By Paige Winfield Cunningham-The Washington Times
Besides attacking each other over Medicare, school lunches and the Iraq war, Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and GOP challenger Rep. Todd Akin spent their first debate Friday blaming each other for the gridlock in Congress that has stalled crucial pieces of legislation over the last two years.
And after initially mentioning the damaging comments on rape and pregnancy that have dogged her Republican opponent over the last month, Mrs. McCaskill didnâ€™t bring them up again.
Instead, both candidates talked mainly about their sharp policy differences, with Mr. Akin trying to paint Mrs. McCaskill as an Obama liberal while she insisted he is a right-wing extremist on nearly every major issue.
â€œIf you vote 98 percent of the time with Obama and tell us at the same time youâ€™re a moderate voter, that takes a lot of guts,â€ Mr. Akin said to Missouri newspaper editors gathered in Columbia.
â€œItâ€™s not what he says thatâ€™s the problem, itâ€™s what he believes that is the problem,â€ Mrs. McCaskill shot back.
Already viewed as one of the countryâ€™s most important Senate contests, the Missouri race became the center of attention last month when Mr. Akin made a major fumble, telling a local television station that victims of â€œlegitimate rapeâ€ are unlikely to become pregnant â€” a comment that led GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and much of the party establishment to call for his withdrawal from the race.
Besides the rape comments, which have threatened to push Mr. Akin out of the race entirely, Mrs. McCaskill also stayed away from so-called â€œwomenâ€™s issuesâ€ such as mandatory contraception coverage and equal pay, which have become major Democratic attacking points.
To read more, visit: Â http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/21/akin-mccaskill-trade-barbs-first-debate/
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