After attending yesterday morning’s Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia Senator Claire McCaskill made a campaign stop at the Fick Seed Co. in Kingsville to meet with voters. She spoke at length on agriculture policy and legislation and took questions.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) at the Fick Seed Co. in Kingsville, Missouri.
After speaking with the voters in attendance Senator McCaskill spoke with the media:
Question: Okay, I wanted to ask you, uh, you answered almost every question I had concerning the rural farm bill, uh, except one. What would happen if food stamps would be separated out from the farm bill?
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): I think we’d have a hard time getting it through the House.
Senator McCaskill: ‘Cause you have so many urban, um, members of Congress that don’t understand or realize how important the farm bill is and vice versa. Uh, you’ve got some folks from very rural areas, um, that, that don’t probably appreciate, um, why the food stamp bill is important. I think the better thing to do is us to continue to do what we did in this farm bill, and that was we cut food stamps, we reduced the deficit by twenty-three billion, and still provided that certainty and predictability and crop insurance and shallow loss program that farmers need to keep our food prices stable. Uh, so, you know it’s just a fascinating thing to me that we would have the kind of bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and yet the Republicans are blocking this bill in the House and keeping it from coming for a vote…
…Question: Well, based on the majority of the majority, certainly not a majority overall in the, uh, House that’s opposed to this.
Senator McCaskill: No, there’s not. That’s just it, I mean, if Speaker [John] Boehner would put the Senate bill on the floor it would pass. Um, and, and, but, he is, um, I think they did that because Speakers want to hold on to their job as Speaker and the Republican caucus elects him. And I think he’s trying to keep the tea party happy, he’s trying to keep Congressman Akin and, and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler happy by, uh, by not voting on the Senate farm bill. But if he would allow it to come to a vote we’d have a farm bill before the end of September, we’d have retroactive help to our livestock producers, and we’d have certainty for twenty thirteen in terms of what our producers can plan for next year. And I’m hoping, I’m hoping that we’ll get that done in September. If we don’t I’ll be the one that’s out there fighting to get a stand alone, uh, relief for the livestock producers, but not at the expense of the livestock producers, which is what the House did with their stand alone help they did at the eleventh hour.
Question: All right, well, I know we’re not a small college at UCM [University of Central Missouri], but, if you want to do your college tour.
Senator McCaskill: We’re gonna be there.
Question: Uh, okay.
Senator McCaskill: That’s one of our stops.
Question: All right.
Senator McCaskill: That’s one of our stops.
Question: [inaudible] with Reuters. We’re looking at a new poll out recently showing you down about eleven points, down pretty significantly against Akin here in Missouri, you. What’s your sense of why that might be?
Senator McCaskill: Well, first of all, I, um, a poll showed, uh, Congressman Akin seventeen points down a week before the election and he won by five. So I think if I do my math right that poll was twenty-two points off. Um, so I don’t think Congressman Akin is, uh, uh, is, uh, counting too much on that poll. And the weird thing about that poll is something internally is off. Um, there is no way that Barack Obama is behind by one point [Question: “Okay.”] and I’m behind by eleven. [Question: “Okay.”] There’s not a lot of Akin Obama voters. [Question: “Okay.”] [laugh]
Question: Do you feel, though, that Akin is a particularly tough candidate, maybe tougher than you were expecting here in Missouri? Are you getting any sense [crosstalk] of that yet.
Senator McCaskill: I, I don’t think Missouri really knows Todd Akin yet. [Question: “Okay.”] Um, I think they don’t realize that he wants to privatize Medicare, that he wants to privatize Social Security, and that he wants to abolish student loans, uh, and abolish the minimum wage. Uh, those are way out of the mainstream and I think as people learn about him and his view. He’s a pleasant man and he’s sincere, but his views are not pleasant for Missouri families and, and for our seniors. And so, I think once that, most of Missouri doesn’t know Todd Akin very well, and so once we have a chance to educate them on his record and his views I think this race will be like all Missouri races, it’ll be a nail biter and it will go down to the wire.
Question: Do you think that this issue with, um, aid for, uh, livestock producers and the drought and just the hit, is this, uh, an issue that could particularly resonate on your behalf, um, or do you think it’s sort of an even split, I mean it. [crosstalk] How’s it gonna [inaudible]?
Senator McCaskill: Yeah, I, I think, you know, when you have a really rigid ideology, um, uh, Congressman Akin has said, well, I’m not gonna compromise, um, if it means doing the wrong thing. And, you know, it, it, things are black and white, you know. And I think most people in rural Missouri and most of our agricultural community would want us to compromise in this situation, uh, to deal with a crisis, a critical moment in the history of Missouri agriculture is at hand right now. And the notion that, uh, somebody would stand on their rigid ideology to keep from getting assistance to farm communities, uh, I think is a real nonstarter in rural Missouri. And I do think, um, it’ll give me a little help in pretty red territory.
Question: Okay. My last question is, how do you think, do you think when we get November, I mean if we still don’t really have any significant action on the farm bill, on disaster relief, I mean, is that gonna play out at the ballot box? [crosstalk] Or is this…
Senator McCaskill: Oh, I, I think if, if the House refuses to vote on the Senate bill in September I think it’ll have significant consequences for House Republicans, um [crosstalk]…
Question: Across many races [crosstalk], many states…
Senator McCaskill: Across many races, especially those that are running, uh, for the Senate in, in places, you know, you have Todd Akin who’s never represented a rural area, um, and, uh, he’s never, um, I think he said this morning this was his second [Missouri State Fair Governor’s] ham breakfast. Boy, oh boy, I don’t, can’t count how many ham breakfasts I’ve been to. Um, so, and the first one he went to was last year when he was running and then this one, year, when he was running. So I don’t think he is very familiar, I don’t think he really understands even how the school lunch program helps producers, uh, because of the federal government buying excess commodity. Um, so, I, I think that, um, it will help, um, me in this race. But I would rather, I would rather lose this race and get the help for this producers. Whether I win or lose is not as important to Missouri’s economy, um, as this farm bill. And so I’d rather Todd [akin] change his mind and vote for it and get the help to these farmers. And if that means that helps him election, so be it. Um, coming home’s not a bad thing, this is a terrific state.
Question: [laugh] Thank you.
Senator McCaskill: Uh, huh.
Question: Appreciate it.