CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — Republican Rep. Todd Akin reaffirmed his commitment to his U.S. Senate campaign on Friday while re-emerging publicly in Missouri for the time since making inflammatory remarks about rape and pregnancy.
Akin held a brief, tightly controlled news conference in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield after returning from Tampa, where he had been meeting with leading conservatives as he seeks to revive his campaign against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. His staff limited reporters to five questions and, as he has done repeatedly in recent days, Akin again rejected calls from top Republicans to drop out of the race.
"Apparently there are some people who are having trouble understanding our message, and I'd like to be clear on that today," Akin said. "We're going to be here through the November election, and we're going to be here to win."
After winning the GOP primary in August, Akin had gained quick backing from national Republican and conservative groups focused on ousting McCaskill. But that support withered after Akin was asked in an interview that aired Sunday on a St. Louis television station whether his general opposition to abortion extended to women who have been raped.
"From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said of a woman becoming pregnant from rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Akin did not specifically address those remarks on Friday, nor was he asked about them. Instead, he sought to shift the attention back to his campaign against McCaskill.
During the past week, Akin apologized on national radio and TV shows while acknowledging his original remarks were wrong.