Updated at 2:21 p.m.
For the second day in a row, Missouri GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin went on Mike Huckabee's show and affirmed that he would stay in the race, alluding to the fact that the Republican Party -- which is pressuring him to step down -- didn't back him in the primary, either.
Akin told Huckabee that the party people said they'd be with him if he won the primary, but that "one word" from him changed that support, and he and the party are now back to where they were before his primary win.
Akin dug in his heels, saying that he's "given it a lot of thought," and that "I believe there is a cause here" and "a lot of people feel left out of the parties." The congressman said he feels "there's something that we're missing here," that Americans want to be talking about. He cited the ideas of "a deep respect for life" and the fact that "our creator gave us life."
Huckabee noted that Republicans have said they would pull funding they had committed to the race. In response, Akin cited a "tremendous outpouring of support" from "regular, small people," not the party apparatus.
"The institutional side of the party is very lined up" against him, Akin admitted. "I do receive continuing calls from other congressmen and people who are very supportive of what we are trying to do."
He lamented that he "misspoke one word, in one sentence, in one day," and said he thinks it's unjust that now the party was saying he can't win.
Huckabee noted that Sen. Claire McCaskill
's comments on his remarks were probably the nicest thing he's heard. Akin said the two were opposites (saying she is "for abortion of course across the whole nine months") but were "not mean-spirited about our differences."
The former Arkansas governor also asked Akin if he felt betrayed by the GOP backlash.
"I hadn't done anything that was morally or ethically wrong," he said. "It does seem like a little bit of an overreaction."
Akin did say they would see where the polling was in a month or so -- and though he didn't say it, in a month he could still drop out
of the race.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Brian Walsh
issued a harsh statement, going beyond what committee chair John Cornyn
"By staying in this race, Congressman Akin is putting at great risk many of the issues that he and others in the Republican Party are fighting for, including the repeal of ObamaCare," said Walsh. "We continue to hope that Congressman Akin will do the right thing for the values he holds dear, but there should be no mistake - if he continues with this misguided campaign, it will be without the support and resources of the NRSC."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
also went further than his initial statement in a new statement, calling for Akin to drop out.
"Congressman Akin made a deeply offensive error at a time when his candidacy carries great consequence for the future of our country," McConnell said. "In his heart of hearts, I'm certain that he is sincerely sorry for what he said but in this instance, when the future of our country is at stake, sorry is not sufficient. To continue serving his country in the honorable way he has served throughout his career, it is time for Congressman Akin to step aside."
Meanwhile, Sen. Roy Blunt
, R-Mo., and former Missouri GOP Sens. John Ashcroft
, Kit Bond
, John Danforth
, and Jim Talent
issued a statement calling on Akin to step aside.
"We do not believe it serves the national interest for Congressman Todd Akin to stay in this race," the men said. "The issues at stake are too big, and this election is simply too important. The right decision is to step aside."
-- Kevin Brennan contributed