Akin, McCaskill release dueling ads in Missouri

"McCaskill voted with Obama 98 percent of the time," the Akin ad says, calling her the "deciding vote" on the healthcare reform law and charging her with failing to pay taxes on her private plane, while voting to raise taxes for Missourians.

The Akin spot comes just a day after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a $1.1 million statewide ad buy that slams the Republican for being out of touch with seniors on Social Security and "way out of Missouri's mainstream."

The fight is likely to escalate in the competitive Senate race, where McCaskill faces an uphill battle — the most recent polls have shown her trailing Akin — and it's clear that Akin won't let the incumbent get out too far ahead on the Medicare issue.

From McCaskill's camp comes an ad featuring Missouri students expressing concern about Akin's position on student loans. It's the second spot in a week that hammers the Republican over comments he made at a Senate candidate debate comparing student loans to stage three cancer, a focus that aims to make him seem extreme not only for students but for the state as a whole.

Akin's campaign has said previously that Democrats took his comments out of context, and that he's in favor of keeping student loan rates low, though last week the Akin campaign admitted it had no quibble with the factuality of a McCaskill site that showcased Akin's positions on a number of issues, including student loans.