In his first public visit to the Kansas City area since the Aug. 7 primary, Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin on Wednesday called for the United States to pursue those responsible for the death of the ambassador to Libya and three others.
"I'm a very strong proponent that we have to deal with that," Akin said during a campaign stop in Platte City. "We have to figure out who did it, of course, and then how do we take that organization apart."
He also criticized the Obama administration for a foreign policy stance that encourages violence.
"I think weak foreign policy tends to create less stability in the world, and when you have a very strong leader, and it's very clear where America is and what we stand for, it just seems as if there's less violence," Akin said.
Akin reiterated that he's staying in the race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill following his remarks last month about rape victims. Akin said that women have a biological ability to ward off pregnancy as a result of "legitimate" rape.
He apologized again for the remark on Wednesday and insisted that his campaign is moving on.
"Most people understand what it means to put your foot in your mouth and to say you're sorry," Akin said. "We're moving pretty much now to a straight comparison of Claire McCaskill and our record and the fact that we're two really different people."
Akin said he wasn't tired of responding to questions about the controversy. About 30 Republicans showed up for a 7:30 a.m. rally at a Platte City hotel. Akin later visited Harrisonville and Lee's Summit.
Akin had scheduled visits to the area on the weekend of Sept. 1, but heavy rains forced him to cancel those appearances.
Republican leaders have repeatedly called for Akin to drop out of the race. A new poll Wednesday showed McCaskill leading Akin by 49 to 43 percent. Akin led in the polls prior to his remark about rape victims.
During his visit, Akin called for at least two debates with McCaskill later this month. Details are still being worked out, he said.
Akin, currently a U.S. representative, said he'd also like to debate at least once in October.
"I'm not afraid of doing debates," he said. "Claire and I are really different. It should be an easy debate for both of us... We're both opposites on about everything."
Meanwhile, McCaskill said her campaign had sent "multiple inquiries" to Akin's campaign about setting up the debates.
"I am hopeful that we will have three televised debates," McCaskill said. "I would like to see us have a televised debate in Kansas City and St. Louis, one in Springfield, and I would be open to a fourth televised debate in any community of Todd Akin's choosing."
Also Wednesday, the Akin campaign announced another online fundraising push. In an email blast, campaign manager Perry Akin, the candidate's son, said the campaign was seeking to raise $70,000 by midnight Saturday. He called that the campaign's most ambitious fundraising goal yet.
"We need all hands on deck," Perry Akin wrote. "Todd needs you now."
The Star's Dave Helling contributed to this report.