Akin: ‘I’ve not yet begun to fight’

August 20, 2012

Updated at 1:40 p.m.

Rep. Todd Akin said Monday that he will not give in to calls for him to end his Missouri Senate campaign after his controversial comments about "legitimate rape."

"I’m not a quitter. My belief is we’re going to move this thing forward," he said during an appearance Monday afternoon on Mike Huckabee's radio show. “To quote my friend John Paul Jones, I’ve not yet begun to fight.”

Akin also said he still sees himself as the right candidate to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), even as many Republicans have begun to doubt it. He apologized for his remarks but said it doesn't mean he should end his campaign.

"I feel just as strongly as ever that my background and ability will be an asset in replacing Claire McCaskill and restoring some sanity in government," Akin said. “Just because someone makes a mistake doesn’t make them useless.”

Akin has found himself in hot water after saying in an interview airing Sunday that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy. Akin was explaining his no-exceptions policy on abortion.

He told Huckabee that he apologizes profusely for the remark.

"I really just want to apologize to those that I've hurt, because I've spoken in error," Akin said. He also said "legitimate" was a poor choice of words: "I was talking about forcible rape, and it was absolutely the wrong word."

Many big-name Republicans have repudiated the comment, and Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Senate candidate and former congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) have called for Akin to drop out of the race. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a statement that Akin should take 24 hours to reevaluate what's best for himself and his party.

Huckabee, notably, endorsed Akin in the primary and appeared in ads for him. Johnson backed Akin's primary opponent, businessman John Brunner.

Akin said he hasn't received any direct requests for him to drop out of the race, though he is aware that they are out there.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Peyton M. Craighill | August 20, 2012