Akin, McCaskill Debate In Columbia

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(CNN) -- Rep. Todd Akin couldn't escape questions about his now-infamous comments on "legitimate rape" from August during a U.S. Senate debate Friday, deflecting the inquiry as tangential to the real issues his race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill should be about.

"I've answered this question repeatedly," Akin said. "I don't believe this election overall is about talk."

McCaskill, who was considered vulnerable in her bid for re-election before Akin made the comments about rape, said his remarks were an indication her rival was on the "fringe."

"This election's going to be quite a contrast for Missourians," McCaskill said. "But not because we're at opposite ends. I'm right in the middle, it's just he is so far out on the fringe, and that's where the contrast comes."

Akin's controversial comments, she said, were a "window to his views for Missourians."

"I believe his view is extreme and out of the mainstream," she continued, adding: "It's not what he said that's the problem, it's what he believes that's the problem."

In August, Akin came under fire for remarks that suggested pregnancy was rare in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." His comments caused widespread condemnation, including calls from fellow Republicans to withdraw as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri.

National Republican organizations, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee, said they wouldn't use resources to back Akin in his bid against McCaskill, a first term Democrat.

See the full debate here:

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