Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin, under extreme pressure from party leaders to drop his challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill after making controversial remarks about "legitimate rape," failed to appear Monday night in a CNN interview the network had promoted earlier.
Akin, who has said repeatedly he will not withdraw, was scheduled for a 9 p.m. interview with Piers Morgan, the host said. When Akin did not appear, Morgan said, the network decided to opt for footage of an empty chair before an interview with Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who bashed Akin.
Akin told a Missouri TV station over the weekend that women's bodies had ways of preventing pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape," remarks that sparked a firestorm of criticism from both parties. Soon-to-be Republican nominee Mitt Romney said he would defend neither Akin nor the remarks.
On CNN, Morgan invited Akin to come on the show in the future, and said that failure to do so would render him, in what Morgan called British terms, a "gutless little twerp."