Aug. 22, 2012 at 7:21 AM ET
By Eun Kyung Kim, TODAY
"It's not about me. It's about doing the right thing and standing on principle."
Despite the call from Ryan, whose House budget committee he sits on, and being shut off from funding by national Republican leaders, Akin said he continues to hold the trust of voters who selected him after a tough primary battle.
“Anybody who is doing a lot of public speaking can make a mistake. The people of my state didn’t elect somebody who was perfect,” he said. “They knew I wasn’t perfect, but the idea of standing of principle and trying to do the right thing.”
Akin has been under heavy criticism after saying in a television interview last Sunday that women’s bodies, in cases of “legitimate rape,” can prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Akin told TODAY he was “misinformed” and apologized for his use of the word "legitimate" in reference to rape.
“While I apologize for the misuse of that word, I don’t apologize for the fact that I’m strong in my belief for pro-life,” he told TODAY.
“There is no rape that is legitimate. It’s a heinous crime, one of the most serious,” he said. “I understand that the victims are harmed for a long time and I take that very seriously.”
Akin also said he doesn't believe women would lie about being raped to gain access to abortion. "I don't believe that’s the case."
Akin rebuffed other appeals by Republican leaders — including presidential candidate Mitt Romney — to drop out of the race, saying his pursuit of the Senate seat was a “decision made by the citizens of our state and not party bosses.”
“This is not about me. This is not about my ego, but it's about the voters of the state of Missouri. They have chosen me because of the principles I stand on, and putting principle over politics," he said.