The calls for Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race have grown louder throughout the day, and are now coming from not just pundits and strategists but high-profile GOP senators like Massachusetts’s Scott Brown and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson. Mitt Romney, for his part, has said that Akin’s abortion remarks were “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” but he won’t call on Akin to withdraw from the race. But on Mike Huckabee’s radio show just now, Akin said he was soldiering on. “The good people of Missouri nominated me, and I’m not a quitter,” he said.
Akin apologized at least three or four times during the interview, and never tried to explain his remarks or frame them in a more forgiving light. “I really made a couple of serious mistakes here that were just wrong and I need to apologize for those,” he said.
Mistake number one: Akin had made a reference to legitimate rapes. “It was absolutely the wrong word,” he told Huckabee. He had meant to say “forcible rapes.”
Mistake number two: What about the idea that women don’t get pregnant from rape thanks to some kind of biological defense system, making an abortion exception for cases of rape unnecessary? This is very clearly not true. One study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that over 32,000 pregnancies result from rape every year in the United States.
Akin acknowledged that, yes, this is possible. “I also know that people do become pregnant from rape,” he said. “It does happen.” Aside from admitting his error, though, Akin could not explain — or at least did not attempt to explain — why he said such a thing in the first place.
Mea culpa notwithstanding, it’s clear that this issue won’t go away as quickly as Akin or the GOP would hope. Just after the interview, coincidentally, President Obama stepped into the daily White House press briefing to take questions from reporters for the first time in eight weeks. He didn’t need to wait long for a question on Akin. This is “why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, the majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on the part of women,” Obama said. The war on women — or more accurately, the war for womens’ votes — is back on.
Update: Lots of buzz right now about Akin dropping out:
Update II: But Akin doesn’t sound like someone making preparations to leave the race:
Update III: Akin also made an appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio show this afternoon, much of which involved Hannity trying very hard to convince Akin to drop out.
Update IV: RNC chairman Reince Priebus is just saying that if he had said something that stupid, he would “step aside.”
Update V: Cindy McCain agrees with Obama on this one: