Todd Akin says he'll match Claire McCaskill on TV in campaign's final week

The Kansas City StarOctober 31, 2012 


U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) leaves a news conference in Chesterfield, Missouri, after he announced his plans to stay in the race for the U.S. Senate.

ROBERT COHEN — MCT/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin said today in Lee's Summit that he'll match his Democratic rival, Claire McCaskill, in TV ad spending in the race's final week.

At a stop in Lee's Summit, Akin said he no longer will be outspent 9:1 or 10:1 as he has in recent weeks.

"That ratio is going to change now," Akin said. "We have enough money to be able to do more advertising."

Akin is spending Tuesday and Wednesday in the KC area in what aides said would be his final visit to the area this campaign. At noon Tuesday, Akin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attended a campaign fundraiser on the Plaza.

At 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, the two will hold a "Standing with Courage Rally" at Union Station.

Gingrich said he was amazed by Tuesday's fundraiser.

"It is the first fundraiser I've ever gone to that spontaneously became a rally," he said. "When he (Akin) tells you that he has intensity among his supporters, I can personally vouch. I have seen it, and it is astonishing how dedicated they are."

McCaskill missed another day on the campaign trail Tuesday following the death of her mother on Monday afternoon. Her campaign gave no indication when, or if, she would return. A memorial service for Betty Anne McCaskill is scheduled for Sunday in St. Louis.

Asked if he had any regrets in this campaign for anything he'd said, Akin said, "There was at least one interview that I wished I had turned down."

That was a reference to the St. Louis TV interview he did in August in which he talked about "legitimate rape." He apologized later for his remarks, but the resulting media and political firestorm led to a chorus of calls for him to withdraw from the race, which Akin refused to do.

"On the other hand, we move forward and do the best we can at each point," Akin said. "When we make a mistake, say you're sorry and just keep on going."

Akin said he had a good sense of how the election will turn out "and I believe our supporters are going to be very pleased with the outcome."

A poll conducted for The Star that was released Sunday showed McCaskill leading Akin by 45-43 percent, totals well within the survey's 4 point margin of error.

Gingrich said Republicans who called for Akin's withdrawal "made a mistake in principle" and "made a mistake historically.

"And I think on election night when Todd wins there will be a number of people picking up the phone and calling to say, `Oh, gee, I really meant to be for you.'"

Gingrich defended Akin once again.

"If having made a mistake was grounds for getting off the ticket, Joe Biden would have to resign once a week," he said.

"And so I think Republicans shouldn’t rush to set a standard that the vice president of the Untied States would have no hope of meeting. I think we should be honest about that."

He said Akin has a 12-year record in Congress as a solid conservative while McCaskill has a six-year Senate record of "representing Barack Obama's liberals.

"This state deserves to have a senator from Missouri and not a senator from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Gingrich said. "I think it’s that simple and that straightforward, and I’m very honored to be here to help him.”

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