Embattled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin was warmly received Saturday by attendees of a Kansas City forum dedicated to “Bringing America Back to God.”
Afterward, he said his quest to bring Missouri’s Claire McCaskill back to the private sector was picking up support, despite many GOP leaders’ efforts to distance themselves from him.
“Today, J.C. Watts is coming on board,” Akin said, referring to the former U.S. congressman and college football star from Oklahoma.
Janet Huckabee, the wife of conservative commentator and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, is among women scheduled to campaign across Missouri this week on behalf of Akin.
Akin spoke to about 60 people gathered in an auditorium at the National World War I Museum. The forum, sponsored by a group called Preserving American Liberty, explored faith and government.
“It’s hard to get God out” of government, Akin said, “because God goes pretty much where he wants to, doesn’t he?”
Citing the Declaration of Independence, Akin said: “God himself granted us life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those things don’t come from the Supreme Court, nor the president, nor Congress. Those things come directly from God.”
The event included a presentation by author David Barton, former co-chairman of the Texas Republican Party. Barton founded WallBuilders, promoting the view that the United States Constitution does not require a separation of church and state.
Rules of the conference restricted Akin from making a campaign pitch. But touching on his decision to remain the GOP nominee against Democrat McCaskill, Akin said: “I know this is the right thing to do. Count me on the right side.”
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, among others, had urged that Akin step out of the campaign after he said in a TV interview that victims of “legitimate rape” had the biological means to ward off pregnancy. Akin apologized and recanted.
Since then he has drawn support from Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, two of Romney’s rivals for the nomination.
Earlier this month, Akin faced more criticism for repeatedly failing to disclose state pension income on congressional financial disclosure reports. After learning of what Akin called an “unintentional oversight,” he filed amended reports.