Todd Akin Asks For “Forgiveness,” Fundraises Off Of Vow To Stay In Race

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin has recorded a television commercial asking for forgiveness for his universally condemned comments about rape:

Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin has recorded a television ad asking for “forgiveness” from the voters of his state and acknowledging that he used “the wrong words in the wrong way” when he suggested last weekend that rape rarely leads to pregnancy.

The Republican congressman has come under heavy fire from national Republicans for his comments and has been urged by some to drop his candidacy before the no-penalty withdrawal deadline at 5 p.m. today. Akin has said he will move ahead with his bid against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and the spot is an indication that he plans to follow through.

The commercial, which was shared with POLITICO, shows Akin speaking directly to the camera and explaining that he has compassion for the victims of rape.

“Rape is an evil act. 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 says. “The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims.”

Akin continues: “The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”

Here’s the ad:

Meanwhile, Talking Points Memo is reporting that the same company that produced the ad is helping Akin with a drive to raise money off his vow to stay in the race:

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has launched an online fundraising drive pegged to his pledge not to leave the Missouri Senate race, despite mounting pressure from broad swathes of the Republican and conservative establishment urging him to step down.

A Democratic source sent these screen grabs showing Akin seeking small donations off of his pledge not to drop out of the race, less than 24 hours before his final deadline to do so in a way that would allow Republicans to easily replace him as their nominee against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).

The ads are appearing on Google and Facebook, according to copies obtained by TPM from a Democratic source.

Akin also sent out a fundraising email Monday night under the subject line “I’m in this to the end.”

“The people from Missouri who elected me know I’m not perfect. They don’t make perfect people. We all make mistakes. When you make a mistake you to tell people you’re sorry, you don’t try and hide it. I made a mistake and I’m sorry,” Akin says in the email. “I have just begun to fight and I’m in this race to the end!”

You can see the screen grabs over at TPM.

So, is this a sign that Akin is still determined to stay in the race? Possibly, it could also be an effort on his part to test the waters to see if there is still some base of support out there that he could rally to run some type of campaign. Indeed, at this time, there’s no confirmation that this ad will be running anywhere in Missouri today. As I write this, there are just a hair less than 11 hours left before Akin’s opportunity to withdraw from the race without penalty expires. I think you can count on the phone lines between Washington, New York, Tampa, and Missouri to be burning up all day.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. superdestroyer says:

    Once again, the Republicans demonstrate why they will not exist in the future. An idiot candidate who seems incapable of listening to his advisors or handling himself in the media decide to stay in a race that he now cannot win.

    I wonder how much will be written about irrelevant Republicans like Akin instead of focusing on issues.

  2. James Joyner says:

    As I understand it, Akin essentially had to drop out by 5 pm yesterday to give the party the right to tab a replacement. As much as I wish he’d have done so, I can hardly blame him for not deciding to end his career with so little time to see if he can repair the damage.

    I don’t know what the options are at this point. That is, if it becomes clear by, say, mid September that he’s toast, I don’t know what happens if he steps aside.

  3. Bill says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t know what the options are at this point. That is, if it becomes clear by, say, mid September that he’s toast, I don’t know what happens if he steps aside.

    Could Missouri having a Florida 16th like scenario from 2006 after Mark Foley resigned? Foley’s name was still on the ballot but he had been replaced by Joe Negron. People who wanted to vote for Negron had to cast their ballots for Foley.

    We all now well that worked for the Republicans.

  4. Vast Variety says:

    I have trouble believing that he used the wrong words. I truly think he believes what he said., that’s the troubling part.

  5. @James Joyner:

    The deadline is 5pm CT today.

  6. Dean says:

    Once again, the Republicans demonstrate why they will not exist in the future. An idiot candidate who seems incapable of listening to his advisors or handling himself in the media decide to stay in a race that he now cannot win.

    Because this never happens on the Democratic side.

  7. James Joyner says:

    It turns out I was off by a day: 5 pm today, not yesterday.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    @Dean:

    Give an example in the Democratic Party and you would have a point. Democrats have decided that changing the demographics of the U.S. is the easiest way to win more elections and give themselves more power.

  9. sam says:

    @Dean:

    Because this never happens on the Democratic side.

    Ah, the “But you guys…” trope. Boring. But you guys seem never to tire of using it. Reflective of a limited armamentarium.

    As for JJ’s question, “That is, if it becomes clear by, say, mid September that he’s toast, I don’t know what happens if he steps aside.” One thing I’ve heard is if he were to drop out after the deadline, he would liable for the reprinting of all the ballots carrying his name. Dunno what that would entail cost-wise, but it could be a chunk of change.

