A first-thing-in-the-morning rally at Union Station for Todd Akin today drew nearly as many protestors as it did backers of the Republican Senate candidate.
About 60 protestors toting signs such as "Akin: No on School Lunches" and "Apology Not Accepted" crowded in behind a crowd of about 75 pro-Akin supporters inside Union Station's North Waiting Room.
They made some noise, but not enough to overpower a pair of speakers that broadcast speeches from Akin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 5th District congressional candidate Jacob Turk and others.
But the protest signaled that Akin's campaign continues to be mired in controversy just six days before election day.
Meantime, the campaign of Akin's Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill, announced that she would make three stops in the St. Louis area this afternoon to discuss issues facing seniors, veterans and working families. The stops would mark McCaskill's first since her mother, Betty Anne McCaskill, died Monday afternoon.
As he did on Tuesday, Gingrich offered spirited support for Akin, calling Akin a dependable conservative and saying the election of Akin would send the GOP establishment a clear signal that it cannot dictate candidates to individual states. GOP leaders, including Mitt Romney, urged Akin to withdraw from the race after the primary after Akin's comments about "legitimate rape."
Akin has apologized for the remarks.
"The choice could not be bigger in the Senate race," Gingrich said. "Missouri needs a senator who represents Missouri."
Akin started his remarks by saying: "What a beautiful sunrise. It's a great day to be free."
He insisted that the country remains strongly anti-abortion. "We as a people say, `You are important. And why are you important? Because God made you, and you're special.'"
Akin called the pursuit of happiness "the most beautiful thing of all" and said "every day is another adventure in your life."
Later today, Akin is scheduled to campaign in Richmond and Jefferson City. In a change of plans, an aide said Akin may return to the Kansas City area on Saturday. The aide had said Tuesday that the Union Station rally would be the campaign's last stop in KC.