Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is leading a host of prominent Missouri Republicans, past and present, who are headlining a Sept. 27 statewide blitz of fundraising events on behalf of GOP state auditor nominee Tom Schweich.

Schweich said today he hopes to raise $500,000 over the day, which includes a breakfast in Kansas City, a lunch in Springfield, Mo., and dinner in St. Louis.

In Missouri's increasingly bitter contest for the U.S. Senate, Republican Roy Blunt is bringing in some big guns while Democrat Robin Carnahan is countering with a big shot.

Blunt, a congressman from southwest Missouri, is traveling around outstate Missouri on Friday with top officials with the National Rifle Association as part of an apparent move to elevate the social-issue planks like gun rights that help energize conservative Republicans -- especially in rural Missouri.

The day after President Barack Obama gave a major speech on Iraq, all of the major political events on Wednesday were focused on -- jobs.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley headlined a packed business luncheon in Clayton hosted by the county's Economic Council, and featuring a bipartisan array of politicians in the audience or on screen. (A special video narrated by Dooley, a Democrat, honored retiring U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.)

Former state Sen. Betty Sims, R-Ladue, has been named by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, to the state's Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Sims held the 24th District state Senate post from 1995-2003, when she had to step down because of term limits. She was succeeded by Democrat Joan Bray, who also is leaving after this year because of term limits. (The 24th District has the region's only competitive state Senate this fall, between Democrat Barbara Fraser and Republican John Lamping.)

Republican state auditor nominee Tom Schweich has reported his first hefty donation since winning his party's nod a month ago. David Humphreys, co-owner of Tamko Building Products in Joplin, wrote a check to Schweich this week for $50,000.

Humphreys had given Schweich $10,000 during his primary battle against state Rep. Allen Icet of Wildwood.

If current political advertising is a sign of the finger-pointing to come, it appears that some candidates -- most notably the non-incumbents -- are taking a page from Bill Clinton's now infamous campaign dogma about the importance of the ailing economy, but with a twist.

With all due respect, it's the bailout, stupid.

Does the figure $700 billion come to mind?

Pre-speech predictions that President Barack Obama's Iraq address Tuesday night was aimed primarily at his political base appeared to be borne out -- with area Democrats initially offering the only comments shortly before and after his speech.

The silence from most Republicans may have reflected their need to mull over his comments or a decision to continue their focus on other issues -- most notably, the continued troubled economy. The one GOP exception was U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield and Missouri's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka offered a rousing endorsement today of Missouri's Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, Robin Carnahan, and laid out the stakes of this fall's election in graphic terms for the state and national labor movement.

"The party of 'No' doesn't want your vote," Trumka told several hundred state labor leaders gathered at the downtown Renaissance hotel for their annual statewide AFL-CIO convention. "All they want you to do is stay home out of frustration."

As President Barack Obama prepares to announce the official end of U.S. combat in Iraq, several St. Louis area residents expressed concerns about the cost, in both lives and dollars, of the effort to bring democracy to that Middle East country.

Allen Hill, a Vietnam War veteran from Festus, is leery of the real reason the United States is ending its military operations in Iraq.

President Barack Obama's explanation to be delivered on television Tuesday night -- that it's now time for the Iraqis to defend themselves -- sounds to Hill a lot like what then-President Richard M. Nixon said in 1975, when the U.S. ended military action in Vietnam.

The national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is finally swooping into Missouri with a TV ad aimed at helping Democratic nominee Robin Carnahan by bashing her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt.

Respondents of a recent Real Clear Politics Poll indicated that 50.7 percent of Americans disapprove of the job that President Obama is doing, and 61.4 percent expressed the belief that the country is on the wrong track. Similarly, an Associated Press poll released on Aug. 16, 2010, showed that only 32 percent of independents agree with the Democratic policies of the current government, down from 52 percent of independents who supported a Democratic led government at the last election.

In 1964, when Mr. Akin and I were 17, the movie "Seven Days in May" was released. Starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, it is the story of an attempted military coup in the United States following the president signing a treaty with the then Soviet Union. While the movie is not considered a classic, it may have had as profound an effect on the thinking of presidents and members of Congress as any film over the past 60 years.

The Missouri Democratic Party owns up to two special websites -- theveryworstofwashington.com and favorofthemonth.com -- set up solely to highlight what it views as the failings of the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Roy Blunt.

As Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is being bombarded with negative TV attack ads, the Missouri Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against one of the sources.

America is a peace-loving nation. — George W. Bush

My parents were born in the decade following WW I -- also known as "The Great War," "The War to Make the World Safe for Democracy" or "The War to End All Wars." Their children were born in the decades following WW II -- an armed conflagration of global proportions that demonstrated that the first one hadn't ended wars, after all.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, on Tuesday clarified her position on the Bush tax cuts by saying that she eventually may support a phaseout of tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans once the economy was back on track.

"It's a matter of timing. Right now is not the time to do this," Carnahan said in an interview after she had addressed members of the Missouri National Education Association in a tele-town hall held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley's re-election campaign announced today that it is agreeing to one debate, moderated by the League of Women Voters and televised throughout the region.

"A television debate that everyone can see," said campaign manager John Temporiti, adding that he hoped such a debate would be viewed on the Web as well as on broadcast television.

The timing of such a debate would be up to the League, he added.

The two current lines of attack lobbed at Missouri's two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate -- Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan -- both revolve around the same word: Deceit.

He's accused of misrepresenting his role and votes in the federal bank bailout, while she's under fire for switching her stances on the Bush tax cuts.

Missouri voters are likely to hear a lot about both issues as the Senate race heads into its final two-month stretch.

In 1982, Ronald Reagan signed into law both the Highway Revenue Act and the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TERFA). The Highway Act raised gasoline and trucking industry taxes. And with a yield of about 1 percent of the gross domestic product, TERFA is commonly viewed as the largest tax increase in peace time American history.

But 1982 was just a start in that Reagan initialed new tax increases every year from 1982-87. His 1983 social security tax hikes are still being implemented today.