  10. Jen says:

    As strange as it seems to many people, it’s possible he still has a shot at winning this seat (as much as it pains me to say it). Missouri has been a solidly anti-abortion state for a long time. I haven’t been there for a while, but I do remember House races where Democrats and Republicans would actively try and out-pro-life one another.

    It’s this issue PLUS his other gaffes that is of concern to the party.

  11. Jeremy R says:

    @Vast Variety:

    I have trouble believing that he used the wrong words. I truly think he believes what he said., that’s the troubling part.

    I think you’re right, but even the clarifications aren’t doing Akin or the Ryan / Romney ticket any favors. Huckabee for example tried to help Akin reword his statement to “forcible rape” which obviously references the Bill cosponsored by Ryan and most House republicans.

    http://wonkette.com/481563/todd-akin-explains-legitimate-rape-to-mike-huckabee-with-wheelchairs-and-911

    Mike Huckabee had Akin on his show to handhold him through a damage control interview. About two minutes in, Huckabee asks Akin if he meant “forcible rape” rather than “legitimate rape,” which Akin flop-sweats into agreement with.

  12. Jan,

    The NRSC is walking away from him, the RNC has taken his name off the phone bank scripts that its volunteers in Missouri use when the make phone calls to voters, Crossroads GPS has pulled a million dollar ad buy from Missouri and said they will not be rescheduling it. If he stays in, he will be outspent and out organized, and he will cost his party a Senate seat, and quite possibly control of the Senate.

  13. Me Me Me says:

    All he has to do is claim that he met with his “pastor”, prayed on the matter, and received healing and consolation from God and the Republicans are stuck with him. In fact, that probably provides so much cover that some of that funding that has been yanked can start quietly creeping back in.

  14. Jen says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Please do not confuse me with Jan!

    I am aware of all of the activity surrounding pulling money. I’m not saying it will be easy, but voters have proven to have very short memories.

    Public Policy Polling still has him (barely) ahead of McCaskill. If he stays in the race, and stays within a point or two of her, he’s probably betting that the money will come back around.

    From PPP:

    Missouri voters strongly disagree with the comments Todd Akin made about abortion over the weekend, but it hasn’t moved the numbers a whole lot in the Senate race. Akin leads Claire McCaskill by a single point, 44-43. That’s basically identical to our last poll of the contest in late May, which found Akin ahead by a 45-44 spread.

    I would like nothing more than to see McCaskill win this race. But I think people are underestimating the core of the evangelical vote in Missouri–the same block of voters who overwhelmingly supported Rick Santorum have a way of really turning out the numbers at the polls when they feel one of their own is threatened.

  15. @Jen:

    My apologies!

    Two points about that PPP poll:

    1. It’s a flash poll conducted over only one night (PPP usually polls over three nights) and therefore not necessarily a good measure of what the impact of Akin’s idioicy is on the race.

    2. The poll seems to have overrsampled Republicans, which suggests the topline number is unreliable.

    3. Notwithstanding the oversample, Akin”s favorable/unfavorable numbers in that poll are atrocious, suggesting that he has nowhere else to go but down.

  16. I think we just saw this election cycle’s “I’m not a witch” ad. If a candidate actually has to release an ad clarifying that they’re not in favor of rape, they should probably just give up.

  17. ratufa says:

    Funders are going to publicly pull out now because it’s good PR and has a possible side effect of persuading him to withdraw from the race. If he stays in and has any chance of winning, expect money to quietly trickle back in. The stakes (a US Senate seat that could possibly determine which party has the majority) are too high to do otherwise.

  18. Ernieyeball says:

    “The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold.

    I do not believe this. But then I am not a Male Chauvinist Pig.

  19. sam says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    If he stays in, he will be outspent and out organized, and he will cost his party a Senate seat, and quite possibly control of the Senate.

    Not to mention the constant association of him with Ryan. That’s what’s giving GOP biggies the real willies.

  20. al-Ameda says:

    I really hope that he stays in the race.

    I also believe that if he stays in the race he will win. It seems likely to be that his opinion is shared by strong base Republicans in Missouri. McCaskill was down by 11% in the last polls I saw, and I have a hard time believing that Akin’s remarks offended enough Republican voters to eliminate that lead.

  21. al-Ameda says:

    @al-Ameda: sorry Doug, I didn’t see the PPP polling.

  22. CSK says:

    I’ve read that Akin can still drop out after five p.m. today, but if he does, he has to petition the court and pay to have the ballots reprinted.