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RNC chairman: Romney 'led the charge' against Akin

"I think that it was pretty clear that Mitt Romney believes that everything that Todd Akin said was unbelievably at odds with rational thinking. He led the charge. Everyone followed suit. We all followed Mitt Romney's lead yesterday," said on MSNBC's "Jansing and Co."

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Priebus was defending Romney's reaction to Akin, after being repeatedly pressed on why the presidential contender had not asked for Akin to step aside.

"I think you saw complete and total unity on the Republican side of the aisle yesterday as to Todd Akin. That charge was led by Mitt Romney," Priebus said.

Party leaders and prominent conservatives turned against Akin after the Senate hopeful said in an interview with St. Louis-area station KTVI Sunday that he believed pregnancy from "legitimate rape" was rare because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." He has since apologized for his wording, as well as released a television ad asking for forgiveness.

The Romney campaign Sunday was quick to condemn Akin's remarks.

"Gov. Romney and Congressman [Paul] Ryan [(R-Wis.)] disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg in a statement.

However, an interview with New Hampshire radio station WMUR Monday, Romney said that Akin should take a day to reassess his bid.

The RNC chairman said that although the party establishment believes Akin should withdraw his Senate candidacy, the decision is ultimately "up to him."

"We think we have a better chance with someone else, obviously, and we have until about 5 o'clock central time for him to make that decision," he added.

Monday on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," Priebus called on the Missouri Senate candidate to drop out of the race and urged him to skip the GOP convention in Tampa next week.

"I would prefer that Todd Akin do the right thing for our party and our candidates, and I would prefer him not come," Priebus said on CNN.

Priebus also touted on MSNBC the Republican "pro-life" platform, when asked about exceptions in the case of rape of health of the mother.

"There are many people in our party that have those distinctions. I'll just tell you that we're proud of the fact that we're pro-life. I will tell you that Paul and Mitt are pro-life and so I think as far as the details of some of these like an exception for rape of the life of the mother, these are not uncommon differences that candidates have," he said.

The RNC chairman dismissed concerns that the anti-abortion Republican platform was widening the gender gap between the two major political parties.

"I don't really buy the fact that a pro-abortion stance means you're pro-women and I don't happen to believe that most women — in fact I believe most women are pro-life and I know that surveys bear that out, so in fact I think that the pro-life position is a positive with us, not a negative," he said.

The most recent poll gives Obama a 9-point lead over Romney with women. Obama has heavily courted female voters.

—Alexandra Jaffe contributed.

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