Akin defends his use of earmarks, while Steelman goes rogue with Palin
Amid all the attack ads flooding the airwaves, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin’s series of positive ads set him apart.
Akin’s latest ad, which began Tuesday, features the wife of a U.S soldier, who defends the congressman’s activities to put more armored vehicles in the field. It is aimed at defending him from the attacks over his support of congressional "earmarks," in which members of Congress secretly earmark money for certain uses in spending bills.
Says military spouse Leizl Darby in the ad: "Roadside bombs were killing our troops, the vehicles didn't have enough armor. Congressman Todd Akin went to Iraq, and after an investigation helped get newly armored vehicles to our troops."
"After getting the new armor, my husband's humvee was hit," she continues. "He's alive today because of Todd Akin. Now Todd Akin is being attacked for supporting what some call 'earmarks.' But just remember, that funding for armor saved my husbands life."
Actually, it was another congressman – not Akin – who inserted the earmark requiring the additional armored vehicles in 2003 or 2004, said Akin campaign spokesman Ryan Hite. What Akin did, he explained, was support the earmark and then lobby the Pentagon to get the vehicles on the ground in Iraq.
Darby’s husband, who is not pictured in the ad, is a friend of Akin’s son, Perry Akin, and served with him in Iraq. The ad shows Perry Akin with his father during the congressman’s 2005 trip to Iraq.
The ad is intended to blunt the attacks Akin has taken over earmarks from his Senate rivals – notably, from businessman John Brunner.
But the conservative Club for Growth is blasting Akin for running the ad.
“Earmarks and pork were the catalyst for an explosion in reckless government spending, including the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. While we have no issue with making sure our troops are protected, for every worthy project there are dozens of wasteful ones – and that’s exactly how the corrupt earmark process worked,”said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola.
“The Club for Growth PAC is disappointed that Congressman Akin, who otherwise scores highly on other issues of economic freedom, would defend a policy that directly leads to more government and wasteful spending. Earmarks are wrong, and Congressman Akin is wrong to defend them.”
Huckabee helps Akin counter attacks
Akin also has been running an ad that features former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who tells the viewer “don’t be fooled by negative attacks” on Akin. That ad doesn’t mention Brunner or the third major Republican running for the U.S. Senate, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman.
Akin also is the subject of an attack ad airing from the targeted Democratic incumbent, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Akin spokesman Hite said the congressman was committed not to running attack ads against Brunner or Steelman. “We are confident in the manner with which we are proceeding forward,’’ Hite said.
Akin’s campaign also is circulating a web ad in which Akin speaks directly into the camera and laments all the attacks from others in the contest.
Palin makes TV, phone pitch for Steelman
Meanwhile, Steelman also is shifting into a positive mode with an ad and automated phone calls featuring former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is endorsing Steelman.
In the TV ad, Palin lauds Steelman as a fellow “Mama Grizzly.”
“Sarah Steelman earned her reputation as a conservative maverick,” Palin says in the ad.
Brunner puts in more money
As for Brunner, he has put another $1.9 million into the contest in the final weeks, according to the last major campaign reports, filed this week with the Federal Election Commission.
A Brunner spokesman said that the candidate has now put in about $7 million of his own money into his Senate bid. Spokesman Todd Abrajano said Brunner had no choice because McCaskill and the Majority PAC, a national Democratic group, are running ads attacking him.