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Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in Columbia, Missouri – August 7, 2018

Yesterday evening, in Columbia:

Video by Jerry Schmidt

Senator Claire McCaskill (D): Only in Columbia do I get introduced as a kewpie. [laughter] I love that. Um, so let’s, let’s talk for a minute okay, let’s have a plain conversation. This, I think everybody in this room knows that we’re gonna have to work hard in this election and then we cannot take one thing for granted.

Somebody said to me why did you feel the need to do fifty town halls in a year and I said I needed to listen. I needed to understand what happened in our state. I need to go places much different than Columbia and hear what was on people’s minds and figure out how I can be a better senator for every single Missourian even those who don’t agree with me on many things. That’s why I did that. That’s why the doors were open to anybody who wanted to walk in. There was no screening, there was no test you had to take, there was no ticketing. That’s why I took any question that was asked time after time place after place covering this state like a blanket.

So what did I learn? Well, here’s what I learned. I learned that Missourians have more in common than people realize, no matter where they live. I learned the things that divide us are not nearly as big as the things that unite us in Missouri. And here’s some of the things that unite us that I want all of us to talk about for the next thirteen weeks.

Let’s start with health care. People are worried about how expensive it is. And you want to get everybody nodding in a room, you start talking about greedy pharmaceutical companies and the way they’re taking all of us to the cleaners on the cost of prescription drugs. And when I started talking about my willingness to take them on, the investigations that I have conducted, the results that we’ve got, the fact that after one of my investigations the head of a pharmaceutical company was actually criminally arrested for the fraud he was committing and killing people with fentanyl.

You know what else they agreed on? They agreed that we need some protections from insurance companies. Now, you know I’m not saying the ACA was perfect. I’ve never said that. In fact, I’ve been willing to work with my colleagues across the aisle to try to improve it for years. They weren’t much interested in that, they were more interested in using as a political weapon. So, they finally took over and their repeal and replace plan, when they brought it out? Guess what, they couldn’t even get all the Republicans to vote for because it was so bad. It began to, to really diminish the protections that we have from insurance companies that are enshrined in the law now. So, they couldn’t pass that. Congress wouldn’t pass the, the watering down of the protections you have.

So now what are they doing? Josh Hawley decided he would go to court and try to wipe out every consumer protection in the law you would have with insurance companies. What they, now they like to talk about they don’t like activist courts. Well, that’s until they do. Because what they’re trying to do is use the courts to accomplish what the elected representatives in this country were unwilling to do even though they were their party.

So, Josh Hawley is going to court asking the court to make sure that insurance companies can refuse to write you insurance because you’ve had the nerve to be sick before. To make sure that you pay more for insurance just because you’re a woman, to make sure that you can’t stay on your family’s insurance policy until you’re twenty-six, to make sure that all of us in the room, and I know it’s a big club now since I’m a survivor, any woman who’s ever that breast cancer has that sinking fear in the bottom of their gut that if they lose their job and they need to go get insurance on the open market no one will write their insurance.

So, when I talk about that out in the reddest parts of our state you know what happens? We all agree that we do not want that. And so this choice couldn’t be clearer. On one hand you’ve got somebody who is looking after you on your side against the insurance companies, and you got somebody else who is willing to use the courts to wipe out every protection you have. If we can take that message to every Missourian and you know what’s gonna happen? On election night Tuesday, the first Tuesday in November, long about 11:30 or so, they’re gonna say you know what Claire McCaskill’s done it again, she’s won Missouri. [applause]

There’s another issue that unites Missourians. It’s not just healthcare and the protections you deserve. The other issue of uniting of Missourians is what’s happening to our democracy. Between now and the election in November there will literally be spent somewhere between fifty, sixty, seventy million dollars of dark money on this campaign. You’re going to get so sick of seeing all these ads, and they’re going to be paid for by all kinds of good sounding groups, motherhood and apple pie, I hate taxes, I’m for you, there’ll be all these different names of these groups. You know what they all have in common? You will never know who is paying their bills. The corrosive nature of the Citizens United case is messing up our democracy. It is hijacking our democracy. And Missourians don’t want that. You know what they want? They want something very simple. They just want to know who’s paying the bills. They just want disclosure.

