Akin expresses remorse over rape comment
April 26th, 2013
10:01 AM ET
12 months ago

Akin expresses remorse over rape comment

(CNN) – Nearly six months after losing a Senate race and becoming a political punch line, former Rep. Todd Akin weighed in again on his controversial remarks about rape and pregnancy, saying in a recent interview he has "relived" the episode "too many times."

In an interview with CNN affiliate KSDK in St. Louis, the former Missouri congressman also hit back at Karl Rove, founder of the independent group American Crossroads, for his new group designed to recruit GOP candidates that won't make the same mistake as Akin.

Facing one of the most vulnerable incumbent Democrats, Claire McCaskill, in last year's Senate race, Akin was expected to win the contest. Shortly after becoming his party's nominee, however, he made a comment that soon made him a target of Democrats and many Republicans.

Talking about his anti-abortion stance, the unapologetic social conservative said in an August interview that if a woman experiences "legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Democrats quickly tore into him over the statement, which lacked scientific basis. And in the next few days, top GOP leaders seeking to distance the party from his comments called on Akin to step out of the race. Then-presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney even issued a statement asking the Missouri Republican to drop out.

"Republican leadership was strong that you have to step down," Akin said. "But there was a very strong grassroots element saying don't you give in to those party bosses. You stay in there and you keep fighting."

Though he apologized for his remark, he remained in the race and lost to McCaskill, 39%-55%. Romney, on the other hand, won Missouri with 54% of the vote.

Asked if he could take back his comment, Akin said, "Oh, of course I would! I've relived them too many times. But that is not reality."

"All of us are fallible," he said, elaborating further. "We make mistakes, and we say things the wrong way."

Since the November elections, Republicans have pointed to Akin and Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana, who also lost an election after making controversial statements about rape, as candidates that tainted the party as a whole. Earlier this year, Rove announced the start of the Conservative Victory Fund, a new group aimed to help Republican candidates sail through GOP primaries.

"Some people think the best we can do is Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock – they're wrong. We need to do better if we hope to take over the United States Senate," Rove, the former top political adviser to President George W. Bush, said on Fox in February.

Akin, though, cast doubt at Rove's credibility. Ten of the 12 GOP Senate candidates his groups supported last year ended up losing.

"Karl Rove has made himself an expert," Akin said. "I think I lost one race. He managed to lose about 12 of them in one night."

This isn't the first point of tension between the two. Rove apologized to Akin in late August for blasting the embattled candidate at a private event.

"We should sink Todd Akin. If he's found mysteriously murdered, don't look for my whereabouts," Rove said at a private fundraiser, according to a Businessweek reporter who was not supposed to be there.

While Akin said in the recent interview he's enjoying life outside of the political sphere-"I had chance to change oil in cars, fix things around the house, see my grandchildren"–he didn't rule out a potential re-entry into politics.

"It's one of those things that depends on the circumstances really. I don't rule anything out," he said. "I consider it a bright new future and I'm interested to see what the possibilities are."


Filed under: Claire McCaskill • Karl Rove • Missouri • Senate • Todd Akin
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    What a misleading headline.... It should read....

    Akin expresses sorrow that he told how he really felt about rape and lost reelection.....

    April 26, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Unfortunately too many Republicans/Tea Partiers share Akin's misguided views. The push back against establishment moderates will hinder the rebranding of the Republican Party.

    April 26, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. Evergreen

    He still believes his rape comment is true. He just regrets he did not state it differently.

    April 26, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. scarf

    And the Tea Party's War on Knowledge continues....

    April 26, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Bill

    This guy is a creep. He meant every word and is only sorry he lost his cushy congressional seat. Good riddance loser.

    April 26, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    In a world where Weiner and Sanford can mount a comeback, anything is possible. However, if that's the case, than the world needs to change.

    April 26, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. much thunder..little rain

    stupid remark cost him the election ..give it to clairabell she is a real politicans ...never said she support same sex marriage or her vote on back ground cks...that would of sunk her.... ,but she kept quite till after the election.. yep a real politians who won and pull the wool over the show me state eyes..

    April 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. Data Driven

    Well, I'm sure he's remorseful that he lost the election, at least. Goobers like Akin don't change their cherished prejudices.

