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Former Congressman Todd Akin breaks silence: talks comeback, takes on Republican establishment

9:33 AM, Apr 26, 2013   |    comments
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By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Could Todd Akin be the new comeback kid?

The 65-year-old former congressman says don't rule him out. Nearly six months after losing the Senate race he continues to be attacked from all sides of the political spectrum. But the greatest barbs are thrown by fellow Republicans.

In an exclusive interview with KSDK-TV, the former Missouri congressman said, "I'm not going to try to get even with anybody. If you start to blame everyone else for something that happened you didn't like, it will destroy you. It will eat you alive."

After 12 years representing Missouri's 2nd Congressional District, this infamous quote, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," derailed his campaign and his reputation.

Would he take those six seconds back?

Akin said, "Oh, of course I would! I've relived them too many times. But that is not reality."

In the past, Akin said he regrets those remarks but does he believe they are true? Does he believe in his heart that the female body can stop a pregnancy in the case of a rape?

Akin said, "No, no and I apologized for that. All of us are fallible, we make mistakes, and we say things the wrong way. I really lived that moment many, many times."

KSDK asked, "Do you regret it?"

"Of course. You think what would it have been like if I hadn't done that."

Within a few days, after the "legitimate rape" quote went viral, mainstream Republican Party bosses lobbied hard for him to get of the race. The behind-the-scenes back room pressure was immense according to one Akin insider.

The former congressman reflected, "Republican leadership was strong that you have to step down. But there was a very strong grass roots element saying don't you give in to those party bosses. You stay in there and you keep fighting."

That divide between the Republican establishment and Akin's grassroots supporters percolates today on a national level.

Akin explained, "Really what it goes back to is whether the Republican Party is going to be run by the insiders, or run by the grassroots organization. That's a question still to be determined."

Republican strategist Karl Rove recently started a new Pac aimed at opposing candidates like Akin.

Rove argued, "Some people think the best we can do is Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock - they're wrong. We need to do better if we hope to take over the United States Senate. We need to get better conservative candidates and win."

Critics on the far right say they won't allow Rove or anyone else on the "inside" to exclude them.

And Akin reacted by saying to KSDK, "Karl Rove has made himself and expert. I think I lost one race. He managed to lose about 12 of them in one night."

And Akin points out; Rove spent an estimated $175 million with nothing to show for it.

"Maybe people who gave him money will kind of wonder about that number won't they?" said Akin.

KSDK asked, "Should Rove be rejected?"

Akin said, "That is something that in a way is going to be settled by people who trust him with their money, or not."

Most everyone in the republican establishment has abandoned Akin, but he doesn't spend time thinking about that.

He said, "I have the whole rest of my life to live and the whole world is in front of me."

And, he's loving life out of the spotlight.

"In my case, I had chance to change oil in cars, fix things around the house, see my grandchildren. So there's time to catch your breath."

And time to reflect.

Akin does think the Republican Party is at dangerous crossroads.

"I believe the party will either stand on principled positions or its going to be replaced by some other party," he said.

As for the next chapter, Akin says he's ready for a comeback, but isn't sure what form that comeback will take. He's considering academia, public speaking, and even politics.

We asked, "Would you ever consider putting your hat back in the political ring again?"

"It's one of those things that depends on the circumstances really.  I don't rule anything out," he said. " I consider it a bright new future and I'm interested to see what the possibilities are."

We reached out to Karl Rove for comment about Akin's statements but a spokesperson said he was tied up with events at the new library for former President George Bush.

Do you think former Rep. Todd Akin can make a political comeback?  Let us know what you think on Twitter by using the hashtag #AkinComeback. Share this story link with your friends and ask them to join in on the conversation.

KSDK

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