Former Missouri congressman and Senate candidate Todd Akin on Thursday said "legitimate rape" is a law enforcement term. 

The Republican continued to say he used a poor choice of words when using the term two years ago in an interview that helped sink his Senate campaign. But he said on MSNBC that it has been distorted by his opponents. 


"Legitimate rape is a law enforcement term and it is an abbreviation for legitimate case of rape," he said. "Do you know anybody who thinks that rape is legitimate? That doesn't even make sense. I know no conservatives who think rape is legitimate."

When pressed by host Chuck Todd on "The Daily Rundown" as to why he would use the phrase in the first place, he again said, "I should have said legitimate case of rape. And I have acknowledged that it is a poor choice of words."

"Before any of the facts are in, [law enforcement] call it a legitimate case of rape," Akin explained. "That is what they call it. But they use the word just, 'legitimate rape.' But the thing that strikes me as odd is this is something that was intentionally misunderstood and twisted for political purposes."

During his 2012 campaign against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Akin caused a political firestorm when asked whether abortion should be allowed in any circumstances, including in cases were the mother is raped. 

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said at the time. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."

At the time, Akin's words were nearly universally condemned and used by Democrats in an attempt to brand the Republican Party. 

Akin reemerged recently to give a series of interviews while promoting his new book: Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect our Faith and Freedom.