    April 26, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Tony

    I can never UNDERSTAND right wingers they say what they say and stood their ground, then months after they express remorse and expect a group hug Mr LIGITIMATE RAPE LOL...

    April 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. rs

    The problem is that Akin regrets making the comment, but not in holding this medicaly incorrect, ant-women philosophy- as does the GOP. The proof of this lies in the GOP's sorid fascination with over-regulating the female reproductive system (88 laws on birth control and abortion in the last 2 years alone at the state level), and place the rapit's rights to reproduce(and ultimately even achieve visitation and custody rights!) above that of the rape victim- and ultimately holding the women accountable (that whole "legitimate" part of their thinking).
    The GOP has this strange "pro-life" fixation that demands zero-tolerance on abortion-zygotes (no matter how violently they were conceived) have to be taken to term, but then the GOP will strangle public education, end medicaid for poor kids, allow them to be fodder for nut cases with AR-15s, and ultimately send them off on useless wars.
    People like Akin don't get it- this isn't Afghanistan, American women can't be 2nd class citizens for their fundamentalist, pro-life battles.

    April 26, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. HenryMiller

    It's this collection of self-righteous, bigoted, nuts that have ruined the Republican Party.

    April 26, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. MaryM

    So Akins still believes what he said, he just regrets saying what he believes. what an ignorant fool

    April 26, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. ghostriter

    rs, while those are great philosophical arguments, there's no real need to go that route.

    Abortion is legal and the endless attempts to legislatively dismantle something they don't agree with undermines their overstated belief in smaller government and not trying to legislate morality. Not to mention that abortion didn't cause the recession or will help create jobs.

    April 26, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    He's remorseful about losing the power and the perks.

    April 26, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. FHTEX

    While science is controversial on a lot of issues, it is clear on this one–rape can definitely make you pregnant to the same degree as normal intercourse. Conservative politicians who argue against overwhelming scientific fact (on this or any other matter) should get out of the way and let more responsible conservatives take the floor.

    April 26, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Some people think the best we can do is Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock – they're wrong. We need to do better if we hope to take over the United States Senate
    -------------------------------------------------
    Re-stated:
    "Some people think the best we can do is Todd Akin, Richard Mourdouck, Perry, Bachmann, Herman "Where're the White Women At?" Cain,Santorum, Gingrich, McCain, George W, Mitt Romney- they are right. We need to do better if we're going to take over the United States."

    FIFY

    April 26, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    his head is too big for his body...

    April 26, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. Dan I

    Seriously, Akin isn't remorseful or sorry abou the comment. He's sorry he MADE the comment because it revealed him for the uneducated misogynist that he is and he lost the election because of it.

    April 26, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. rs

    'Abortion is legal and the endless attempts to legislatively dismantle something they don't agree with undermines their overstated belief in smaller government and not trying to legislate morality. Not to mention that abortion didn't cause the recession or will help create jobs."
    _______________________
    Exactly so. It just further points out the strangeness of the now post-policy GOP.

    April 26, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. Tony

    I am curious as to why he said ligitimate rape, is it because he was born as a result of ligitimate rape? just asking

    April 26, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. stevetall

    Yeah, he's sorry he lost, but not sorry that he is a sorry boob.

    April 26, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. Pete

    Say good bye Akin because your collegues will be toast at midterms and you'll see what stupity can do even to politicians as bigotted,radical as you!!

    April 26, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ghostriter
    Not to mention that abortion didn't cause the recession or will help create jobs.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yeah, how about that?! lol!
    Ghostriter you're on fire today. I am enjoying ALL of your posts,per usual.
    And you're right, there IS humor in the irony, I'm just so weary of it I can no longer bring myself to laugh at their hate motivated stupidity.
    Keep up the good work.

    April 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. B

    akin lost the presidential election with that comment, not just the senate seat. Murdoch guaranteed it with his follow comment. I hate the social conservative part of the republican party. I would be a democrat because of social reasons, but could never because of their support for unions, high taxes, wasteful spending and dumb ideas like obamacare.

    April 26, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. Ralph_in_FL

    The basic Catch-22 situation in which the Republicans find themselves is that a candidate who conceals his misogyny will have more of a chance of willing the election, but one who conceals it too well will have less of a chance of winning the nomination.

    April 26, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
1 2 3 4 5