GOP Congressman Todd Akin will stay in Missouri's U.S. Senate race despite calls by top Republicans, including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, to drop out. Those demands were made in August after Akins declared that he was opposed to abortion in the case of rape because "From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."
The deadline for candidates to remove their names from the Missouri ballot ended yesterday, the same day that Akin — who believes that his political campaign is a mission from God — began a statewide bus tour called "The Common Sense Bus Tour."
Joining this bus tour are religious right activists Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle Forum), Dick Bott (Founder of Bott Radio Network), Rich Bott (President of Bott Radio Network), Don Hinkle (Editor of "The Pathway" and Director of Public Policy Missouri Baptist Convention), Bev Ehlen (Missouri President, Concerned Women for America), Pastor David Smith and Buddy Smith (Executive Director, American Family Association). The People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch has compiled a list of some of the religious extremism voiced by these supporters. Former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who also believes that victims impregnated by rape or incest should be forced to go through with the pregnancy, threw in his support for Akin and raised money for his campaign in St. Louis. Former Arkanas Governor Mike Huckabee has also endorsed Akin.
With a crowd of religious right activists like Schlafly, Bob McEwen and David Barton standing behind him, Akins held a press conference that was occasionally sprinkled with calls of "Amen" to his words. "About 16 months or so ago, I was one of eight people that put my hat — my name out to run on the Republican Party, the State of Missouri. And we all ran in the election. At the end of that time in August, I was given a trust — a trust to replace a senator that had not represented Missouri or our best interests," he said. "Now over the period of the last number of weeks a number of people have asked me, are you quitting or are you dropping out? There's other people that want to replace you with someone else. I don't believe that that is really my decision. The decision was made by the voters of the State of Missouri."
Akin supporter Roger Moran told the Associated Press that Akin is a man of "impeccable character, impeccable integrity" and that "you can count on him for what he believes will dictate about how he is going to vote." In Moran's mind, Akin upholds the Constitutional views of the Founding Fathers and that his views are similar to the vast amount of Missouri voters.
Demonstrators marched nearby, chanting "Akin is wrong for women, wrong for Missouri, wrong for retirees." Akin is opposed to Social Security and believes that it should be privatized.
One of the demonstrators, Sharon Hoffman, told the Associated Press, "I'm here to tell Todd Akin that I don't think his ten minutes of fame was a misspeak." She was apparently referring to the "legitimate rape" comment. "I think he knew exactly what he was saying and I think this is his belief, and this is of deep concern to me."
Akin and GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan co-sponsored a "no taxpayer for abortion act" in 2011 that would have eliminated the exception of rape but allowed an exception for "forcible rape."
Gingrich thinks that Romney will change his opposition to Akin's campaign. In supporting Akin's candidacy, Gingrich remarked, "My expectation would be that in the crunch, in October, Governor Romney is going to be for the entire ticket and he's going to be for Todd Akin." Watch: