Sarah Palin urged Todd Akin to leave the Missouri Senate race on Tuesday, telling Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that the embattled Republican congressman and U.S. Senate candidate should "take one for the team" after his "legitimate rape" comments set off a political firestorm.
"This is not going in his favor, so you have to step aside from self, from yourself, your desire to get in there and serve and do what you believe is right, and you have to, in a sense, take one for the team," the former Alaska governor said. "You have to step aside. Hand the mantle to someone else."
Palin also said that it may be time to consider alternative options, including a potential third-party run by Sarah Steelman, who also ran for the GOP nomination. Palin had endorsed Steelman during the Missouri primary earlier this month.
"I'm suggesting that he get out," Palin said. "He should have reached that deadline today, I believe, personally, and gotten out of the race, but because he did not do that, Greta, then we have to figure out, okay, well, what is next? Again, without trying to pile on Todd Akin, and what he's going through now, maybe it's a third-party run of Sarah Steelman, that I can get behind."
Steelman tweeted about the controversy, calling Akin's remarks "inexcusable, insulting and embarrassing to the GOP." However, she's demurred at the prospect of re-entering the race.
"I won't gloat about it, but I was right," Palin said of her earlier endorsement of Steelman.
With her latest comments, Palin joined the chorus of Republicans calling for Akin to exit the contest, with many assuing that his remarks have put him on the fast track to defeat in his race against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) Mitt Romney issued a statement today calling for Akin to leave the race, urging the congressman to "very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country."
Despite the barrage of criticism, Akin has remained defiant, insisting that he has no plans to drop out.
"I'm in this race for the long haul, and we're going to win it," he said Tuesday.