McCaskill, Akin Face Off in First Debate
When the Missouri Senate candidates faced off for their first general election debate Friday morning, the first question broached GOP Rep. Todd Akin's controversial comments on rape -- and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said that it wasn't what Akin said, but what he believes, that's the problem. But while both candidates weighed in on the controversy when asked, no one broached the topic again during the rest of the debate.
The debate, which took place at the Missouri Press Association convention and was moderated by the Associated Press's David Lieb, also included Libertarian candidate Jonathan Dine.
The first question dove into Akin's comments that "legitimate" rape rarely results in pregnancy -- remarks that resulted in widespread GOP calls for him to resign from the race, as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Crossroads GPS pulling funding from the race.
Akin pivoted quickly in his answer on the comments, noting that he had addressed them repeatedly. "I don't believe that this election overall is about talk," he said, but "two visions of what America really is."
"I think Congressman Akin's comments opened the windows to his views on Missourians," said McCaskill in answering the question. "I believe his view is extreme, and out of the mainstream." She went on to say that Akin has other extreme views, saying he wants to do away things like student loans and the school lunch program.
"It's not what he said that is the problem," said McCaskill, noting that she believes in emergency contraception for rape victims and he doesn't. "It's what he believes that is the problem."