JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two of Mitt Romney's senior advisers say they are backing Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican Senate candidate they once shunned.

Former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent, Romney's go-to on Russia and defense policy, said Friday that he's behind the congressman who's been apologizing for weeks for his comments on "legitimate rape." Earlier this week, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, Romney's liaison to Congress, announced that he'd back Akin, too.

Former Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri also endorsed Akin on Friday. All three had called on Akin to drop out of his campaign against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin stayed in, and has won the endorsements of a key conservative group and some Republicans.

Former Missouri Republican Sens. John Danforth and John Ashcroft still are not backing Akin.