Todd Akin's Friday train wreck

Todd Akin says he opposes the Lily Ledbetter Act and generally has a bad day

Published September 28, 2012 8:37PM (EDT)

Todd Akin celebrated his tentative return to the GOP fold with several cringe-worthy or hilarious moments, depending on your political outlook.

First, a video that surfaced today shows Akin at a recent campaign event where he's asked why he voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which prevents gender discrimination in pay. "Why do you think it is OK for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?" an audience member asked.

"Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I'm making that particular distinction," Akin replied. "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 someone wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that's fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble."

Yesterday, Akin got into another spot of trouble when he said that Claire McCaskill was more "ladylike" during her 2006 campaign. Today, he explained those remarks, "We've got a couple words in the English language, one is a gentleman and a lady," Akin said. "I think those are pretty self-explanatory terms, and I was using them just as the English language uses those terms. So, you know, it seems that some people want to take offense at words. It seems to me the offensive thing is the voting record that's destructive to the people of our state."

Then, from the department of unfortunate analogies, Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway compared her client, Akin, to David Koresh, the Waco, Texas, cult leader whose standoff with the ATF resulted in around 80 deaths. At first, "It was like the Waco with David Koresh situation where they’re trying to smoke him out with the SWAT teams and the helicopters and the bad Nancy Sinatra records," Conway said of the backlash against Akin. But then, "You realize the guy’s not coming out of the bunker. Listen, Todd has shown his principle to the voters."

And finally, Akin greeted a reporter from London with, "Top of the morning to you."


By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

MORE FROM Jillian Rayfield

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2012 Elections Claire Mccaskill Lily Ledbetter Missouri Todd Akin