GOP senators urge Akin exit for 'offensive, outrageous' comments

Republican calls for Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) to drop out of the Missouri Senate race grew Tuesday, with several senators issuing calls for his exit. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a campaign surrogate for Mitt Romney, was the latest to publicly ask him to “step aside.” 

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Romney had called Akin’s comments "insulting, inexcusable and, frankly, wrong” on Monday but did not call for him to drop out of the race until later in the afternoon.

Ayotte tweeted that Akin’s “comments are totally offensive” and said she agrees with National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRCC) Chairman John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) recommendation that Akin rethink his bid for the Missouri Senate seat. Cornyn has reportedly suggested that the NRSC might not help fund Akin if he remains in the race.

Akin has so far resisted calls to step down. But Ayotte was not the only Republican senator calling for him to drop out of the race on Tuesday. Sens. Richard Burr (S.C.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) also tweeted, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) posted on her Facebook page.


"I urge the congressman to reconsider whether his continued candidacy for the U.S. Senate is in the best interest of his constituents," Hutchison wrote.

Akin caused a firestorm Sunday when he told a local Missouri TV station that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy for victims because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Democrats have sought to tie Akin’s comment to the Republican presidential ticket.

"Although these particular comments have led Gov. Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their healthcare decisions — or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape — I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party," President Obama said Monday.

—Updated at 4:46 p.m.