Every year, politicians descend on the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia to attend the Governor’s Ham Breakfast and woo voters, and almost every year someone says something controversial.
This year was no exception.
Second District U.S. Congressman Todd Akin, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, was talking with reporters about his opposition to spending hikes for food stamps and other programs in the federal Farm Bill when he was asked what he thought about school lunch programs.
“Well, there’s another good question: who should be doing that?" Akin said. "I (ask), 'is it something the federal government should do?'”
When asked how he would answer that, he replied: “I answer it ‘no'...I say, why not do it at the state level?”
Akin then added: "I think the federal government should be out of the education business; I think that's something that should be done at the state level. I used to be a state legislator...states can handle education stuff fine, (and the) federal government doesn't really add any value."
Akin later amended his comments, saying that he’s not opposed to school lunches – he just questions the way the federal government handles programs, including that one. He has since come under fire from Democrat Claire McCaskill, who he’s trying to oust from the U.S. Senate. Several fairgoers, when asked, said they thought Washington should keep funding school lunches. Donna Smiley of Versailles is a school teacher who sides with Republicans on most issues, but disagrees with Akin’s stance.
“I see kids every day that are in need of food, not only food, but lots of other things," Smiley said. "As far as it goes I guess it’s the responsibility of the government – if the state’s not going to, I think the federal government definitely should.”
Akin has been opposing the federal Farm Bill in Congress, saying it would pour too much money into food stamps and other so-called entitlement programs.