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Published On: Sat, Oct 20th, 2012

Claire McCaskill squares off against Todd Akin in Senate debate, calling him ‘extreme’

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill cast herself as a moderate willing to work with Republicans while GOP challenger Todd Akin repeatedly linked her to the policies of President Barack Obama as they highlighted their differences Thursday night in the final debate of the Missouri Senate race.

McCaskill, who is seeking a second term, asserted Akin has an “extreme record” on women’s issues, education, Medicare and Social Security, among other things.

It’s moderate vs. conservative, moderate vs. extreme. I think there’s a very big choice for Missourians to make” McCaskill said during her opening remarks.

Akin, a congressman from suburban St. Louis, stressed that McCaskill was one of Obama’s earliest supporters in his 2008 campaign and backed his health care and stimulus proposals, which he said have driven up the deficit.

“Claire McCaskill was the first to endorse Barack Obama, and she was a strong right hand passing legislation, voting with him 98 percent of the time,” Akin said.

For an hour the pair bantered in the Clayton High School auditorium in suburban St. Louis before McCaskill debuted a brand new attack against Akin in the final moments of their debate on Thursday: that as a boss, Akin pays women less than men.

“He supports the boss being able to decide whether you get paid less just because you’re a woman,” McCaskill said during her closing remarks. “And if you look at Congressman Akin’s office, he’s a boss that does that: His women staff make 23.4 percent less than the men in his office.”

McCaskill, for example, criticized Akin’s prior statements in support of abolishing the Education Department and his opposition to a 2010 law that gave the federal government – not banks – direct responsibility for issuing student loans.

“The federal government’s involvement in education is important for our country,” McCaskill said.

Akin countered: “Claire McCaskill seems to think this is a crisis if you don’t have everything done by the federal government.”

Akin said the federal school lunch program could be administered by states, quipping that the food probably wouldn’t taste any different to students.

Some critics are saying had a Rick Perry moment.

“We should stop giving money to Libya, to Pakistan, and to one other country,” Akin said, trailing off and unable to remember the third.

“Syria,” McCaskill interjected.

Opponents are also describing Akin’s addressing to the Senator as rude. This is from the Washington Post coverage:

A lack of respect for Sen. McCaskill from Rep. Akin. Whether it’s because she’s a woman, or he covets her office, I don’t know. Akin often referred to the senator as “Claire.” I don’t think he ever once addressed her as “Sen. McCaskill.  She didn’t call him “Todd,” but always “Congressman Akin.”

Akin refused to withdraw after his legitimate rape comment” back in August. He asked how the national media will react if wins.

“I’ve had a chance to travel for 18 months, and I’ve got a pretty good sense of where people are,” Akin said. “My views are pretty much in sync with the voters of this state, and what’s more, I’ve opposed the failed record and the failed policies which have given us the unemployment, the lack of jobs, and other miscellaneous problems such as gasoline prices doubling.”

“If I lose, I’ll hate it because I want our government to reflect our values,” she said. “I think Congressman Akin’s view is very narrow and it leaves a lot of people out.”

WAGE INEQUALITY ISSUE

This was the first time the Senator lodged this accusation against her challenger and Akin’s group was quick to counter.

Akin’s office made more than men by $3,158 on average over four months, according to LegiStorm data pulled by Akin’s office Thursday night.

“I think it’s interesting that an auditor would chop off the last several years,” said Akin’s communications director and district director, Steve Taylor, referencing McCaskill’s career as Missouri state auditor before here 2006 election to the Senate. Taylor called the accounting “somewhat disingenuous.”

“If it did occur, it was not a matter of policy, because we see that’s not the case now … There’s been no change in policy in the Akin office, there’s been no change in environment,” Taylor said. “If you look at what’s going on now, that really dispels the notion that there’s a policy of paying female workers less.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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