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. Jay

    The fool never knows when to just shut up...thank God. His mouth helped us retain The White House, and The Senate, and oust 11 Repugnicans from The House in 2012. Between now and election 2014, it will serve the DNC again, in major ways. He is doing it now. Notice...he did not say the wrong thing, or believe the wrong thing...he just expressed it the wrong way. Yeah, GOP...listen to Rove. he was the one who told you that Romney had already won on Election Night...so he knows what he is talking about. No rape is legitimate. All rapes are illegitimate, though the majority of the GOP still doesn't believe that. According to the GOP, husbands can legitimately rape wives, employers can legitimately rape employees, whites can legitimately rape blacks, Priests can legitimately rape altar boys, and Boy Scout Troop Leaders an legitimately rape young scouts...as long as no one finds out about it.

    April 26, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Larry L

    He was sorry for what the comment cost him – not for the stupidity of the comment. Just like Romney's 47% comment – he still believes the ridiculous statement but just hated for people to discover his true beliefs.

    April 26, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. twoomy

    If a politician experiences a real political blunder and says something completely stupid and non-factual, his body should have a way to shut that down.

    April 26, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Margaret

    I suspect he heard from more than a few "legitimate" rape victims. He has heard about it too much, the women who have been raped live with it every day.

    April 26, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. KLL

    He meant what he said and said what he meant. He didn't make any mistakes in what he said, he's just trying to backpedal. He should have been outsted, which he was, all done by his stupidity and own mouth. Shame on you Akin. I can't even put "Mr." next to his name. He is a very sick individual.

    April 26, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Howard's Daddy

    When all he is being sorry for is 'saying things the wrong way' when what he said is exactly what he thinks then he's not really sorry about anything other than for being caught.

    April 26, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. QS

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

    The problem at the heart of all conservatives isn't that they say things the wrong way....it's that they say EXACTLY what the mean and then try to pretend they simply 'said it the wrong way'.

    The country is waking up to what conservatism is all about, and the time can't come soon enough that we shut that whole thing down!

    April 26, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. NKBL

    What's worse is Akin actually believes what he says about the female body. Hey old man, how about taking a human anatomy course at your local community college and broadening your knowledge.

    April 26, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. The Other Bob


    ...And no longer are we going to put up with "setups" by Democrats staging supposed Republican's in elections as well... _________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Um, the Democrats don't choose who runs on the Republican line last I checked.

    April 26, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Organic1

    Akin's statements are as valid as believing he has a functioning brain.

    April 26, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Hugh Jass

    " no longer are we going to put up with "setups" by Democrats staging supposed Republican's in elections " You guys are really going delusional these days. You really think Akin was always a plant by the Democrats? Same as Romney and Rick Perry and Herman "Insane" Cain? Same as Bachmann and Palin and Cheney and Condi? We admit it; they were all actors. It was a funny joke, wasn't it? Even John McCain is in on it; you didn't really think he was senile, did you? All an act.

    April 26, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Jason

    What Akin is really saying, which no news outlet really touches on, is that in order for a woman to get pregnant during rape she has to be enjoying herself. And if she's enjoying herself it's not legitimate rape. It's a rapists perspective.

    April 26, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Hamburger Jones

    Whatever. The GOP has failed America. Put it out to pasture and get a new conservative party going.

    April 26, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. FloridaRes

    I left the GOP in 1991 because the party that said govt should stay out of our families' lives, that party started dictating "family values" in campaigning. The shift to let the right wing evangelical religious control the party, the goals and the message was a turning point for me. I am a woman with 3 daughters and I will not have the govt dictating what they do with their bodies. The GOP had some very intelligent and able pols back until 1992 and I don't know where they have gone. Instead we are left with stupidity in the ranks of the GOP – Palin, Bachmann, Akin, etc. Not to mention the dogmatic stupidity; are we back in the middle ages denying science?

    April 26, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Jim Hahn

    When people like Akin say things like they do, they say how they really feel, instead of what people want to hear from them. I'd rather cast my vote based on how people really feel, instead of how I think they feel about an issue.

    April 26, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. motorfirebox

    I'm curious to know what is the "right" way to say that women can't get pregnant from rape.

    April 26, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Incredulous45

    "We make mistakes, and we say things the wrong way." Lame excuse.

    April 26, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. laguna_greg

    If he admits to using Viagra, and agrees to stop using it to be in solidarity with rape victims everywhere, I might not throw mud on him when I drive by.


    April 26, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. JD

    He says he said it the wrong way. What exactly would have been the right way. A legitimate rape? And what"ways" does the female body have of shutting it down? Akin is certainly not a biologist, that's for sure.

    April 26, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. Robyn

    Mr. Rove is attempting to recruit extremists who are smart enough to Lie about
    everything they believe until they can get into office and implement their tyranny.

    April 26, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. GaryB

    I think a big part of the problem is that his was the first in a long line of statements by Republicans that seemed to be coming out strongly in favor of reproductive rights for rapists at the expense of the women they raped. Now, I know that his defenders would say that he was simply being firm in his belief that human life begins at conception. The problem is, there are a lot of Americans who feel that a fertilized egg or even a four-week-old fetus is not equivalent to a human baby.

    April 26, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Tony

    @chicago turn off msnbc.
    And listen to who? rush,hannity,sarah palin,oriely. You got to be kidding me these guys are mainstream republicans you clowns voted 25 of them in the 2010 elections is this buyers remorse or what republicans act before they think.

    April 26, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Hamburger Jones

    "right wing evangelical religious control the party, the goals and the message was a turning point for me. I am a woman with 3 daughters"
    Why do they keep trying to equate fiscal conservatism and social conservatism? Efficient use of money is not the same as having a 1955 haircut. Money-market trading is nothing like being Amish. Stock market trading isn't like being afraid of black folks. I could go on and on. Plenty of long-haired freaks own stocks, and plenty of social conservatives cheat on their wives and get caught in airport bathroom stalls.

    April 26, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Boomer in Mo

    Mostly St. Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefield did not want is puppet to step down. All of Rex's money was wasted. But, he still sent so much money to Ted Cruise that it violated Texas law and Ted had to send some of it back. Now Rex is spending his days running the Missouri Legislature. Many of them are nutcases as well.

    April 26, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. William

    Sir, there is a difference between saying something the wrong way and saying something that is wrong. What you said was WRONG. I hope you one day see the difference.

    April 26, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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