ST. LOUIS | Republican Senate hopeful John Brunner offered the faintest of praise for the president's health care plan at a forum Friday with his rivals for the GOP nomination.
There are "certain attributes that are good in this plan," Brunner said at a downtown event sponsored by the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association.
Later in the forum, Brunner made a point to say "we need to repeal" President Barack Obama's proposal to expand health care coverage, now the subject of Supreme Court scrutiny.
When asked what portions of the president's health care plan were good or he would keep intact, Brunner suggested he liked "portability" and the portion that allows young adults to remain on their parent's coverage.
"Benefits, by definition, are good," Brunner said. "I think the issue is how are those benefits managed and delivered."
He added: "Everyone loves benefits. No one's against benefits."
"The thing is a disaster and needs to be thrown out," Akin said.
Even with the slight differences on healthcare rhetoric, it was tough Friday to find much separation on the issues between the three contenders to take on Democrat Claire McCaskill in the fall.
In Friday's debate -- which allowed for no direct interaction between the candidates -- Akin demonstrated his knowledge of the issues accumulated in a decade in Congress, while Steelman appeared most comfortable relaying a story from her father-in-law, former state party chairman Dorman Steelman.
When she was elected to the state Senate, she said, Dorman told her not to cede her principles for the sake of politics or convenience.
"Because guess what?" Steelman said. "One day you wake up and realize that all those battles you went up there to fight have passed you by."