President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney square off in Denver tonight in the first of their three scheduled televised debates. Host Don Marsh is joined by NPR Political Junkie Ken Rudin to talk about the importance of debates to the election process and what viewers should be looking for. We’ll also talk with Ken about some political races and issues closer to home.
Because a lot of states have already begun voting, Rudin said, “Romney needs to make a last first impression (in tonight’s debate) especially to the people who have not been paying attention up until now.”
Rudin added, “Right now, if I had to guess, because of looking at all the swing states it looks like Obama has a slight lead. If the Republicans keep the house, which I think they will, if the Democrats keep the Senate, which I think they will, what changes will happen in the next year and the next four years? I fear we are going to have more of the same.”
McCaskill vs. Akin
The U.S. Senate race in Missouri pits Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill against Republican Congressman Todd Akin. While Rudin believes McCaskill has the edge over Akin, he says the election will not be a walk in the park for McCaskill. One such controversy was over McCaskill’s private jet. In April, she said she would sell the plane after a series of damaging revelations. First she repaid the government $88,000 after she was criticized for reimbursing herself for use of the plane on official and political travel. Then she paid $287,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest to St. Louis County.
Republican Todd Akin has garnered national headlines during an interview on Fox2’s Jaco Report, as St. Louis Public Radio’s Adam Allington has reported.
Akin was asked if he would support abortion in cases when a woman was raped. He replied that pregnancies caused by rape are rare and that women have some kind of biological defense to prevent pregnancy in these situations.
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”