Washington (CNN) -- A controversial statement by a Republican Senate candidate shifted the political focus Monday to abortion and women's rights.
Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri now says he misspoke when he said in an interview Sunday that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy.
Akin also said he opposes women who get raped getting abortions.
The comments have drawn criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, including President Obama.
"The views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people, and certainly doesn't make sense to me. So, what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women," says President Barack Obama.
Congressman Akin's statement forced the Romney campaign to distance itself from the GOP candidate in a key race.
Republicans are hoping to take control of the Senate in November's election, and see Missouri incumbent Claire McCaskill as vulnerable.
Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign says a Romney administration would not oppose abortion in the instances of rape.