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On the square in Clinton, Missouri. Todd Akin’s (r) senate campaign now comes complete with protesters and their signs.

Think of it as political Missouri’s version of a Greek chorus for 2012.

Todd Akin spoke at locally organized open candidate forum in downtown Clinton, Missouri this evening. From his campaign it was advertised as one of the stops on his bus tour across the state. Candidates or their surrogates from several parties on the ballot were given three minutes to speak and two minutes to answer questions from the audience.

Before the candidate forum.

The transcript of Todd Akin’s question and answer session:

Todd Akin (r): ….I’ve been told that we can do two minutes of questions. Who wants to be first? Yes, sir.

Question: You voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I think everybody knows that. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?

Todd Akin (r): Well, first of all, the, the premise of your question is, is that I’m making that, that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If somebody wants to hire somebody and they agree on salary that’s fine, however it wants to work. And, uh, so the government sticking it’s nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble. Government decided they’re gonna get into the home mortgage business, created the huge economic mess we’ve got. Government decides it’s now it’s gonna take over one sixth of the economy in Obamacare. Look, we’re burning through a trillion something dollars that, that we don’t have because the federal government’s trying to get itself into, in telling everybody how to live their lives. And I just don’t think the federal government should be doing that. I think that is just best left to common sense of the people of our state. Yes, question in the back.

Question: Yes, I find it interesting that, that you don’t want the government deciding what to do for you, but you do want the government deciding what women can do and can’t do with their bodies.

Todd Akin (r): Well, you know, uh, that’s a, a subject that’s been debated quite a fair amount, hasn’t it? And, of course, you’re begging the question, and, uh, I’ve never apologized for the fact that I’m pro life. And being pro life means the baby has a vote, too. Thanks. [applause] Anything else?

Any other questions? Man, I can take that last minute and roll on about something else. Good. Well, thank you all very much. It’s been a treat joining you tonight. Thanks for fitting me in. And, um, I look forward to your support in the, uh, race coming up. I’ll tell you, things going very well, we’ve had, uh, uh, we had, uh, let’s see, uh, just heard from, uh, well, Santorum has just came on board, uh, and is gonna be coming into the state. And the same thing, uh, with, uh, Jim DeMint, uh, of course Mike Huckabee has been solid with us and, uh, you’ve got a bunch of other people as well, so, kind of keep tuned and you’ll [Akin staffer: “Pat.”] see some people you can say [inaudible]. [applause]

Yes, Todd Akin (r) was having another not so good, very bad day.