Two of the three declared Republican candidates for the United State Senate try to out-conservative each other in their first debate–more than a month before filing for the office begins. Congressman Todd Akin and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman take part.  John Brunner skips this one…and will skip the next one….

Akin says he’s the best bet to oust Claire McCaskill.  Steelman sys she’s more likely to win in November.  Both say each presents a clear contrast to McCaskill.  Akin says he votes exactly the opposite way McCaskill does. Steelman says she and McCaskill are “polar opposites.”

Steelman says she’s better because she hasn’t spent 12 years in Washington, where “they’re irresponsible.” .Akin says he has voted against his party. He calls it “putting principle over party.”. 

Steelman says Akin was for President Bush’s Medicare Part B bill before he was against it.  Akin says Steelman would know–if she had done her homework–that he voted for the original House version of the bill but voted against the Senate version that had major changes he could not accept..

Steelman says Akin believes in earmarks. Akin says he believes in Congress retaining spending authority and not giving it to the executive branch–which eliminating aall earmarks would do.

The debate was sponsored by St. Louis radio station KTRS and The Beacon internet newspaper.Listen to the KTRS/Beacon debate 54:26 mp3