As Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-Mo.) tried to downplay his comments about "legitimate rape" in a debate with Claire McCaskill on Friday, the incumbent Democratic senator responded that Akin's beliefs are more troubling than his comments.
"I think Congressman Akin's comments opened the window to his views for Missourians," she said. "He has apologized for those comments, but they say a lot about how he views things ... I believe a rape victim should be allowed to have emergency contraception to avoid pregnancy. Todd Akin does not. I believe his view is extreme and out of the mainstream."
McCaskill then pointed to Akin's votes to privatize Medicare and Social Security as well as his calls to end federal school lunch programs. "It's not what he said that's the problem, it's what he believes that's the problem," she said, referring to his views on those issues as well as on rape.
Akin said in August that he believes victims of "legitimate rape" have mechanisms in their bodies that prevent them from getting pregnant. When the moderator asked him on Friday how much that comment should matter in this election, Akin said it shouldn't matter at all.
"I've answered this question repeatedly, and I don't believe that this election overall is about talk," he said. "It's really about two visions of what America is. Are we gonna go down the path of Greece, that constantly has a bigger government ... or are we gonna go the path America has always been on where we allow freedom ... and the American Dream to flourish?"
Akin said McCaskill was going to have to defend the fact that she has voted with President Barack Obama "98 percent of the time."
"This election is not about words," he said. "It's about two different voting records that are the exact opposite."