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Will Todd Akin quit Senate race? The GOP wants to know (+video)

Republicans worry Representative Todd Akin's ill-conceived comments about pregnancy and rape will cost them a Senate race in Missouri. Akin's comments played into an assertion of Democrats, that Republicans are out of touch with women's rights.

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Leading Republicans sought Monday to pressure Rep. Todd Akin into quitting the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, fearing his ill-considered remarks on abortion and rape would cost the GOP its shot at controlling the chamber and damage the party’s presidential ticket.

Democrats, eager to capitalize on Akin’s comments, issued a burst of fundraising appeals — subject line: “Legitimate Rape” — and even President Barack Obama weighed in, saying the congressman’s statement was hard to comprehend.

But Akin, while apologizing, insisted he would stay in the race, one of a handful that could determine which party runs the Senate after November. He made his own money pitch, asking donors to chip in $3 apiece “as a sign of support of my continued candidacy.”

The six-term congressman, who represents part of the St. Louis suburbs, drew an outraged response from members of both parties after a Sunday interview in which he explained his opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape. Akin said such pregnancies were “really rare” because “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

The near-panic in GOP ranks Monday reflected a political calculation; Akin’s comments played precisely to an assertion Democrats have pursued relentlessly — that Republicans are retrograde and insensitive to women’s rights.

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