By Alexandra Jaffe - 08/21/12 11:16 AM EDT
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) late Monday released a new campaign ad asking voters to forgive him for a controversial remark about rape, amid strong pressure from fellow Republicans to exit Missouri’s Senate race.
The intimate 30-second spot opens with the congressman addressing the camera directly and stating: "Rape is an evil act.
"I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that, I apologize," he says. “As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them.”
Akin, though, insisted Monday that he would stay in the race.
In the ad, Akin acknowledges that "rape can lead to pregnancy," an attempt to explain to voters that he understands the biological connection between rape and pregnancy.
A poll, however, shows that 55 percent of Missourians don't believe Akin misspoke in his original remarks.
“The truth is rape has many victims,” Akin says. "The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness."
Akin has until 5 p.m. CDT today to drop out under the first deadline allowed by Missouri laws.
A poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling conducted late Tuesday shows Akin with a 1-point lead over incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in the Missouri race, with 44 percent support to 43.