A day after urging Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., to consider the advisability of continuing his campaign for the Senate, Mitt Romney on Tuesday flat-out called for his exit from the race.
“As I said yesterday, Todd Akin's comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country," Romney said in a statement issued by his campaign. "Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.”
The statement refers to a slew of former Missouri senators, including John Ashcroft and Jim Talent, who have already called on Akin, a Republican, to drop out for the good of his party.
Akin told Mike Huckabee in an interview on Tuesday afternoon that he plans to remain in the race. The deadline for an easy withdrawal, set by Missouri state law, is 6 p.m. EST.
Akin became an object of widespread condemnation on Sunday when he claimed that the bodies of women who have been the victims of "legitimate rape" are able to block pregnancies.
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