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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Negative Ad, a First for Akin, Goes Up in the Missouri Senate Race


After an ad released by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee criticized his positions on Social Security and Medicare, Representative Todd Akin is responding with an ad of his own that calls the attacks leveled on behalf of his opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill, “misleading, deceptive, false.”

The 30-second spot is the first negative ad released by Mr. Akin, who made a point of running only positive ads during the Republican primary race.

In the ad, a female narrator criticizes Ms. McCaskill for voting in favor of President Obama's health care plan and for failing to pay taxes on her private plane, calling it “the wrong way for Missouri.”

“It's sad to see Senator McCaskill immediately resort to false, negative attacks, but it's also not surprising because she has nothing to stand on when it comes to defending her very liberal record in Washington,” Ryan Hite, a spokesman for Mr. Akin, said in a statement.

Ms. McCaskill's proximity to Mr. Obama, for whom she campaigned during the last presidential election, could prove a liability in Missouri, which has trended more Republican since John McCain narrowly won the state in 2008. She is one of a handful of Democrats who will not attend her party's convention at the end of this month to spend more time on the campaign trail.

For Mr. Akin, the sole candidate who did not run negative ads during the three-way Republican primary race, the new television spot is a significant strategic shift toward negative campaigning. As recently as July 30, one week before the primary vote, Mr. Akin's campaign posted on Twitter, “Why doesn't Todd do negative ads? Because Missouri deserves better!”

In addition to criticizing Ms. McCaskill, the ad responds to charges leveled by her campaign that Mr. Akin would be a threat to Medicare and Social Security, saying that Mr. Akin “fights to protect and strengthen” those programs.

During the Republican primary, Mr. Akin said that he would support maintaining Social Security for older Americans, while phasing in a private option. In the past, he has called Social Security “a tax” on people who pay more into the program than they receive.

Mr. Akin's spokesman did not respond Tuesday to a request for further comment.