In the face of mounting pressure from his own team — including, but definitely not limited to Scott Brown, Sean Hannity, and the National Review — Republican Congressman Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Although Akin faces a deadline Tuesday evening to be replaced in his Senate race against Claire McCaskill, the Missouri politician is instead continuing yesterday’s repentance campaign with a new video ad entitled “Forgiveness.” In the clip, Akin reiterates his stark regret: “Rape is an evil act,” he says. “I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize.” According to a poll last night, he might just get away with it.
Akin has faced the wrath of the political world since Sunday when he was asked about rape resulting in pregnancy and stated, “It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” adding, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” He’s changed his tune, to say the least: “As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them,” Akin says in the ad. “The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”
A new PPP poll found Akin somehow holding on to a lead against McCaskill by a margin 44-43. Despite 79 percent of voters surveyed disagreeing with his statements, early indications are that even the 64 percent of Republicans that found the comments inappropriate aren’t going to just up and vote for a Democrat. Akin may have squandered his advantage, which had previously reached eleven points in one poll, but he’s not dead yet.
He is going to have to cling to the ledge for a bit longer: Another poll found that a marjority of Akin’s constituents believe he should drop out, while both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Karl Rove’s super-PAC have said they’re pulling their money from the race. However, if Akin hangs on in the polls, and the national outrage dies down, his backers might just come crawling back to what was once a very winnable race.
If not, Akin could always drop the somber tone and try The Onion apology route: “I am a worthless, moronic sack of shit and an utterly irredeemable human being who needs to shut up and go away forever.”