Tuesday, Sep. 25 2012 4:22PM
Akin, McCaskill trade jabs at forum
By John Beaudoin
COLUMBIA – Both Claire McCaskill and Todd Akin spent the early moments of last week’s Missouri Press Association forum in negative name association.
Sen. McCaskill tied Rep. Akin, her Nov. 6 opponent, with former presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann. Akin, in turned, associated McCaskill with Barack Obama.
McCaskill’s ties to the President have been a source of campaign material lately, with the Senator running ads showing she is 50th out of 100 – middle of the road.
“Claire can say she’s a 50 percent, but when you vote with Obama 98 percent of the time…that takes a lot of guts,” Akin fired at McCaskill.
Akin’s “legitimate rape” was the first question out of the chute, though, from moderator David Lieb, a writer for the Associated Press.
“I’ve answered this question repeatedly,” Akin initially responded.
McCaskill, though, wasn’t going to let it pass by.
“I think Congressman Akin’s comments open the window to his views to Missourians,” she said. “He has apologized for those comments, but they say a lot about how he views things and that’s where Missourians need to pay attention.”
McCaskill even gave a specific example of what she claims are Akin’s extreme views.
“I believe a rape victim should be allowed emergency contraceptives. Todd Akin does not,” McCaskill said.
McCaskill continued that Akin holds other excessive views, like privatizing Social Security and doing away with the federal school lunch program.
Libertarian candidate Jonathan Dine even jumped on Akin, saying that while Akin sits on the Congressional Science Committee, he fails to understand basic eighth grade biology.
Medicare, cigarette taxes and soaring college expenses all found their way to the forum, with Akin saying too much government was leading to high prices.
“We need to let a little free enterprise work,” he said.
The postal service’s financial woes also got the attention of Dine, who called for an end to Saturday mail delivery. Akin said the post office needs to follow a simple pattern of “money in, money out.”
On Medicare, Akin called for a repeal of the so-called Obamacare law and for allowing others to choose their provider. McCaskill took exception to Akin’s claim, saying Obamacare doesn’t cut a dime from Medicare.
“What I didn’t hear in Congressman Akin’s answer was his plan,” McCaskill said, claiming he wants to privatize the system.
“Don’t count on the government to spend your money wisely,” Dine quipped.
McCaskill said, “If Missourians give this legislation a chance, they will be pleased with it.”
While foreign policy has taken somewhat of a backseat to the economy during this election cycle, all three candidates still weighed in, with Dine calling for an end to “acting as the world’s policemen” and claiming the U.S. is “wasting $1 trillion on bombs alone.”
Akin says Obama has faltered by “turning our backs on the Czech Republic and Poland,” and deferring to Russia.
McCaskill noted it was time to pull infrastructure spending overseas back and put it to work on our soil.
“We should be building those projects here, not in the desert in Afghanistan,” she said.
In one area, however, McCaskill and Akin found some common ground – government intervention on what we eat.
“The government shouldn’t be telling us what to eat or drink,” McCaskill said. Akin noted that its role isn’t to tell you “what size drink cup to have.”
And in perhaps the most memorable line of the forum, Dine said it was time for voters to take a chance on his party.
“I promise to keep the Republicans out of your bedroom and the Democrats out of your wallet.”