Akin embarks on statewide bus tour

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Missouri News Horizon (photo)

COLUMBIA, Mo. — With renewed support from some national conservatives, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin hit the campaign trail this week to reenergize supporters behind his embattled campaign.

About two dozen supporters showed up for a campaign event at the Republican Party “Victory” office in Columbia on Thursday. Earlier in the day, a couple supporters showed up for a campaign rally, turned press conference at the state capitol in Jefferson City.

The Jefferson City stop featured what will likely become yet another nationally known gaffe from Akin. Speaking with reporters, Akin criticized U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s tone during Friday’s debate as less “ladylike” than her debates six years ago.

“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and, apparently, Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike [in 2006], but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

On the stump in Columbia, Akin said the discussion in the race is a bigger decision than one between him and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, but a larger question of the future of the country.

“Are we going tot stand up for the country we have or turn it over to people who want to be like the European countries,” Akin asked a crowd in Columbia.

Akin went on to define his role in the race in religious terms.

“As long as we don’t forget the idea that we have a a creator,” he said, “we will be able to weather the difficult times as we have in the past.”

In fact, Akin’s pulled some help from above this week. Early in the week, Akin campaigned with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Republicans like former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum — an evangelical favorite — and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMitt — a favorite of Tea Party voters.

“More people are saying, ‘let’s not forget about Missouri,” Akin said.

Despite newfound support from national Republicans after a deadline for Akin to drop out of the race passed, it is unclear whether Akin’s fundraising will be able to compete with McCaskill’s. Speaking with reporters after the Columbia event, Akin said he was not sure it needs to.

“I don’t know that we need $10 million, which is where McCaskill is, but the money has been coming in well,” he said. “It has a grassroots feel.”

Beyond the small checks, some national groups, most notably DeMitt’s Senate Conservatives Fund, have pledged support for Akin’s campaign while larger groups like American Crossroads have remained relatively silent.

Akin, who spent last Tuesday in St. Louis and Wednesday in southwest Missouri, plans to wrap up his bus tour on Friday in Kansas City.