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Rep. Akin hounded over 'cancer' answer on student loans

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Rep. W. Todd Akin’s connection of cancer to the federal student-loan program is coming back to haunt the Missouri Republican in his U.S. Senate bid, as he lashed back against a new round of attack ads that Sen. Claire McCaskill, his Democratic opponent, began Tuesday.

In her ongoing quest to pare back Mr. Akin’s edge in the race by portraying him as a conservative extremist, Mrs. McCaskill highlighted remarks Mr. Akin made during a GOP debate last spring.

“America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in,” Mr. Akin said in a wide-ranging response to a question about the federal student-loan program.

Mr. Akin held an 11-point lead over Mrs. McCaskill in a SurveyUSA poll released Monday.

The McCaskill ad features college students who imply that Mr. Akin isn’t on their side.

“Todd Akin’s positions are not only outside Missouri’s mainstream, but they’d have a devastating impact on Missouri’s students and families,” McCaskill spokesman Erik Dorey said.

President Obama also has mocked Mr. Akin’s comments to University of Iowa students.

But the Akin campaign leapt to the defensive on Tuesday, pointing out that Mr. Akin voted earlier this year for a House bill to keep student loan rates from being increased in July.

“Senator McCaskill has spent the last four years following President Obama’s lead in Washington, so it’s no surprise that she’s now parroting his false attacks on the campaign trail,” Akin spokesman Ryan Hite said.

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