Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, joined many Republican leaders in pressing Rep. Todd Akin to end his Senate campaign in Missouri after he made inflammatory comments about rape.
"The issues facing our nation are bigger than one person. Todd Akin may be a sincere man, but what he said was insensitive and wrong," Hatch said in a statement. "For the good of the people of Missouri and the nation, I urge him to step aside today."
The firestorm started after Akin told a St. Louis TV station Sunday he doesn't think abortion is justified in cases of rape, saying: "First of all, from what I understand from doctors, it's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."
His comment was not only biologically inaccurate but politically explosive and the Republican party moved swiftly to isolate Akin, who at the time was seen as the front runner to win in Missouri, defeating Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, of which Hatch is the vice chairman, pulled $5 million in advertising and even GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has urged Akin to get out of the race today, making it easy for the party to replace him on the ballot.
Akin has apologized but says he's staying in the race, telling Mike Huckabee on his radio program there has been an "overreaction" to his comments.
-- Matt Canham
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