To: Interested Parties
From: Matt Thornton, Senior Communications Adviser, American Bridge 21st Century
RE: The record Todd Akin wants you to forget
With Todd Akin’s stumble across the finish line in Missouri’s GOP primary tonight, The Republican party has nominated a candidate whose views are way outside the mainstream, and lacks the commonsense to make our government work for the people. From favoring a government default to his opposition to Medicare, Akin has proven his view fall far afield of most Missourians.
These major flaws will prove problematic when he attempts to appeal to the broader general electorate. Once voters hear about his visceral plan to dismantle Social Security and Medicare, while supporting the Paul Ryan budget which gives major tax breaks to the wealthy, they will see him for what he is: a hyper-partisan more interested in rigid ideology than helping the citizens of Missouri.
Secondly, he is an unabashed big spender when using the Taxpayer’s credit card. He even went so far as to run a campaign ad touting pork he had secured. When compared with McCaskill’s leadership on earmark reform, Akin’s defense of government largesse will prove a difficult pill for voters to swallow.
Akin “Hewed Firmly To His Far-Right Philosophy” As Member Of Congress.“Even as Republicans face a toxic political climate and abandon the president and the party leadership to move to the center, Akin has hewed firmly to his far-right philosophy. At the same time, he has refused to oppose earmarks even as the cause has gained popularity. Indeed, the former Army combat engineer and Boy Scout leader has cut an independent profile during his four terms in the House… Congressional Quarterly’s political almanac writes that Akin ‘could be the poster child for the American Conservative Union’ and describes his legislative agenda last Congress as ‘a veritable wish list of the Republican right…’ Akin demonstrated early on that he’s not easily swayed. In 2001, when President George W. Bush’s top domestic initiative, the broad education initiative called No Child Left Behind, came to the House floor, Akin voted no because he feared federal intrusion into local school issues. Akin resisted Bush again on adding a prescription drug program to Medicare, despite a late-night phone call from the president as the bill’s fate hung in the balance. Akin says he doesn’t think of himself as a politician, despite 20 years in elective office.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/2/08]
Akin Attacked Social Security And Medicare, Urged Spending Cuts In Programs. “Akin was the most blunt: ‘Back off of the ‘red tape,’ back off of the taxes, stop the regulation of the banks.’ ‘We’ve created a toxic atmosphere for business,’ the congressman continued, adding that it stemmed in part because the federal government has ‘promised too much stuff.’ He singled out Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SCHIP (the health care plan for children) and food stamps, saying all consume way too much in federal resources. ‘We’re overtaxing the people who work and overpaying the people who don’t work,’ Akin said.” [St. Louis Beacon, 3/30/12]
Akin Questioned Constitutionality Of Medicare. “Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said Saturday that he believes Medicare might be unconstitutional, and that climate change science is ‘highly suspect.’ The six-term congressman — who is vying for the GOP nomination to challenge incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2012 — said at a town hall meeting with Tea Party activists that the medical plan for seniors and the disabled was too expensive, and explained a vote against the prescription drug benefit as ‘expanding an entitlement I wasn’t too comfortable with to begin with.’ In an interview later with the Columbia Daily Tribune, Akin said, ‘I don’t find in the Constitution that it is the job of the government to provide healthcare.’“ [The Hill,9/6/11]
Akin Called Medicare “Broken,” Proposed Trade-Off Of Medicare Cuts For Increased Defense Spending. “Medicare took a hit from both Graves and Akin when they were answering questions. Graves said ‘mandatory spending,’ including the government health care coverage for senior citizens, is ‘out of control’ and must be reined in. Akin said Medicare is ‘broken’ and should be cut to pay for defense, including medical care for military veterans.” [Springfield News-Leader, 2/10/08]
Akin Defended Practice Of Congressional Earmarking, Portrayed It As Constitutional Responsibility. “Mr. Akin took exception to her claim that he served in Washington during a period of budget excesses. ‘Some people have been there and have been fighting for years based on principle over party,’ he said. ‘That has been my consistent record, and to paint me as an insider is kind of a historical twist.’ The congressman said he has rejected arm-twisting by President George W. Bush and defended budget earmarking (opposed by Ms. Steelman) as an extension of a lawmaker’s constitutional duty to appropriate money. ‘I will not give up the U.S. Constitution for any particular political wind or fancy,’ he said.” [St. Joseph News Press, 1/10/12]
Akin Blamed Medicare And Medicaid For Federal Deficit, Defended Earmarks.“Earmarks, the much-criticized pet projects of Congress, don’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Missouri and Illinois lawmakers helped snag more than $1.6 billion in federal money for 473 projects last year, according to an analysis of data released Wednesday by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog group… Similarly, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, said earmarks were a ‘convenient whipping boy’ in the debate about out-of-control spending but that the real budget busters are entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. He said he had no plans to change his approach to earmark requests, saying that as long as the process is aboveboard, spending items are fully vetted by the congressional committees.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2/14/08]
Akin Requested $5.4 Million Earmark For Company Whose Executives Had Contributed $14,000 To His Re-Election Campaign. “More than a year after Congress pledged to curb pork barrel funding known as earmarks, lawmakers are gearing up for another spending binge, directing billions toward organizations and companies in their home districts… Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), for instance, requested a $4 million earmark for Digital Fusion, a company whose executives have recently donated $18,000 to the lawmaker. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) also inserted a $5.4 million earmark for Clean Earth Technologies, whose executives have donated $14,000 to him. Vincent Perez, a spokesman for Reyes, said, ‘The congressman’s appropriations projects are carefully vetted to ensure they are consistent with the needs and interests of his constituency, and there is no connection between his fundraising efforts and his work in Congress.’ Akin’s office said his earmark was for developing imaging technology that ‘would be a huge step forward in force protection.” [Washington Post, 6/13/08]
Akin Opposed Boehner Debt Ceiling Bill, Advocated Forcing Government Default To “Increase The Pressure” For Balanced Budget Amendment.“Boehner’s analysis might apply to the thinking of Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, who intends to oppose Boehner’s plan… Akin said he came to his decision both for philosophical and strategic reasons. Akin said he believes dramatic changes are needed to curb what he calls ‘radical deficit spending’ that has gotten so pronounced that many of government’s normal functions are supported by borrowing. ‘I do believe that if we go past Aug. 2 or Aug 10 or whatever the real date is, it does increase the pressure, and the public is going to be looking at these questions all the more. What it’s going to do is force us to consider the magnitude of the problem and, I think in that environment, there’s more chance for a balanced budget amendment to pass,’ said Akin, a candidate for Missouri’s GOP Senate nomination.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/27/11]