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. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    He wants to run again, perhaps for governor.
    Please tell me you're joking?!
    Let me understand this: you lose a race for the Senate, decisively, and so you decide to run for Governor, of the same state?!?
    You can't make these people up.

    April 26, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. TK

    It always amazes me when they say "I shouldn't have said it" or "I didn't mean it". I'm glad they did it because we get to see what they really think.

    April 26, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Katie

    I'm intrigued to know what "other way" he would have defended his concept of "legitimate" rape and pregnancy. If this is just a simple case of saying something the wrong way, how would he have said it the right way?

    April 26, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Jason B

    I can't believe, not hoe much hate from the left exists, but it's getting much worse every single day. Maybe you should direct your hate to Dr Gosnell for what he's done, all while being supported by the left.

    April 26, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. pbtad

    Notice he's only sorry he said it. He doesn't say it isn't what he still believes.

    April 26, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. No Way Again

    So, he might consider another run in politics? Well you know, a comment like what he made is so strong that it would forever make him look weak. He's toast as far as his political career is concerned. People will never forget. Period.

    April 26, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Rick

    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."

    Rape victims relive the trauma many more times than you do, "sir".

    April 26, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama:

    LOL! You hit the nail on the head on both your posts.

    April 26, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Peter

    " 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."

    "Grassroots" as in "dirt stupid".

    April 26, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Bocephus Moonshine

    I wonder if he would regret the comment if it hadn't cost him the election. I doubt it.

    April 26, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. ART

    Rethuglicans ,the gift that keeps on giving

    April 26, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. oussu

    I sincerely wish the Republicans/conservatives would examine their party and realize how implausible their policies and politics are from most Americans. As an independent, I would dearly like a viable alternative to the clowns in the Democratic Party, but you have high profile Republicans like Akin who are so scientifically inept that they probably confine all their vacations to the US to avoid falling off the edge of the world or still think a woman can't get pregnant if she's on top (which of course they would never permit because anything but missionary would offend the social conservative nuts).

    April 26, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. Punctus

    "We make mistakes, and we say things the wrong way."..... and what exactly is the right way to say a women's body can stop a pregnancy after a "real" rape? I would dearly like to hear that....

    April 26, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    @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
    He said legitimate because he just looked it up in the dictionary and thought it made him sound smart. There is neither illegitimate nor legitimate. Rape=Rape. "Mistaken" Akin was not born, he was hatched. Probably believes babies are delivered by a stork.

    April 26, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. rockysfan

    Sorry, dude, that is not a mistake. You just voiced what you clearly believe to be the truth. I pity you. How disgusting.

    April 26, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Ferret out the BS

    He says he didn't speak correctly but it all goes back to mindset, his social, moral views and his apparent subserviant view of women and they're place in society. The voters saw him for his beliefs and rejected them. The voters want the country to progress forward not backward. Please stay home and if you want to fix the country, do it over a cup of coffee with your buds not in the public arena. BTW hope you didn't just dump that old oil on the ground.

    April 26, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. rs

    I can't believe, not hoe much hate from the left exists, but it's getting much worse every single day.
    Oh, sure, we're the bad guys pointing out the GOP is headed down Taliban Lane to the 16th century- Ever think we might just be trying to save your sorry backsides by pointing that out? You guys want to get into bed with folks who want to treat women like cattle, call 47% of Americans as lost causes, take away voting rights, pass racist laws- great. That is your freedom. Don't be surprised if you guys never win an election ever again, or if the vast majority of Americans think you've lost your minds.
    Stupid is as stupid does.

    April 26, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Lisa

    He is not sorry for saying what he said, he is sorry for sayiing it out loud and being called on it. He is not the only one. All of them say and do things and when they get called out on it, THEN they are sorry. I love how silly people can be on both sides of politics. Democrats want to take care of everybody even though they know it is impossible to do it and republicans want everybody to "fend for themselves" even though they know it is impossible to do that to. Small government-big government. These politicians spend millions and millions on campaigns for jobs which pay maybe 3 or 4 hundred thousand a year. So we must ask ourselves, why, why do they do it? Because behind the scenes and closed doors, deals are being made that make these politicians double or triple the money they have spent on a campaign. You know its the truth and yet you still want to fight over who's in office, who won which race, ect...
    I for one have realized that these political thieves, do not, I repeat DO NOT care about you or your family or your friends or your church or anythiing, They only care about making it to office and making millions by wheeling and dealing behind the scenes.

    April 26, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. blue19

    There is a difference bewteen making a mistake, which this wasn't, as speaking your mind and then regretting it. While Akin may regret saying what he did, it doesn't change the fact he has no empathy for victims of rape; it's scary to think neandrathals like him are in office AND have the support of so many people.

    April 26, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Howard

    Hey, Aiken's just a good soldier in the republican war against women.

    April 26, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Chicago

    As a Republican, and with many friends that are Republican, I can say that politicians like Akin are a fading breed in the party. And no longer are we going to put up with "setups" by Democrats staging supposed Republican's in elections as well. The fact that many of you on this board seem to think poeple like Akin are mainstream by the party shows your ignorance. I suggest turning off MSNBC once and awhile. Yes, the party has it's turds just like Democrats do. Such is life.

    April 26, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Sarah

    As far as Todd Akin ever winning a legitimate election again, I think the public has ways of shutting that whole thing down.

    April 26, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Wake up People!


    Good one girl!!!

    April 26, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Rob in MO

    Akin was doing somethign politicians rarely do – being honest about what he believes. Of course what he believed was medical nonsense and political tyranny, and we Missourians clearly saw him as the extremist and tyrant that he is. Now he wants to "take it back," so not only is he an extremist, he's a hypocrite. He certainly fits into the GOP; it's all about packaging extremism.

    April 26, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. wut?!?

    If you're getting so old that you can't engage your brain before your mouth, I'd say that's a pretty good indicator that it's time to leave.

    April 26, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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