At the same time, the Republican did not completely disown the issue. He said his views on abortion would energize his supporters in the races closing days, a prediction that may have fallen short.
Akin campaigned with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who made much of Akins outsider status. Other evangelicals came to Akins aid, and some outside groups bought advertising a group called Now or Never PAC invested more than $1 million in the races final weeks.
Its ads, and others, did not focus on Akin as much as they did on the national implications of the race.
You dont have to agree with everything he says, the Now or Never spot said, referring to the GOP Senate nominee. But you can be sure in the Senate Akin will vote with Romneys policies.
The backhanded praise may not have helped Akin as much as he had hoped. His campaign rallies were relatively tame affairs, often sparsely attended.
McCaskill also attacked her opponents positions on Medicare, student loans and the school lunch program. In ads, and in their two debates, she projected an image of a moderate not afraid to take on her own party.
Akin scoffed at the claim. He also attacked her for failing to pay taxes on a family aircraft and for her husband Joe Shepards tangled business finances, which have included substantial use of government tax credits to build housing for the elderly and the poor.
She has gotten rich (in) a business that takes advantage of other people being in poverty, Akin said in the second debate.
In another race, those comments might have had a greater impact. In the shadow of the rape and abortion statements, they struggled to break through to the public.
Akins arrest record for abortion protests also entered the race in the final days, but it appeared to have little impact on the outcome.
Polls showed a seesaw margin for McCaskill throughout the fall, although she led in every state poll but one after Akins interview.
His defeat may mark the end of the 65-year-olds political career. He was first elected to the House in 2000 and was generally considered a reliably conservative vote in that body, although he did support federal earmark spending in his district, which McCaskill criticized.
He also was well known for supporting legislation on social issues.