COLUMBIA — Rep. Todd Akin spoke to about 40 supporters at the Boone County Republican Headquarters on Thursday as part of his week-long Common Sense Bus Tour through the state.
The speaking tour, which runs through Friday, comes after Akin declined to drop out of his U.S. Senate race with Sen. Claire McCaskill after the final deadline to do so passed Tuesday. On Thursday, the Senate Conservative Fund, which announced it would not fund Akin's campaign after his controversial rape comments in August, reversed its decision, saying it would contribute $290,000 because "circumstances have changed."
Akin's comments Thursday, in which he highlighted his opposition to abortion and the federal health care law, resonated with supporters.
Aric Schreiner, managing member of accounting firm Columbia CPA Group LLC, said his primary concerns this election are abortion and the Second Amendment.
"You know, Todd's basically gotten A's on both those topics and Claire McCaskill's gotten an F," Schreiner said.
He also said he strongly disagreed with McCaskill's decision to approve Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination despite Kagan's lack of experience as a judge.
The economy is also a concern for Schreiner.
"Less government is the key to job growth," he said. "With Obamacare, the government just took over one-sixth of the GDP. I just think that's not less government; that's more government."
Tim Bartin, a homestead farmer, said Akin's religion is important.
"I'm a man of faith like he is, and it's very evident that that guides what he does," Bartin said.
Bartin serves on the Republican county committee and said he has been working with local groups in Boone County to rally support for Akin, though he still hasn't decided if he will donate to Akin's campaign. Bartin said he also supports Republican Mitch Richards in the 47th District Missouri House Race.
Akin's appearance in Columbia attracted opposition as well. About 20 protesters congregated on the West Business Loop sidewalk outside the county headquarters. They raised signs that read "women are watching" at passing vehicles.
"We're calling this the Nonsense Tour because everything he (Akin) has to say is a bunch of nonsense," Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Michelle Trupiano said. "And so we're here to show that the majority of Missourians actually do not agree with Todd Akin's positions, that we are paying attention, and we will be voting in November."
Trupiano said Akin should expect plenty of opposition at his stop in Kansas City, where he is scheduled to speak Friday.