Rather than abiding by the wishes of his party and leaving the Senate race, Rep. Todd Akin is asking Missourians to forgive his inappropriate comments.
The Senate hopeful is releasing a new ad in which he speaks to the camera, corrects his past statement that victims of “legitimate rape” do not become pregnant, and asks for a second chance.
“Rape is an evil act,” Akin says in the ad. “I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize. 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 continues, correcting his remark from Sunday: “The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy… The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”
Rather than stepping aside on Monday as his party leaders hoped, Akin began to devise a media strategy for how to stay in the race. On Monday night, TPM reported that Akin had launched an online fundraising drive pegged to his decision to stay in the race and that he had gone to Ohio to meet with conservative media man Rex Elsass, whose firm, the Strategy Group for Media, produced the forgiveness ad. The firm had helped Akin come from behind to win the Missouri Senate primary earlier this month.
Since Missouri is a red-leaning state where Akin previously held an edge over Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the polls, it’s not inconceivable that Akin could recover and go on to win the seat. A snap poll Monday night from Public Policy Polling actually showed Akin holding his lead over McCaskill with little movement in the polls, 44 percent to 43 percent.
What will prove more difficult is winning back the support of the GOP establishment. If Akin stays in the race, it will be with the support of the Christian right, who stood by during the fallout Monday, but likely without his party’s infrastructure behind him.
The ad was first reported by Politico.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.