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9:08 am
Tue June 12, 2012

GOP Senate debate sticks close to party themes

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 5:48 pm

The three Republicans vying for the right to challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November didn't stray far from the party's script at a debate in St. Charles last night.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, and businessman John Brunner all pledged to cut federal agencies and programs to reduce the country's deficit.

"I think the first one that just from an emotional point that jumps out at me is the Department of Education," Akin said. "It isn't constitutional."

Constitutionality was one of the criteria Steelman said she would consider.

"I'd go through every single program that exists," she said. "Cut it out if it's wasteful. If it's not constitutional, it goes. If it can be done better at the state or local level, that's what you push it down to."

Brunner said he would focus on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"If the Supreme Court doesn't rule on that properly, as a U.S. senator, I would lead the charge to ensure that that program is cut," he said.

The candidates mostly kept the fire on President Obama and Democrats, though Steelman accused Akin of failing to take action to slash the deficit during his 11 years in Washington. Akin countered that he's always supported measures to cut spending, but the GOP lacks the votes.

The debate at Lindenwood University was organized by talk radio station 97.1 FM.

Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd

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