Akin expresses remorse over rape comment
April 26th, 2013
10:01 AM ET
5 years 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. tony

    Republicans make people sick. Literally – they have politicized and industrialized medical care in the US, to make it the 1st in high cost and the 35th in effectiveness in the whole world. What Jesus would call Bad Samaritans.

    April 26, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. 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 winning the election, but one who conceals it too well will have less of a chance of winning the nomination.

    April 26, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. DCBuck

    Essentially, Akin is sorry for getting caught. The GOP needs to purge the wacko Talibangelicals like Akin, Mourdock, Hucksterbee, Palin, Bachmann, and santorum to the wasteland where they belong. They are nothing more than CINOs who have twisted and warped the REAL message of conservatism (less government INSIDE, as well as outside peoples' homes) in their desire to create some kind of bizarre version of Biblical Sharia law.

    April 26, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. tony

    He's still got his lifetime pension and free superb medical care. I hope the fools who voted for him are enjoying doing nowhere near as well.

    April 26, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Larry

    He is a perect example of Republican thought. Maybe you don't agree with some Democrat but the alternative is truly frightening. To avoid a future "Aikin" you kow how to vote in 2014.

    April 26, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. yogi

    Akin said exactly what he meant, he just couldn't keep his mouth shut. Many in the GOP think alike and they are very wiling to share their ideology of intolerance privately.
    Trying to rebrand the GOP is is not going to work either. The solution that Karl Rove has is to put lipstick on the pig, this time a very expensive brand of lipstick. Their ignorance is scary.

    April 26, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Not always surprised

    What's mind boggling is that he was on the sub committee for SCIENCE, space and technology.

    April 26, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Steven CaboWabo

    He basically is indicating he is sorry he said what he did, but not that he was wrong in thinking the way he does. It is like a criminal saying he is sorry he got caught for stealing but still believes in stealing.

    April 26, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Clarke

    If he had any smarts at all, he would of never said such a thing. He has no remorse, because he doesn't have any respect for women. IMHO

    April 26, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. MTATL67

    I and many others are tired of GOP remorse. It is phony and insincere. If this party wants to prove to us that they have changed. Then show us with action not tearful apologies. I will believe this party has changed when they pass pro – anything legislation. So far the lack of action and reactionary comments by this party demonstrates they are on the path and well on their way to self termination. It is very clear that they will not win the next two election and by that time America will have changed so much the Republican party consigned to local or state positions and they will have no one to blame but themselves.

    April 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Kevin

    For a brief moment, I thought he would actually express remorse for BEING wrong.

    Then I remembered he's one of THOSE republicans, and he doesn't regret being insensitive, ignorant, and frankly offensive...

    He just regrets getting caught at it.

    April 26, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Hogan's Goat

    "But that is not reality." Yep, because in reality, rape's not some biological function. And when the GOP can do better than Akin and Rove, get back to us voters. Not before.

    April 26, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. TiredOfPaying

    Republicans STILL don't get it: Stay out of Social Issues if you ever wish to win another election. They claim to be the party of small government, but support the failed War on Drugs, insist on regulating birth control and keep trying to overturn Roe vs Wade. Quit trying to impose your Morality on the rest of us!

    April 26, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. ellid

    He still has no idea that telling an outrageous lie might, just MIGHT, offend people.

    What a self-righteous idiot.

    April 26, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Papaw Nick

    When I have heard comments made by "rappers" in the public it makes me wonder where society is going. The media and people find certain comments wrong for some but OK for others. Fire an anchor for a phrase but laugh at others that use it. I believe if a word is wrong then it is wrong for everyone, not just for some. I have heard other elected officials use expressions that if they used it near my wife or children I would bust their mouth. When I read many posts it seems most have lost the belief in freedom of expression even if you don't like what is said. They seem to think it is only for some people, not all.

    April 26, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. SDG

    This is what I teach my kids: Sorry doesn't make it better. Just cause this guy is 'sorry' doesn't mean he didn't mean it or still doesn't believe it.

    April 26, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    He apologized for the remark, but does he still believe that it's true? THAT'S the REAL issue. Anyone who feels that way is too stupid and bigoted to hold public office. Akin should retire from politics altogether, and start attending support classes for women who have been raped and impregnated to hear what they feel about his beliefs, since he did nothing if not enable rapists.

    April 26, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. dragonfire77

    Short version? Who cares. He's representative of every tea partier out there, so NO ONE CARES HOW HE FEELS! He obviously doesn't care about anyone else's opinion, so why should we care about his?

    April 26, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    No in their eagerness to demean, diminish and defame those who are tired of paying taxes to support the dope addicts, welfare frauds...
    ...located in RED STATES. You ARE aware, Lil' stuffit, that BLUE states put more in and take less out of the tax bucket than RED states. An inconvenient truth to you so-called Rethuglikkklans but a truth nonetheless.
    Meanwhile, I hope you have availed yourself of some form of healthcare insurance as it is apparent by your posts that you're well on your way to a massive coronary.
    Hate kills, in some cases just not fast enough.

    April 26, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    I'm trying to figure out why this Akin character is still getting headline billing...

    April 26, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. RAWoD

    It seems almost funny that while the GOP tries to "impose" their views on the rest of us, We the People have concluded that the GOP has no morality left. Vote them out of office and our lives.

    April 26, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Thomas

    "When you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar. You want to make sure you're still living in 2013,

    Todd Akin weighed in again on his controversial remarks about rape and pregnancy.

    April 26, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Linda

    He wants to run again, perhaps for governor. He wouldn't be doing this interview other wise to try and rehabilitate his image. I'm from his district and he was a very bad congressman, basically a seat warmer.

    April 26, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Ban All RePUKElicans

    All rePUKElicans should be banned. Outlawed. Driven from their homes and forced to live on big farms with their pig brothers and sisters. They are foul, evil, puke covered and useless.

    April 26, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    I'm trying to figure out why this Akin character is still getting headline billing...
    I would suspect that he wants to run...for what only God knows. He's done a great job of running away from the truth.

    April 26, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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