THE US REPUBLICAN presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said that the congressman at the centre of a controversy following comments he made about rape should drop out of his senate race.
Republican congressman Todd Akin is currently running fro the US senate seat in Missouri but has come under pressure after he claimed that womens’ bodies could prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape”.
Akin’s comments, for which he has apologised and asked for forgiveness for, have drawn widespread criticism including from President Barack Obama who said the remarks were “offensive”.
In the latest development Romney, the most senior member of Akin’s party who had earlier condemned the comments, has now called for the candidate to exit the senate race in which he had been favourite to unseat the Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill.
“As I said yesterday, Todd Akin’s comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country,” Romney said in a statement yesterday.
“Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.”
Politico reports that Romney’s reference to “fellow Missourians” includes a number of former senators from the state including Roy Blunt, Jim Talent, Kit Bond and John Danforth who have encouraged Akin to drop out.
Already the Republican party have withdrawn political and financial support from Akin’s race which polls indicated he could win in November.
BBC News reports that Akin took to conservative radio host Mike Huckabee’s programme to say that he was staying in the race.
He reportedly described the response to his comments as a “little bit of an over-reaction” adding that he had mistaken “one word in one sentence on one day”.
In a series of tweets sent out overnight, Akin criticised what he called the “liberal elite” saying in one tweet: “A lot of negativity has been driven my way by the liberal elite. Makes me even more thankful for your support #stillstanding.”
In a video released yesterday, Akin said: “The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”