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As deadline to drop out nears, McCaskill steps up attacks on Akin

(Akin: UPI Bill Greenblatt/McCaskill: Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill)

After weeks of focusing on her image as a moderate Democrat who isn't afraid of compromise, Senator Claire McCaskill stepped up the attack on her opponent in November's Election, Congressman Todd Akin.

In a speech to Democrats in Callaway County, the Senator touched on a variety of issues to incite Democratic voters. One topic that garnered the most applause (and laughter) from the audience was student loans.

"I've had three 17 year olds, and I wouldn't loan money to any of them," McCaskill said, earning some laughter from the crowd. "If there isn't the federal government standing behind student loans, who's going to loan money to a 17 year old whose parents don't have money? So who goes to college in that world? Just the rich kids, some talented athletes and a few superstars academically."

Todd Akin has been criticized before for calling federal student loans a "stage 3 cancer of socialism."  He recently took a step back from those statements, saying he's not against student loans, he just doesn't think it's a good idea for the federal government to do it entirely and not let the private sector in.

McCaskill also criticized Akin for an interview where he couldn't state what the minimum wage is. In an interview with KMOX, Akin couldn't definitively say what the federal minimum wage is, but he felt as though it were "somewhere in that 6 or 7 range." The current minimum wage is $7.25.

McCaskill took the opportunity on Sunday to pounce on that statement.

"My opponent didn't know what the minimum wage was, but he knew it was too high," McCaskill said. "And then he went one step further and said we should abolish it completely."

Although McCaskill has made criticisms of her opponent earlier, this marked the first step toward taking the gloves off in the campaign -- and the timing is not coincidental. McCaskill has been clear that she wants Akin to stay in the race. But now that the deadline for dropping out nears closer, the Senator is stepping up the attack.

If Akin were to drop out, he would most likely have to do it within the next few days. Ballots will be mailed to overseas military on Friday, and for that to happen, those ballots will have to be printed soon. On Friday, McCaskill tweeted a picture of an early ballot -- a ballot in which Akin is on the ticket.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel

  • See more stories on issues and elections from St. Louis Public Radio, the St. Louis Beacon and Nine Network of Public Media at BeyondNovember.org.