Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill began a second consecutive day of campaigning in Kansas City today with a stout defense of the federal minimum wage.
She said the issue is yet another example of how extreme her opponent, Republican Todd Akin, is because Akin opposes the law.
"I honesty never thought I'd be in a race for the Untied States Senate (against) someone in Missouri who believed we should abolish the minimum wage," she told reporters outside the offices of the Full Employment Council at 17th Street and the Paseo.
"We can argue about what the minimum wage should be," she said. "But you're hard-pressed to find very many people who don't believe the minimum wage is an important part of the middle class of this country."
This, she said, "is one of a long list of issues where Todd Akin is way out of the mainstream."
Rick Tyler, an Akin spokesman who watched the news conference, said afterwards that the priority now is to get people back to work, and the minimum wage often slows that process. When people get on the job, then other opportunities often open up for them.
He said Akin is "in the middle" of the political spectrum. McCaskill, he said, is a better fit for Massachusetts.
Tyler said the news today that the jobless rate had ticked up to 7.9 percent is another example of how Democratic policies, including the stimulus bill that McCaskill backed, have failed.
But McCaskill insisted that one reason America is looked up to is because of the minimum wage.
"If you look at why we are admired around the world, it is because of our freedoms, it is because of our rule of law, but it is also because of our standard of living," she said.
After the news conference, she traveled to an event in St. Joseph, but was scheduled to return to Kansas City this afternoon where she planned to knock on doors in her old Statehouse district south of the Plaza.