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Akin election party

Todd Akin gives his concession speech at his election party at the DoubleTree Hotel in Chesterfield on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

WASHINGTON • In one of his first interviews since his defeat in 2012, former Rep. Todd Akin told the Post-Dispatch on Monday that he has not contemplated running for office again, and instead has focused on closing his Senate campaign and writing a book that will be released today.

In a 15-minute telephone interview, the Republican Akin compared his downfall in the 2012 Missouri Senate race to that of former Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wis., who in the 1950s was discredited after making allegations that many thought overstated Communist influence in the U.S. government.

“I use McCarthy as an example of someone who was assassinated by the media, so he had no credibility,” Akin said, just as he believes he was politically assassinated by “intentional and dishonest” distortions of what he said about rape and pregnancy in 2012.

Akin does not make the McCarthy reference in his book.

“Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom,” is published by WND Books. It is primarily about Akin’s controversial loss to Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Akin’s retrospective defense of what he meant when he said that pregnancy from rape is “really rare” because, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

The comments were denounced by political foes and allies and questioned by medical experts. Akin writes in the book that the controversy turned his name into a “negative byword.” He said in the interview he was unsure if that condition will persist.

Mostly, he told the Post-Dispatch, he was more concerned that the Republican Party is trying to purge candidates like him from the ballot by any means necessary, citing a controversial Mississippi Republican primary won narrowly last month by incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran.

In the interview with the Post-Dispatch, Akin portrayed himself as a “guy who misspoke.” He complained that while he was pilloried for words, that former President Bill Clinton — whom he writes was accused of “sexual assault” — was celebrated at the Democratic National Convention days later by a party that was accusing Republicans of conducting a “war on women.”

“Liberal politicians can essentially do and say anything, and it is never news,” he said, referring to gaffes and misconduct, a claim he also makes in the book.

Reminded that Clinton was impeached over allegations that began with sexual harassment claims — a story that consumed Washington media and politics in salacious detail for a year in the late ‘90s — Akin said he meant that in 2012, the media and his critics ignored the double standard of the firestorm over his remarks vs. how Clinton was treated just days later.

The Post-Dispatch reported last week that Akin writes in the book that he regrets apologizing for his rape remark because his apology legitimized false interpretations of what he meant.In the book, he also criticized members of the Republican establishment — particularly Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. — for distancing themselves from him.

“It wasn’t that the Republican Party left me wounded on the battlefield,” Akin said in the interview. “They came out on the battlefield and tried to dispatch me” from it.

He said Blunt — whom he described in the book as “Republican In Name Only” and a quiet GOP establishment power broker — invited him to his office after the campaign.

“He and I just don’t see things the same way,” Akin said in the interview. “I don’t have any animus whatsoever, I simply told what happened during the campaign. It is as simple as that.”

Blunt, through a spokesperson, said last week he would not read the book.

Akin did not comment on McCaskill’s job performance, closing the interview with, “I told you, last question.”

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Chuck Raasch is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.