Orlin Wagner, File, Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — Rep. Todd Akin renewed his vow to carry on with his embattled Senate campaign Tuesday, even as a key deadline loomed to withdraw from the race over his comments that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape."
Akin, who has been frantically trying to salvage his once-promising bid against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, insisted the uproar surrounding his remarks was an overreaction to misspeaking "one word in one sentence on one day."
For the second time in two days, Akin went on the radio show hosted by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to say he planned to stay in the race, despite constant urging from prominent members of his own party to step aside.
"I guess my question is: Is there a matter of some justice here?" Akin asked. After his original statement, "all of a sudden, overnight, everybody decides, 'Well, Akin can't possibly win.' Well, I don't agree with that."
The race has long been targeted by the GOP as crucial to regaining control of the Senate.
"I hadn't done anything morally or ethically wrong, as sometimes people in politics do," Akin said. "We do a lot of talking, and to get a word in the wrong place, still, that's not a good thing to do, or to hurt anybody that way, it does seem like a little bit of an overreaction."
Hours earlier, he posted a video online in which he apologized again.
But ominous signs were mounting against the six-term legislator from suburban St. Louis, most notably the apparent loss of millions of dollars in campaign advertising money.
The decision has some urgency. Missouri election law allows candidates to withdraw 11 weeks before Election Day. That means the deadline to exit the Nov. 6 election is 5 p.m. Tuesday. Otherwise, a court order would be needed to remove a name from the ballot.
The uproar began Sunday, when St. Louis television station KTVI aired an interview in which Akin was asked if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.
"It seems to me, first of all, 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.
In the interviews with Huckabee and Sean Hannity on Monday, Akin acknowledged that rape can lead to conception.
"Rape is never legitimate. It's an evil act. It's committed by violent predators," Akin said. "I used the wrong words the wrong way."
But the damage had been done. The comments drew a sharp rebuke from fellow Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his vice presidential choice, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin.
The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said Akin's comments might "prevent him from effectively representing" the Republican Party. He called on Akin to "take time with his family" to consider whether he should continue in the Senate race.
Two other Republican senators, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, urged Akin to resign.
Akin also apparently lost a key source of funding. Sen. John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, told Akin that $5 million in advertising set aside for Missouri will be spent elsewhere and that Akin will get no other help from the committee, according to a committee official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.
Cornyn told Akin that he was endangering the GOP's hopes of getting a Senate majority by staying in the race, the official said.
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