Akin expresses remorse over rape comment
April 26th, 2013
10:01 AM ET
2 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. Deej59

    "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."

    That "grassroots element" is the extreme right, and they're not really any stronger or any more grassrootsy than the extreme left. Sometimes extremists get on the ballot, but America has ways of shutting that down. Like not voting for extremists and ignorant fools.

    April 26, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Mark

    This is the face of the Tea Party and Social Conservative movements. This is what they believe. Rape is something "loose women" bring on themselves. If they get raped, they deserve it. You see them on CNN comment pages all the time. They openly call for gays to be exterminated. They make fried chicken comments when African-Americans are mentioned. They despise Hispanics as invaders. They all really believe this, he was just dumb enough to say it. Tyranny and oppression. This is what they believe and what they want to impose on us all. A vote for ANY Republican is a vote for these kind of values.

    April 26, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Patrick

    CNN: his statement wasn't just lacking in scientific basis, it was an attempt to cast doubt on a large number of rape accusers. After all, if you were "legitimately" raped, why did you get pregnant?

    April 26, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. jeff morse

    MAN, had I not said what I beleive, I could continue to control how people live their personal lives without judging my actions. MAN WHAT A FOOL I AM for saying this out loud.

    April 26, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Dar

    Mark Said "This is the face of the Tea Party and Social Conservative movements. This is what they believe"

    Thanks so much for telling me what I believe in Mark! I was so confused and now I am not, all because of you.

    I now know for a fact that all Democrats LIE and turn people's minds into sheep. Just like their hero, Odumbo!

    Thanks for clearing that up for me Mark, you are brilliant my man! You really showed your rear end with that statement.

    April 26, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Laura

    He did not say something "the wrong way" or just make a "mistake." He was wrong, period. His remark revealed a truly disturbing lack of education, coupled with misogyny.

    April 26, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Patti in Dallas

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

    Um, Mr. Akin...what "thing" exactly were you trying to say?!? Do tell us the right way you should have said this "thing" you were trying to say. There was nothing "right" about anything you said. What, pray tell, would have been the "right" thing said "the right way" here?

    Honestly, I can discern not even a single tiny nugget of a thing in what you said that was "legitimate" except your overwhelming ignorance and stupidity about rape, about women, and about science.

    Clueless imbecile. He needs to stick to changing the oil in his car.

    April 26, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. gopfails

    >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.

    Wow whoever wrote sentence calls themselves a professional writer? If you have somebody as bad in English as me complaining you really failed. There is correctness and then there is composing sentences that are understandable.

    April 26, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. LINDA OPERLE

    As if this comment was all that lost Akin the race. Missouri pronounced Missourie not Missourah (and unfortunately I live here) is full of half-witted good ole boys who care about nothing but spreading their message of ignorance & intolerance. People like Akin go over well in the rural parts of the state but thankfully our cities: Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia are solidly Blue. The bad news those rural rabbits breed their little hoosiers at an alarming pace and give those of us in the cities a bad name.

    April 26, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. rosethornne

    Too late, ignorant twit.

    April 26, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. tet1953

    I can think of a lot of other GOP who could use the oil changed in their cars.

    April 26, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. ally buster

    Nobody cares what Akins thinks.

    What matters is what the VOTERS think, and they sent him and the rest of the social conservatives a CLEAR MESSAGE last November!

    April 26, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. PCSkiGirl

    I don't live in Missouri anymore, I generally vote conservative, but I never vote a straight party ticket. Would definitely NOT vote for Akin. I daresay the only reason he received 39% of the vote is due to people hitting that straight party ticket button! I don't care what part of Missouri you're from, rural or city, as a woman you know you can get knocked up if you are raped and there is no protection involved. And that isn't the only thing that could happen if you're raped. You could get a disease that may kill you or destroy your body. Can't stop that either if you're "legitimately" raped. He's a moron.

    April 26, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Pandamonius

    Can we let him go back into obscurity now?

    April 26, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. Larry in Houston

    Oh Brother !! This guy again !! LOL – he needs to hook up with that guy in Minnesota congressman – who got caught in the airport bathroom, and maybe Anthony weiner can give them some advice.

    April 26, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Grinning Libber

    Only a matter of time before he puts his foot in it again. They can't help themselves.

    April 26, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. TexasCentrist

    The new GOP strategy will be to not say what you really think or you'll wind up looking stupid.

    April 26, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Larry in Houston

    @ Linda Operle – ""As if this comment was all that lost Akin the race. Missouri pronounced Missourie not Missourah (and unfortunately I live here) is full of half-witted good ole boys who care about nothing but spreading their message of ignorance & intolerance. People like Akin go over well in the rural parts of the state but thankfully our cities: Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia are solidly Blue. The bad news those rural rabbits breed their little hoosiers at an alarming pace and give those of us in the cities a bad name""

    Your story sort of sounds like Texas – The only Blue areas are Houston / San Antonio / Austin, as for the rest of the state, it's mostly rural, other than a few cities the population does not compare to the 3 I just mentioned.

    April 26, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. tony

    I always thought the second amendment was intended to allow honestUS citizens to remove the treasonous puppets of "international" mega corporation that don't pay their fair share of US taxes, but get corporate welfare and massive military back-up for their pillaging of the less developed countries.

    April 26, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. nemo0037

    He paid a price for saying something that society found offensive. Has he learned his lesson? Kinda sounds like he didn't. Like the rest of the GOP, he thinks he lost because he didn't communicate well enough. Until he realizes that he communicated TOO clearly for his own good, he can't make any progress.

    April 26, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. lobo joe

    Remorse, he's just stating something he believes; why begrudge this ignorant fool for stating the truth- at least as he sees the truth. I can seee him doing a comedy gig in Branson-to a largely empty theater.

    April 26, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. kite005

    That one comment will probably follow him around long enough to prevent advancing in his political career.

    April 26, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. cp

    Mr. Akin made the unfortunate remarks that derailed his candidacy. He needed to apologize quickly but he chose not to do so. He is just one more man who believes that he can tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her own body. His remarks were demeaning yet I really believe he meant what he said. Somewhere along the line he never learned about the human anatomy.

    Karl Rove should be taken out of the political equation after he failed to get Republicans elected. He is no longer relevant and the GOP really needs to move forward. They need to have some new leaders who can get the people to support their ideas. Right now many of the ideas are so far from center that people cannot join tlheir team.

    April 26, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Matte

    To bad it could not have happened to that looser earlier in the election. Just another poor example of the Republican party. Down the hill we go never to regain anything in America again. The new motto for the Repubs. Lets see how far right we can go and never get elected again.

    April 27, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
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