Website outlines Akin’s positions in his own words
By TIM ROWDEN
Surrounded by about 75 union members and other supporters, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill called her Republican opponent in the Nov. 6 general election, Congressman Todd Akin, “sincere” and “pleasant” then quickly pointed out the extreme nature of his views while kicking off her general election campaign at Habitata Building Products, at 1600 South 39th Street in St. Louis last week.
“He is a sincere and pleasant man,” McCaskill said of Akin, a tea party favorite who emerged victorious in last week’s Republican primary. “Unfortunately his views will not be pleasant for Missouri families.”
Directing supporters to her campaign’s website TruthAboutAkin.com, McCaskill said voters can see videos and read news excerpts of Akin in his own words talking about privatizing Medicare and Social Security, eliminating federal support for student loans and abolishing the federal minimum wage among other issues.
“He is way out of the mainstream in Missouri,” McCaskill said of Akin. “I’m not sure he even realizes that his views of very important things would impact Missouri families in a way that could be very painful.”
A few of those issues:
“Todd Akin believes that Medicare should be privatized, (and doubts that it’s constitutional)” McCaskill said. “He believes it should be OK for seniors to have to arm wrestle insurance companies to figure out if their claim was going to be paid.”
In his own words: According to the Columbia Daily Tribune in a meeting with tea party activists in September 2011 Akin said “he has doubts about the constitutionality of Medicare . . .. Akin’s remarks questioning the constitutionality of Medicare came as he was explaining his vote against prescription coverage under the medical plan for seniors and people with disabilities. He said it was too expensive, and ‘it was expanding an entitlement I wasn’t too comfortable with to begin with.’ Asked about the remarks after the meeting, Akin said, ‘I don’t find in the Constitution that it is the job of the government to provide health care.’”
Akin has similar views on Social Security. Akin told the Columbia Daily Tribune in June of this year that he would transform Social Security into a system of private retirement accounts.
“He doesn’t believe that it should be a government program,” McCaskill said. “He thinks that it should be privatized. In other words, take the word security out of Social Security. He believes that seniors’ retirement should be subjected to the up and down roller coaster that we all understand is modern day Wall Street.”
In his own words: On CSPAN Washington Journal in March 2011, Akin said "Social Security through the years, for many, many people, has been a terrible investment. It's really a tax, that's all it is. Social Security is a tax. The government has taken the tax. There's been more money coming in than going out. And we spend it. That's not been responsible. I don't like it. I didn't design Social Security. It actually came from Bismarck. FDR put it in place."
During a debate hosted by the Missouri College Republicans in April 2012 Akin compared the federal government’s involvement in student loans to Stage Three Cancer.
“What he would do is say that there would be no government involvement in student loans,” McCaskill said. “Let me tell you what that translates to for Missouri families: Only rich kids go to college. That’s not the America that we love. That’s not the America that we celebrate. That’s not the land of opportunity. That’s the land of the Haves and the Have Nots.”
As reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune, Akin said the government should be out of the student loan market altogether.
In his own words: “America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in,” he said."
McCaskill noted that Habitata, the maker of Halcyon Shades, was a great place to talk about wages.
Habitata bought the Halcyon brand from Solutia in 2009 and moved manufacturing from Mexico to St. Louis, David Kenyon, founder and co-owner of the company said.
“We’re sitting in a plant today that is an insource of workers into this community,” McCaskill said. “And part of America is our minimum wage.”
Akin believes the federal minimum wage should be abolished.
In his own words: According to the Associated Press, at a March 2012 GOP primary debate, Akin could not identify correctly the current federal minimum wage, currently set at $7.25. Akin "said he was guessing the minimum wage was around $6 or $7 and called it another example of something wrong that the government is doing."
“If you believe the minimum wage should be abolished, you don’t understand the pain of Missouri’s families,” McCaskill said. “He doesn’t think there should be any minimum wage. He thinks we should be in race to the bottom, paying people $2 a week like some third world nations. That’s not what we are in America, that’s not how we have a middle class. That’s not what Missourian’s want.”
McCaskill urged voters to go to TruthAboutAkin.com to learn more about Akin’s positions from the candidate himself.
“We’re not spinning anything,” McCaskill said. “You can hear it from him.”
Although the general election campaign is just getting under way, McCaskill has already had to endure an onslaught of millions of dollars in negative adverstising paid for by Republican “Super PACs” from elsewhere in the country orchestrated by Karl Rove and other GOP strategists. But she’s confident Missouri voters will see through those ads.
“I worry about the independent ads, but I also trust Missourians to know that if these are ugly, bloated distorted pictures coming from anonymous out of state sources, they’re probably not something you should pay a lot of attention to,” McCaskill said.