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Missouri Senate Candidate Won’t Step Aside After Offensive Comments

As the nation’s condemnation continued to rain down on him from both the right and the left—including President Obama—Missouri Congressman Todd Akin said he will not drop out of his state’s Senate race after making a statement about “legitimate rape” that turned out to be an equal opportunity offender.

“I’m not a quitter,” Akin said on Mike Huckabee’s radio show, at the same time as he apologized for his comments. “My belief is we’re going to move this thing forward. To quote my friend John Paul Jones, ‘I’ve not yet begun to fight.'”

Republicans nationally were calling on Akin to step aside in his race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, saying that he was now endangering the Republicans’ chance to capture a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Akin’s bizarre statement came during an interview yesterday with KTVI in St. Louis, when he was asked whether he favors abortion in cases of rape.

“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.”

President Obama said during a rare news conference that Akin’s comments were “offensive.”

Obama said, “Rape is rape” and that the idea of distinguishing among types of rape “doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), who is in charge of coordinating Republican campaigns in the Senate, issued a statement that suggested Akin should consider withdrawing from the Senate race.

“Congressman Akin’s statements were wrong, offensive, and indefensible,” Cornyn said. “I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next 24 hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service.”

Mitt Romney also condemned the comments. “Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” Romney told National Review Online.

Abortion is a key issue for Akin, a six-term representative from the St. Louis suburbs because in 2011 he supported a bill that would have redefined the circumstances under which some federally funded health-care programs could be used for abortions to include only cases of “forcible rape” as opposed to “rape.” Many people believe this might prevent funding for abortions in cases of statutory rape and other circumstances.

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