ST. LOUIS -- Rep. Todd Akin vowed to fight on in his embattled Senate campaign, but a significant deadline loomed Tuesday that was bound to intensify pressure on the Missouri congressman to abandon the race over his comments that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape."
Akin has been frantically trying to salvage his once-promising bid against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in a race long targeted by the GOP as crucial to regaining control of the Senate. But ominous signs were mounting against the six-term legislator from suburban St. Louis, most notably the apparent loss of millions of dollars in campaign advertising money.
Early Tuesday Akin posted an apology video online, but made no mention of the race. He went on two conservative radio shows Monday, pledging to keep the campaign alive, even as some people in his own party urged him to step aside.
The decision has some urgency. Missouri election law allows candidates to withdraw 11 weeks before Election Day. That means the deadline to exit the Nov. 6 election is 5 p.m. Tuesday. Otherwise, a court order would be needed to remove a name from the ballot.
"I was told the decision has to be made by 5 tomorrow, but I was calling you and letting you know that I'm announcing today that we're in," Akin told radio host Sean Hannity.
In a radio interview with former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Akin repeatedly apologized for the remarks but also vowed to stay in the race.
"The good people of Missouri nominated me, and I'm not a quitter," Akin said.
The uproar began Sunday, when St. Louis television station KTVI aired an interview in which Akin was asked if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.
"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said.
Later Sunday, Akin released a statement saying that he "misspoke" during the interview.
In the interviews with Huckabee and Hannity, he apologized repeatedly, acknowledging that rape can lead to conception.
"Rape is never legitimate. It's an evil act. It's committed by violent predators," Akin said. "I used the wrong words the wrong way."
But the damage had already been done. The comments drew a sharp rebuke from fellow Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his vice presidential choice, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
The Senate's top Republican said Akin's comments about rape might "prevent him from effectively representing" the Republican Party. Mitch McConnell called on Akin to "take time with his family" to consider whether he should continue in the Missouri Senate race.
Two other Republican senators, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, urged Akin to resign.
Akin also apparently lost a key source of funding. Sen. John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, told Akin that $5 million in advertising set aside for Missouri will be spent elsewhere and that Akin will get no other help from the committee, according to a committee official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.
Cornyn told Akin that he was endangering the GOP's hopes of getting a Senate majority by staying in the race, the official said.
At least one outside group that has pounded McCaskill with ads, the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads organization, also pulled its ads from Missouri.
In an apparent effort to claw back some of that funding, Akin posted a video to YouTube early Tuesday in which he described himself as a compassionate father of two daughters, apologized for his poor choice of words and clarified that he understands the possible outcome of rape.
"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," he said.