Instead of dropping out, embattled U.S. politician Todd Akin withstood pressure to withdraw as a Republican Senatorial candidate from Missouri by releasing an apology.
Mr. Akin's team posted an online video on Tuesday to show remorse for his controversial comments about rape that stirred provocative, abortion politics to surface during the U.S. presidential election campaign.
In the YouTube ad, he repeats his regret for the remarks made last Sunday. Mr. Akin ignited a public relations crisis when a television show interviewed him and he said women could not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”
Senior Republicans have since condemned his inflammatory claims—including U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney—and urged him to quit his run for public office.
The video response goes on: “Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize,” Akin says.
“The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness,” he asserts.
Mr. Akin also highlights how he has two daughters to rhetorically express his focus on “tough justice” and compassion for victims.
Public Policy Polling reported Todd Akin ahead of Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill 44 to 43 per cent—even though the majority of Missouri voters were irked by his judgments about rape. Voting data remained static as before any blow-back the polling firm found Mr. Akin ahead 45 to 44 per cent.
Instead of burying this gaffe, Mr. Akin went on to draw more attention to his incendiary views.
During a follow-up interview with Dana Loesch, he clarifies that he meant to argue that women sometimes lie about being raped:
Todd Akin: You know, Dr. Willke has just released a statement and part of his letter, I think he just stated it very clearly. He said, of course Akin never used the word legitimate to refer to the rapist, but to false claims like those made in Roe v. Wade and I think that simplifies it… There isn’t any legitimate rapist… [I was] making the point that there were people who use false claims, like those that basically created Roe v. Wade.
Republicans have until 5 p.m. (U.S. Central Standard Time) next Tuesday, Aug. 27 to decide if challengers will file in the Missouri race to replace Mr. Akin should he change his mind and bow out.