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U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri, speaks Saturday during a forum at a Republican conference in Kansas City. Also participating were John Brunner, left, and Sarah Steelman.

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Senate hopefuls tout different backgrounds

GOP debate remains cordial until end

Formally debating for the first time, Missouri’s three Republican U.S. Senate candidates sought to distinguish themselves by highlighting their differing backgrounds Saturday while joining as a team to criticize President Barack Obama’s policies on the economy, health care and national defense.

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