U.S Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, today called on GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri to "step aside" after the congressman said victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. "Todd Akin’s statements are reprehensible and inexcusable," Johnson tweeted today. "He should step aside today for the good of the nation." In a TV interview posted over the weekend, Akin was questioned about allowing abortions in the case of rape and said, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." He later said he "misspoke," but reiterated his opposition to abortions in the case of rape. The race pitting Akin, a six-term congressman, against Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill is one of the key pickup opportunities for Republicans in their effort to retake control of the U.S. Senate. There has been growing national speculation about whether Akin can recover from the remark and if he should drop out of the race. Under Missouri law, Akin has until tomorrow -- the 11th Tuesday before the general election -- to withdraw. UPDATE: Johnson has now released a full statement on Akins' comments: "Todd Akin's statements are reprehensible and inexcusable. Gaining a Republican majority in the US Senate and fixing the huge challenges that face our nation is more important than any one individual's political ambitions. Todd Akin should do the right thing for the nation and step aside today, so Missouri Republicans can put forth a candidate that can win in November."
Johnson endorsed John Brunner in the three-way GOP primary that Akin won for the Senate nomination.