The Republican Senate candidate from Missouri on Monday said he had made "serious mistakes" by claiming that women could not get pregnant from "legitimate rape."
In his first interview since telling KTVI-TV that "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Todd Akin expressed his regret to conservative radio host Mike Huckabee.
"I've really made a couple of serious mistakes here that were just wrong and I need to apologize for those," the GOP candidate explained. "I made that statement in error. Let me be clear, a rape is never legitimate. It's an evil act, and it's committed by violent predators. I used the wrong words in the wrong way. What I said was ill-conceived and it was wrong, and for that, I apologize."
"I also know that people do become pregnant from rape," he continued. "I didn't mean to imply that that wasn't the case. It does happen, and it's also terrible, particularly the most terrible of all."
Huckabee pressed Akin on what he meant by the term "legitimate rape."
"I was talking about forcible rape," Akin said. "It was absolutely the wrong word. ... I've known people who have been raped. I don't know any who have been raped and it turned out to end in pregnancy, but I know that happens too."
"It's a shame, but this has caused such a distraction to your campaign," Huckabee said. "Is it fatal? I mean there are people today, congressman, saying you need to drop out of the race."
"I don't know that I'm the only person in public office that's suffered from foot-in-mouth disease," Akin argued. "I feel just as strongly as ever that my background and ability will be a big asset in replacing Claire McCaskill and putting some sanity back in what's going on in our government."
"The good people of Missouri nominated me and I'm not a quitter," he added. "My belief is that we are going to take this thing forward and by the grace of God, we're going to win this race."
Akin pointed out that no one from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign or any other Republican official had personally called and asked him to quit the race.
"Nobody wants to own your mistake ... and that why I'm apologizing," he said. "On the other hand, there are certain basic principles that we believe in and that I'm just completely committed to. And that is the fact that people and that life are tremendously valuable. That's what has made America such a unique country, it's because we believe that life is something that comes from our creator, we're made in His image, and all across America you see Americans that have a respect for life."
"I remember in Sept. 11th, there were rescue workers running into the buildings that were about to collapse. They grabbed somebody in a wheelchair, pick them up, they don't check their ID to see whether they're important or not. They just take them to safety and run back for more," Akin pointed out.
"That's the very special thing about our country. And that's what we have at risk right now, and we have to defend that."