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.
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.”
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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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