Todd Akin talks about RNC snub, 'legitimate rape' remarks

12:35 AM, Aug 29, 2012   |    comments
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St. Louis (KSDK) -- Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin spoke with our sister station KSDK Tuesday night, in a one-on-one interview.

The embattled Congressman was asked to stay away from Tampa by the Republican leadership ever since his controversial remarks about rape and abortion, and they want him to drop out of the Senate race.

In the 11-minute long interview, Akin opens up, talking about the Republican National Convention's efforts to cut him off and his intention to stay in the race for Senate against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Click on the video above to watch the full interview.

Akin's comments from earlier this month have been called insulting, wildly offensive and just plain wrong -- and that's been the reaction from Republicans.

The question he faced was simple: Should abortion be legal in the case of rape?

"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," Akin said.

Those two suggestions -- that women might spontaneously prevent conception, and that some rape might be legitimate -- combined to create a political earthquake. Akin apologized to rape victims for using the word legitimate, but by then the Republican leadership had deserted him.

Mitt Romney called the comments "inexcusable." Party leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that Akin quit the race for Senate in Missouri, to consider in McConnell's words, if "(the) statement will prevent him from effectively representing our party in this critical election."

Akin rejected the idea of quitting, insisting his anti-abortion positions are a strength not a weakness.

"I stuck to just basically our conservative principles and I have a sense that we're still a people of forgiveness, and when people make a mistake, and they're honest about it, and say it was a mistake, I believe they'll move on," Akin said about the growing firestorm.

Before his comments, Republicans were counting on Akin to defeat incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, and to win back a Republican Senate majority. Now McCaskill has new life and she argues Akin has harmed Republican appeal to women.

"So I think when you start trying to split hairs around the subject of rape, it's offensive to women and it shows a blatant lack of understanding about the nature of the crime," McCaskill said.

Contributing: CBS NEWS

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