During that debate Republicans used every tactic at their disposal to get reluctant conservatives on board with the plan. Many buckled after repeated promises and threats — but not Akin.
Despite Bush's entreaties Akin held fast, explaining his concerns about the bill's cost.
"I'm sorry, Mr. President — it's a vote of conscience," he told Bush at the time.
A testy Bush shot back: "Are you saying I don't have a conscience?"
The two talked later that day as well, but to no avail.
He also rebuffed Hastert despite repeated pleas during the late-night, hours-long session.
Akin told The Hill at the time that the Speaker, "with almost tears in his eyes, said, 'Todd, I need your vote.' "
"Denny is like a brother to me," Akin said, "but I had to tell him no."
While ignoring party leaders to vote against a controversial program is not the same as a refusal to drop out of a race after a controversial comment, the incident displays Akin's unwillingness to bend to the will of party leaders — or even pleas from good friends. If he eventually decides to drop his Senate bid, the choice is unlikely to be because of outside pressures.