Embattled Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) hit the morning talk show circuit today, continuing his media redemption tour, justifying his rebuke of Republican leadership and announcing he will not attend next week's GOP convention in Tampa, Fla.
He also gave Republicans a sliver of hope that he might eventually do what most have urged him to: drop out of the race.
"I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen," Akin said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "I don’t know the future, but I do know this. I knew that the party voters took a look at our hearts, understood who we were, had a chance to meet us in many, many different ways and made a decision. And it makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs as opposed to the election process.”
Akin, who won a competitive three-way primary earlier this month, has until Sept. 25 to drop out. Because he missed yesterday's deadline to voluntarily step down without further intervention, he will now need a court order to do so.
On Tuesday, Akin rejected personal and public pleas to end his Senate bid from nearly every person who matters in the Republican party: presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, vice presidential candidate and former legislative partner Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas), Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and a laundry list of Show Me State GOP bigwigs, from former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to former Sen. Kit Bond.
But at least he won't embarrass that laundry list of Republican top brass by crashing their once-every-four-years party. He told ABC he will honor Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus' wishes and steer clear of the convention. Instead, he will focus on campaigning in Missouri and trying to do the nearly impossible: win a seat without the help or support of his party.
A Republican source told Roll Call on Tuesday that Blunt, who would be Akin's in-state colleague if he were to continue in the race and win, has privately and repeatedly urged Akin to step aside in the days since the Congressman declared during a local television interview that "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancy.
And this morning, Akin confirmed to NBC's "Today Show" what top officials had previously refused to say: Ryan also has privately and personally asked him to bow out of the race.