In a statement just released from the Romney campaign, the new leader of the Republican party has stepped up to lead:
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. Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.
With just a few minutes left until Akin can cleanly quit the race, the GOP is likely hoping that this last minute nudge will tip Akin to give it up. The fellow Missourians Romney speaks of are Kit Bond, Roy Blunt, Jim Talent, and John Danforth — all Republicans and all former or current Missouri Senators.
With some complications, Akin can still quit the race next month, but there’s little doubt the Republican party wants this messy distraction behind them as quickly as possible.
As early as this afternoon, though, Akin told our own Dana Loesch that he has no intention of stepping aside.
Up until now, Romney has all but requested Akin step aside without coming out and directly saying so. There are also reports that VP candidate Paul Ryan called Akin this afternoon. Thus far, though, the campaign hasn’t confirmed that report. If the reports are true, however, it was a long call where Ryan didn’t come out and explicitly request Akin step aside but did reiterate Romney’s condemnation of Akin’s offensive remarks and the local and national electoral consequences.
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