KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Throughout his political career, Representative Todd Akin’s agenda has been driven by a belief that his mission came from God.
As a Republican member of Congress, he has sponsored legislation to name 2008 “The National Year of the Bible,” and to promote greater recognition of the Ten Commandments. A member of the Presbyterian Church in America, Mr. Akin has accused liberals of trying to remove God from the public sphere. And as the Republican establishment closed ranks on him Tuesday, trying to force him to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race after his controversial remarks about rape and abortion, Mr. Akin provided divine reasoning as to why he would not quit.
It was “appropriate to recognize a creator, God, whose blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the very source of American freedom,” Mr. Akin, 65, said in a radio interview. “And that part of the message I feel is missing” from the campaign, he said, adding, “That’s the reason why we’re going to continue. Because I believe there is a cause here.”
Mr. Akin’s defiance and insistence that even without the establishment’s support, he can defeat the incumbent Democrat, Senator Claire McCaskill, in a race that could decide the balance of power in the Senate was indicative of his nearly quarter-century in politics in which he regularly embraced the underdog role, relying on grass-roots support and his faith to power him through.
Outspoken and blunt — too blunt, some might say — Mr. Akin, 65, is no stranger to incendiary comments. He has criticized federal spending on things like school lunches and student loans and has been quick to equate government spending to socialism.
“ ‘God called me to run’ — that’s the way he thinks,” said Jeff Smith, a former Democratic state senator in Missouri, said of Mr. Akin, a six-term congressman who represents parts of eastern Missouri. “I think he thinks it’s his destiny, and so you’re going to have to get somebody pretty high up there — or, in his mind, pretty close to God — to push him out.”
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