Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) (File Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)
ST. LOUIS -- GOP Rep. Todd Akin apologized today for comments he made regarding rape and vowed he will stay in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri.
"I made that statement in error. Rape is never legitimate. It is an evil act," Akin told former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in a radio interview. "I used the wrong words in the wrong way."
Akin continued: "I don't know if I'm the only person in public office that suffered from foot-in-mouth disease. ... I'm not a quitter." He later told talk show host Sean Hannity that he was staying in the race.
President Obama denounced Akin's views as "offensive," and the remarks by the six-term congressman were widely condemned by Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney. At least two prominent Republicans called on Akin to give up the Senate race.
In an interview Sunday, Akin told KTVI-TV in St. Louis that a woman's body could prevent pregnancy in the case of a "legitimate rape." The congressman later said he "misspoke."
Here's what Akin said Sunday in response to a question on whether he supports abortion in cases of rape:
It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
Akin is running against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in a Senate race that could help determine which party controls the chamber.
GOP Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Scott Brown of Massachusetts called on Akin to step down as the party's Senate nominee in Missouri. Romney stopped short of that, saying the comments were "insulting" and "inexcusable."
In his interview with Huckabee, Akin said no one from the Romney campaign or the National Republican Senatorial Committee asked him to leave the race. Akin vowed to move on and eventually defeat McCaskill, who has been a GOP target this election cycle.
"We're going to take this thing forward and, by the grace of God, win this race," he said.
Still, the chairman of the Senate GOP campaign committee said in a statement that Akin should think about whether to stay in the race.
"Congressman Akin's statements were wrong, offensive, and indefensible. I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next twenty-four hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, head of the NRSC.
The House Democrats' campaign operation is also circulating a petition to remove Akin from his spot on the House Science and Technology Committee. "Someone who believes nonsense like this has no part overseeing science policy," the petition states. The petition garnered more than 70,000 signatures in three hours.
In other remarks from the Huckabee interview, Akin also backtracked on his comments that women can't get pregnant from rape. "I do know that people become pregnant from rape," he said.
Akin also reiterated his views opposing abortion rights. "People and life are tremendously valuable," he said. "We believe that life is something that comes from our creator."