President Obama today slammed Missouri Republican Rep.Todd Akin, one of three GOP Senate hopefuls in the Show-Me State, for comparing the government's student loan program to “stage three cancer.”
The president did not mention Akin, a suburban St. Louis congressman, by name. But he told an audience at the University of Iowa:
"You've got one member of congress who compared these student loans – I'm not kidding here - to a 'stage three cancer of socialism.' Stage three cancer! I don't know where to start. What do you mean? What are you talking about? Come on. Just when you think you’ve heard it all in Washington, somebody comes up with a new way to go off the deep end.”
In a statement following Obama's comments today, Akin said: "The President’s attack mischaracterizes my comments. The cancer infecting our society today is not student loans themselves, but the massive expansion of federal government into every sector of private business. From Obamacare to the failed stimulus, and from Freddie and Fannie to student loans, this administration has consistently trampled private business and our personal freedoms to expand the power of the federal government. The President’s comments today show the deep divide between our philosophies of government..."
At a Republican Senate candidates' forum In Missouri last weekend with fellow contenders John Brunner and Sarah Steelman, Akin said that the government should not be involved in the student loan business.
"America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in,” he said, according to the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune.
Obama was winding up his two-day of tour of college campuses where he has pushed for a freeze in the interest rate on subsidized federal student loans, which will otherwise double in costs on July 1, rising from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The White House has said that would mean an additional $1,000 to what loan recipients owe.
Obama made his remark just one state away from where one of the top Senate races in the country is playing out. Besides helping his own cause in stumping for the lower student loan rates, the president's jab at Akin could benefit Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill as well. She will face the winner of the Akin-Steelman-Brunner primary race in the fall.