Akin's school-lunch funding comment draws controversy

Aug 17, 2012

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. And this year was no exception.

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? I say is it something the federal government should do? ... I answer it ‘no,’ I say why not do it at the state level.”

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…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 later amended the comment, 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 US Senate.