ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Embattled Missouri Rep. Todd Akin answered some difficult questions Wednesday morning from Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today" program. Akin defended his decision to stay in the race after controversial comments on the legality of abortion.
The Republican candidate for U.S. Senator has been under fire since Sunday after a St. Louis television station aired an interview in which Akin used the term "legitimate rape."
In the KTVI interview, Akin went on to say that "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," referring to avoiding pregnancy as the result of a rape.
Akin admitted to Lauer he got the medical facts wrong.
"I was misinformed and I recognize that," he said in the "Today" interview, which you can watch in its entirety by visiting http://on.today.com/NF8j11 or scrolling to the bottom of this page.
Akin said the word "legitimate" should not be used in the context of discussing rape. He said rape is a heinous crime and impactful on its victims.
Despite his error, Akin said he is still qualified to debate the issue of women's health on a national level. He said anyone who speaks in public often is bound to slip up.
"The people of my state didn't elect somebody who was perfect. They knew I wasn't perfect," he said.
Akin said his support from Missouri voters is the reason he has decided to stay in the race and take on Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November.
"This is not about me. This is not about my ego," Akin told Lauer. "This is about the voters of the state of Missouri. They've chosen me because of the principles I stand on."
Akin said his apology video, issued Tuesday morning, is an appropriate response to his mistake.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have both asked Akin to withdraw from the race. Several prominent Republicans have also stated they believe he should quit the race, including Missouri's current and former GOP Senators.
Akin said he will honor the wish of his party not to attend the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa.
If the election were held today, who would you vote for in the United States Senate race? Take our poll and leave your comment below!
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Anthony Weiner, whose career imploded in a rash of raunchy tweets two years ago, said in a YouTube video he's in the New York City mayoral race. He'd said last month he was considering it.