"It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
It doesn't help matters that Akin is a social conservative, so much so that incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill was running ads against his foes in a well-split Republican primary in order to get him in the general. This feeds the meme that pro-lifers are heartless toward women's dilemmas with an unwanted pregnancy.
Should he step aside, as Scott Brown and others have suggested? If so, we have a new level of inexcusable that will have folks spinning their foes words and getting offended, then asking the foe to step aside.
For instance, Joe Biden's put-y'all-in-chains line. Does that disqualify him for running for reelection as VP? It's more uninformed and hurtful than misunderstanding the biology of rape victims.
The horse has left the barn on Akin's line; your pro-choicers will cram that down the GOP's throat in MO regardless of whether a replacement candidate is named. A gracious backpedal on that statement will be better damage control than a withdrawal from the race. Properly played, Akin could take the flak to his advantage, pointing out that his foes are more heartless toward the unborn than he is portrayed to be to pregnant women.
[Update 4:10PM- If folks hit him in the pocketbook, it might force a withdrawal. National Review has joined the chorus; if the fat cats pull their money, Akin might opt to bow out rather than be severly outgunned in a race where liberal money will be in ready supply, both to hang on to the Senate and to take a whack at the Neanderthal of the week.]