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Romney: Akin should 'exit the Senate race'

NBC News' Chuck Todd suggests the outrage generated from Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's comments could cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate. Negative feelings toward the Republican Party have weighed down Mitt Romney, Todd adds, much as the economy has weighed down President Obama.


Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called on Rep. Todd Akin (R) to end his bid for Senate in Missouri.

"As I said yesterday, Todd Akin's comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country," Romney said in a statement. "Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race."

Akin could end his campaign without much difficulty before 5 p.m. CST on Tuesday; if he were to press forward with his candidacy, he could still withdraw by Sept. 25, but would have to ask a court to remove his name from the ballot, and would have to pay the costs associated with reprinting ballots. In either case, the Missouri GOP would pick a new candidate.

The six-term congressman has weathered growing clamor to end his candidacy since saying this weekend that "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancy. He is trying to unseat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) this fall in a race critical to Republicans' hopes of retaking control of the Senate.