Todd Akin retreats from 'legitimate rape' apology

Catalina Camia
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, talks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board at the newspaper's headquarters in downtown St. Louis on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Akin is running to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill in the November election. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Christian Gooden)  EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT  ORG XMIT: MOSTP101

Turns out Todd Akin isn't sorry after all for his "legitimate rape" comments and stands by them.

The former congressman, who lost the 2012 Senate race in Missouri, has written a book that Politico previewed on Thursday.

"By asking the public at large for forgiveness," Akin writes in the book, "I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said."

Akin, a conservative Republican locked in a tight race with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, said in a TV interview in summer 2012 that he believes pregnancy can be prevented by a woman involved in "legitimate rape" because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

The firestorm was intense, with criticism coming from top Republicans as well as Democrats. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney called Akin's comments "offensive and wrong" and called on him to quit the Senate race. Akin apologized, saying he made a "very, very serious error" and noted he wasn't the first politician to suffer from "foot in mouth disease."

But McCaskill capitalized on the comment in her campaign ads and on the trail, and she easily won a second term and defeated Akin by 16 percentage points.

According to Politico's account of the book, Akin basically is standing by his original comments and blaming the news media for his downfall.

"My comment about a woman’s body shutting the pregnancy down was directed to the impact of stress on fertilization. This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss," Akin writes. "Doubt me? Google ‘stress and infertility,’ and you will find a library of research on the subject."

Akin's Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom comes out July 15.