flat out lie about knowing about it even though he had signed off on it and not even make a legitimate attempt to comply with a subpoena from Congress, he made his bed and he will eventually have to lie in it. Obama tried to cover his back by invoking executive privilage, but it was clearly not a case that fit those guidelines. He is a "dead man walking" as far as his standing as an officer of the court goes.

Well, the deadline is rapidly approaching... I have to admit that an R, whoever it is, will get my vote in this election even if I don't feel good about it. Too much at stake with control of the Senate. Rest assured that the religious right, of which I am no fan, will not turn back Roe v Wade with the current SCOTUS.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements