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Previously: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D): “Vets For Claire” listening tour in Parkville (August 24, 2012)

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) at a “Vets for Claire” campaign event in Columbia, Missouri.

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) held two veterans’ events today, one in Marshall and one in Columbia. We attended the afternoon event in Columbia which was held under a large covered outdoor structure next to VFW Post 280. There were approximately fifty people attending the event. Senator McCaskill spoke, then took and answered questions on veterans and other issues. As she did in Parkville yesterday, Senator McCaskill took some time to read a lengthy list of Congressman Todd Akin’s (r) House votes against veterans’ issues.

After the event Senator McCaskill took questions from the media:

Question: So, how do you feel about Akin staying in the race? How will that impact your campaign?

Senator Claire McCaskill (D): The voters in the Republican primary, uh, have nominated Todd Akin to run this race. I’ll look forward to a spirited campaign and drawing a lot of major contrasts between Todd Akin and me.

Question:  So [crosstalk]…

Question: Now, at the beginning of this month you said that you were the underdog. You still feel that way?

Senator McCaskill: I will always feel that way in Missouri. I know this state and I know that, um, this race will be hard fought and I predict this race will be close.

Question: Senator, a poll came out from the Post-Dispatch last night that said the same thing Rasmussen said. You said Rasmussen was a partisan poll. Is the Post-Dispatch a partisan poll, that came out last night showing you ten points ahead?

Senator McCaskill: You know, I, I , to try to comment on polling this cycle, uh, would really be a, um, uh, I think, a fool’s errand. Um, the poll that came out in the Post-Dispatch this morning was off by a measly twenty-two points in the Republican primary. Uh, ten days before the primary that poll said that Todd Akin was down by seventeen points. And he won, um, by five. So I think my math tells me that was twenty-two points off in a matter of ten days.  So, I’m gonna take all these polls with a big grain of salt. And, frankly, Missourians don’t care about that. They really don’t. I mean, uh, Todd Akin is a pleasant and sincere man, but his views are not pleasant for Missouri families. And what Missouri families are worried about right now is not polling. But they’re worried about their kids’ college tuition, and they’re worried about their Social Security, and they’re worried about Medicare, and they’re worried about a lot of things, um, besides polls.

Question: Is the women’s issue something you’re gonna be, like, campaigning on? [inaudible] Emily’s List said they’re gonna put a lot of funding in this race.

Senator McCaskill: I, um, uh, will be campaigning on a long list of issues where Todd Akin and I have big differences and women’s health is one of them, but it is just one. And, um, but, but college loans is a big one, the minimum wage is a big one, uh, today’s issue is a big one. Um, we have a very different view of how veterans should be taken care of in this country. We have a very different view about something as basic as whether or not we’re feeding kids lunch at school. So, I think it’s one of many that, um, we’re gonna be able to show Missourians that they’ve got a very, uh, big choice, uh, and big differences between us.

Question: What has happened to your fundraising [inaudible] this past week? Um, what, what’s been the response from, from fun, from donors in Missouri, what’s been the response from donors outside of Missouri?

Senator McCaskill: Uh, we’ve had as good week in fundraising. Um, but, from what I can tell from a distance it appears that Todd Akin has had a decent week also.

Question: [inaudible] He says he’s raised a hundred and fifty thousand dollars more. But, can you tell us how much you’ve raised [crosstalk] in this past week?

Senator McCaskill:  I honestly don’t know. I know we’ve had a good week, but I honestly don’t know.

Question: Um, as we talk about, you’re looking for a fair and, and a, and a complete debate, how can it really be a fair, for Missouri voters, how can it be a fair debate if, uh, one candidate is going in so severely damaged? Shouldn’t.

Senator McCaskill:  Says who?

Question: inaudible] Every Republican says that they’ve got a severely damaged candidate. So, well, you’ve got, you’ve, you’ve expressed outrage but you, you haven’t said, this guy should get off the ballot because no way that Missourians should, should be, are gonna be accepting his, his views. If this was somebody who, um, who’s thirty points ahead I, I think people will be expecting you call for him to get off the ballot. Why would, why are you, um, not doing that?

Senator McCaskill:  Well, I, I’m old fashioned about this. I, I, you know, there was an election.

Question: Mm, hmm.

Senator McCaskill:  Um, you know, I watched carefully for eighteen months when these three candidates, uh, traveled every nook and cranny of the state and campaigned in front of Republican Party faithful all over the state. They had debate after debate. And the people of this state had an election. And Todd Akin won that election.

Question: What would it take for somebody to do, for you to suggest that they might get off the ballot? What would they have to do?

Senator McCaskill: Well, first of all, that is a silly hypothetical. The bottom line is the voters of Missouri selected Todd Akin as their candidate. And it was an election, not a back room selection. It was an election. As Todd said yesterday, um, this is about elections, not selections. So I think the election has, has occurred, Todd Akin was elected by the people of his party. I think to overturn that is a pretty bold and radical thing. So, I, I, you know, I, I believe that Todd Akin’s gonna be in this race and we’ll spend the next seventy-some days making sure that Missourians have another choice and then they’ll get to vote in the first Tuesday in November, whether they want the Republican or the Democrat.

Question: How enjoyable is it as a political observer to watch the civil war going on in the Republican Party?

Senator McCaskill: [laugh] Um, I, I don’t, I’m not aware of all the machinations going on over there. I can only see from a distance that there appears to be a lot of cloak and dagger stuff, which I think, um, is, in some ways, disrespectful to the voters.

Question: Do you think we should have closed primaries in Missouri so that, you know, they couldn’t say that Democrats chose this candidate? That’s what they’re saying, the Republicans are saying that you encouraged your supporters to go and vote for this guy.

Senator McCaskill: Oh, that, first of all, I discount that. That’s, um, Todd Akin has a lot of strong, loyal supporters in this state. And they remain strong and loyal. Um, and I think it’s disrespectful to a big swath of voters, uh, in the Republican Party to diminish, um, the choice they made. Um, you know, I, they’ve chosen so I, I don’t, I think the election speaks for itself.

Question: You had said that, uh, the Democratic Party may not have, may not have been as interested in, uh, helping you out. How’s that changed in the past week?

Senator McCaskill: Oh, I think the Democratic Party’s always been interested in helping me out. Uh, I think this race has always been one of the top tier races. I think everyone knew that it was, Missouri’s a difficult state and I was running as an underdog, But, um, you know, they’ve already come in to help some. It’s not that they weren’t willing to help, it’s just they don’t have the mega billionaire’s money that’s being funded behind closed doors, uh, behind curtains. We don’t know where the money’s coming from, the millions and millions and millions of dollars that have been brought in here with Karl ba, Karl Rove and his band of, uh, merry men, um, the masters of the universe that are writing big checks and trying to pull this election out from underneath Missourians. Uh, it’s not that Democrats weren’t helping, it’s just they didn’t help to the extent that, um, these anonymous donors were helping, uh, run, I think, up to, I think it was about fifteen million dollars in negative ads so far that have been run, um, on the other side.

Okay? Thanks, guys.

Question: I have one more question. [crosstalk]

Voices: Thank you.

Senator McCaskill: Okay.

Question: How do you think Akin’s comment will, um, change your campaign ads?

Senator McCaskill: I don’t think it’s gonna. Uh, our campaign is pretty clear. We have stark differences on Medicare. I want to protect it, he wants to privatize it. We have stark differences on Social Security. I want to protect it, he wants to privatize it. I believe the minimum wage is an important part of the middle class, he wants to abolish it. I believe student loans make us different than the rest of the world in terms of a healthy middle class, he wants to make sure that only rich kids can go to college. You know, I think school lunches, uh, are a smart way for us to buy in volume and, um, help with excess commodities, he thinks we should do away with them. Uh, it’s a long list of things that we have differences on. So, I’m gonna talk about that long list between now and the first Tuesday in November.

Voices: Thank you.