WASHINGTON - Under fire from his own party for controversial comments on rape, US Republican Representative Todd Akin tried to win the support of a group of leading social conservatives to help him stay in Missouri's US Senate race.
Akin met members of the Council for National Policy, a coalition of conservative and evangelical leaders, on Wednesday evening in Tampa, Florida.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which supports Akin's Senate bid, said on MSNBC on Thursday that the meeting was a chance for members of the council to encourage the candidate before the November 6 election.
Akin's meeting was first reported by Politico, which said it was not clear whether the candidate was invited prior to making remarks last Sunday that set off a firestorm.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and many senior party figures have told Akin to pull out of the Missouri race because of his comment that victims of "legitimate rape" have a natural mechanism to avoid pregnancy. He has defied them.
"We're talking about someone who misspoke," Perkins said.