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Todd Akin, the embattled Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, is in trouble again after telling the audience at a town hall that he opposes the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because employers should have the freedom to discriminate.

In response to an audience member’s question at a town hall on Thursday, he explained his rationale in voting against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bill passed by President Obama on January 29, 2009, ensuring equal pay for men and women doing the same work. Akin’s response? Freedom:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?

AKIN: Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I’m making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom [emphasis mine]. If someone wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.

Basically, Akin’s whole argument is that employers should be able to freely discriminate against their employees in whatever way they see fit.

Akin has had a tough time disguising his misogynistic and misinformed views on women. He burst into the national spotlight when he argued that women have a yet-to-be-discovered biological mechanism that shuts down a pregnancy in the event of a “legitimate rape.”

On Thursday, Akin said his opponent, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, had been more “ladylike” in her 2006 campaign against Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO).

Having put off droves of female voters with his “legitimate rape” comments, Akin struggled to remake his “pro-women” image. On his website, under the “women” subsection of his campaign, Akin posted a photograph of himself with three women with a banner that reads “I’m A Women [sic] and  I Support Todd!”

Ironically, one of the three women in the photograph is in reality a “tracker” for the Missouri Democratic Party. Her job is to attend the Republican candidate’s public events and then report back to her party. Todd Akin, it appears, could not even gather three female supporters for a photo-op to prove that he is for women’s rights.

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