In a new ad, Todd Akin is begging Missouri voters to forgive him for what he said about rape and pregnancy—but not for the substance of his position or what's in his heart:
Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize.In other words, Todd Akin is sorry that he sounded like a heartless dick when he explained why he doesn't believe victims of rape or incest should have access to safe and legal abortion (or, for that matter, emergency contraception). And he probably actually means it: Akin is smart enough to know sounding like a heartless dick isn't a good way to get elected, and he clearly wants to get elected.
As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them.
The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.
But even though Akin is apologetic "for that" and wants "forgiveness" for saying the words he said, Akin hasn't changed the substance of his position one bit. He is still every bit as committed to banning abortion in cases of rape and incest as he was when he sat down for the interview that got him in trouble—and he is still as committed to banning emergency contraception as he was 72 hours ago.
That position—supporting an absolute ban on all abortion and even some forms of birth control—is wildly unpopular. According to the latest PPP survey, just 14 percent of likely voters in Missouri support Akin's stance. And keep in mind, that's coming from a poll in which Akin actually led McCaskill by one point. Assuming Akin stays in the race, as seems likely, it's crucial that McCaskill make it clear that Akin's comments weren't just a random blurt. He may be apologizing for them now because he realized just how backwards they make him appear, but whatever words he uses, his actual position is as backwards as ever. And you can't simply dismiss that position as an irrelevant quirk, because Todd Akin is not alone.