August 20th, 2012
07:54 PM ET
10 years ago

GOP chair: Akin should drop out, skip convention

(CNN) - The Republican National Committee chairman called on Rep. Todd Akin Monday to exit the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, even urging the congressman not to attend the party's convention next week in Tampa.

"I would prefer that Todd Akin do the right thing for our party and our candidates, and I would prefer him not come," Reince Priebus said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

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Akin, a Missouri Republican, has faced severe backlash from both Republicans and Democrats since making a controversial comment Sunday regarding rape and pregnancy. The six-term congressman, who recently became the GOP challenger against incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, said in a television interview that a woman's body is capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."

Following an uproar over his remark, he apologized in a radio interview on Monday, saying he meant to say "forcible rape" and acknowledged that women "do become pregnant" during such instances.

But Akin insisted he would continue to pursue his Senate bid. Later on Twitter, he vowed to stay in the race and called on supporters to donate to his campaign.

Priebus, however, joined a chorus of Republicans urging Akin to drop out of the running.

"If it was me, and I wouldn't say anything that dumb as he has, but if it was me, and I had an opportunity to let someone else run to actually give ourselves a better chance of winning, I would step aside," Priebus said.

According to Missouri election law, Akin has until Tuesday evening to drop out of the race with little difficulty. He can choose to withdraw at a later date, but such an exit would require more paperwork and involve a court order. It would also give Republicans less time to build a campaign for the new nominee against McCaskill, a Democrat the GOP deems vulnerable in this year's election.

Referring to Akin's statement as "biologically stupid" and "bizarre," Priebus on Monday said he's "hopeful" the congressman hears the numerous calls for his departure from the race.

"This is not mainstream talk that he's referring to and his descriptions of whatever an illegitimate rape is. We're hoping he hears these things," Priebus said.

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Maribeth DeRocher

    Agree, absolutely. Akin must drop out of the race immediately. If a politician
    can not think before he speaks on such an important matter, then he has no
    business being in the United States Senate. His staying in will damage his
    party in a very big way.

    August 20, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. Michael

    As a Republican leader in the house Mr. Ryan worked with Mr. Akin to try and pass laws that would ban ALL abortions in cases of rape. In one of the Republican planks being put forward in the upcoming convention they are proposing the same thing. My question is how any woman in America outside of those so totally indoctrinated by the Tea Party could vote for these bigoted men? Do you really want them dictating to you what you or can't do with your own body?

    August 20, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  3. Robert

    If only his first name was Richard!

    August 20, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  4. Orwell sees it, again & again

    Save America, outlaw the Republican party of sociopaths.

    August 20, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. enuff

    In other words, Akins released the republican platform before the convention so they have to make him shut up and call him names. It would be interesting if Akins decided to let a few more "secrets" slip.

    August 21, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  6. Chuck

    As a Democrat, I sincerely hope Rep. Akin shows up to the GOP convention.

    August 21, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  7. Howell Nkosi

    Priebus and his party do not fundamentally disagree with Akin. They are only distancing from him for PR reasons. There is no daylight between Akin and Paul Ryan on a woman's right to chose to end a pregnancy, even in the event of rape. A bill Akin and Ryan cosponsored used language such a "forcible rape" in making an acception to the law. This is essentially the same language Akin used in his ill-fated interview.

    August 21, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  8. Frank

    But Reince, Paul ryan thinks the same things that akin dose. That's not news! Both Ryan and Congressman Todd Akin believes in forceable rape. I say Rape is Rape,!!

    August 21, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  9. Wayne

    Don't be fooled. There are plenty more republicans just as extreme as Akin. They are just biding their time.

    August 21, 2012 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  10. jean simpson

    thank you Mr. Aiken for giving voice to the belief of the Republican party on this issue. The extreme right wing took power in '10 using big money and we are uncovering the lies. cjsim

    August 21, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  11. HeartlandLiberal

    Why in the world should Akin quit? He accurately represented the beliefs and voting preferences of the vast, overwhelming majority of the Republican Party base and its current elected representatives. Why should he resign for saying what many of them believe? They have been doing everything in their power to make abortion totally illegal, they have now declared that they do not believe in birth control. They have implemented laws to destroy availability of health care for women, especially the poor, every chance they get. They clearly believe that a woman's place is barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen, and if they could have their way, without even the right to vote. More than one GOP leader has been quoted recently on their belief that women are just to ignorant and unstable to be trusted with voting.

    August 21, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  12. Tim

    How bizarre. The Republicans are crazy about Akins not because of what he thinks about rape and abortion, but that he "spoke" it.
    They want to hide their poisonous agenda form everyone. Think whatever you want but, for God's sake, don't say it out loud!

    August 21, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  13. Mark D. Moss

    I'm unclear why or how removing Akin from either the MO senate race or the convention solves any actual issue. It's not that he holds an outlier position for much of the Republican party, only that he expressed it in a manner that shows how offensive the underlying position actually is. At it's core, his position is not only being widely embraced in the party, as demonstrated by the announcement about the platform, "forceable rape" legislation being pushed, and attempts at the disgusting "life at or before conception" tries. Further, these views match - exactly - those pushed for by the party's VP candidate, who was co-sponsor of several pieces of this anti-woman bills *with* Akin, a *currently* sitting congressman.

    August 21, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  14. sara

    The Republican calls for Akin to drop out of the race. Laughable. KARL Rove? The Bush "frontman for 8 years" who trampled on Valarie Plane, who gave us 2 unjustified Wars , racheted up Deficits that continues to grow and grow 10 years later...Bush TaxCuts? The republican party's problems are not just Akins, but Ryan and his co-sponsoring anti-women bills, votes, "for stimulus, before he was against it".....his budget which is now Willard's....the objection to the "Grand Bargain" and part of a congress that sat by and allowed our country's credit rating to be dropped for the sake of political gamesmanship. No job bill or supporting the America's Job Act....Ryan and Akin and as far as I'm concerned the republican party has the same "morality" problem. "Switch and Bait" is old news for Americans and we don't like "Switch and Bait" political stances.

    August 21, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  15. twm

    A fine suggestion from Mr Priebus. Do you suppose he could take Mr Romney and Ryan with him?

    August 21, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  16. Suzanne

    Remember, folks: Birds of a feather STILL flock together. Akin is only on the "hot seat" because he actually voiced the true beliefs of the GOPTP. Is that what we really want?

    August 21, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. Dan

    If the gop chair is going to ask every nutty person that they are running for office not to attend the convention, they could hold it in Mitts garage. After this nut job makes his rape claims the gop reports that their position on rape is the same as Akin's with different wording, they are not upset with his meaning, just the words he used.

    August 21, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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