I have co-sponsored and voted time and time again a bill that would not water back all of Citizens United, although I’d like to. I’d like to put limits back in place. But what this bill would just do is say if you’re giving money for a political campaign it’s got to be publicly disclosed. Anybody got a problem with that? No, and by the way most Republicans don’t have a problem with that. Josh Hawley does. He’s endorsed by Citizens United. He embraces the dark money, he needs the dark money, he can’t get there without it. So he’s not about to speak out against the billionaires, and the special interests, and the pharmaceutical com… I don’t know who’s paying for all these dirty ads. They’re gonna be run against me, and demonizing me, distorting my record, hurting my family. I don’t know who’s gonna be paying for ’em. But I’ll guarantee you this, if Missourians got to look at the list they would like the enemies I’ve made. [laughter][applaue]

I’m guessing Pharma is probably one of them because they can’t believe they can’t get me be quiet. You know what we’re going to do if we win these elections across the country? One of the very first things the Democrats will do is put on the floor that we can negotiate for lower prices in the Medicare program, with volume discounts [applause][inaudible]. And President Trump said he wanted to do that during the campaign. So, we’re gonna put it on his desk, right. And give him a chance, give him a chance to sign it into law, so that we can be like other countries in the world then get lower prices because they negotiate through volume discount. So I know Pharma, I am just like on a tear, Pharma, I know they’re probably one of the ones that are paying the bills on the other side of the aisle, uh, for these dirty ads.

But I want you to take those two issues, health care where there couldn’t be a more stark difference in terms of how I feel about protecting your ability to get insurance, and dirty money in politics. I couldn’t feel more strongly that we gotta clean it up and Josh Holley does not feel that way. He thinks this system is just fine. And I think if we can focus on those two issues there’s a long list of other ones, and I’m sure we’ll talk about ’em. I am proud to say that I think compromise is an important part of our democracy. We have a difference there, too, that word does not come out of his mouth. And I’m willing to bet it doesn’t.

I’m proud to work across the aisle and get things done. I want to be pragmatic. I know sometimes it feels good to stand on one side of the room and rail at the other party, but it doesn’t accomplish anything. We’ve got to come together, we’ve got to hold the middle, come together and find things we all can agree on that will make your lives better, that will make college more affordable, that will make your retirement more secure, that will will make your health care more reliable and less expensive. It doesn’t really accomplish anything if we’re just calling the other guys names. So I, um, am proud that I’ve got a long record of actually getting things done.

And we’re going to do something different this campaign. That’s what my campaign is going to be about. You’re going to see a lot of messaging from my campaign on television in other places about the things I’ve gotten done and the things I want to continue to work on for you. [applause]

I’ve been on the phone all day talking to people all over the state. I was up in northern Missouri today visiting with farmers who are very worried about the tariffs and what this is going to do to not only their livelihood but frankly the economy of our state. But I’ve been on the phone calling all over the state and, you know, what? Our turnout looks terrific. [applause] It really looks good. I feel it on the ground, do you? Do you feel it on the doors? Yes, absolutely. We have more volunteers that have signed up to work on this campaign than any campaign that I can ever recall on the history of this state. We have knocked on more doors than any other campaign has knocked on at this point in the election cycle. And there are thirteen weeks left. So, I want to try to get something out of every single one of you before I go before I go and watch returns along with everyone else and, um, see who wins and loses across the state. By the way, let me make a bold prediction – the workers of Missouri are going to win tonight. [applause][cheer]

You know, what’s interesting is, Josh Hawley, his campaign, that he is in favor of Prop A, not for the workers, but for the bosses. And he has said it repeatedly. He was asked this morning when he voted about Prop A and you know what he did? He dodged the question. I don’t get that I think that’s weird. [laughter] Um, this is the guy who tried to tell us about eighteen months ago he wasn’t a politician, he wasn’t going to climb ladders. Turned out he had ladders in the trunk of his car. [laughter] So, I, I, I, he’s absolutely dodging questions now like a typical politician.

And I hope you all know one thing about me, I don’t dodge very easy. I’d rather take it on. I know everybody’s not gonna vote for me. I know everybody’s in his room doesn’t even like every vote I cast. But I have to put it out there and defend it and hope that everyone believes that I work hard and then I’m actually trying to get to the facts and come to the best decision based on what I know. And I don’t try to get everybody to like me with every vote. I just try to put it out there and be honest and I think the more that you do that the more those Missourians in the middle that maybe don’t see elections through a party, the more that they are more comfortable with having me represent them in the United States Senate.

So thirteen weeks. I want to throw something out. Twenty-four hours. Out of thirteen weeks does anybody think that twenty-four hours would be too much to give? We’re making sure that we have a check, making sure that we have some balance, and making sure that Nicole Galloway can continue to look over the shoulder of the Republicans in Jefferson City and that I can continue to serve in the United States Senate. Does twenty-four hours seemed like too much? Okay, I’m asking you for twenty-four hours in thirteen weeks. You can do the math, you can almost get there with two hours a week. Right, two hours a day, three hours a day, four hours a day. Do it four hours a day and in six days you’re done. [laughter] But I really want everyone in this room and I want you to begin to hashtag twenty-four hours. Because if we get everyone who votes for Claire McCaskill in this primary to give twenty-four hours to us between now and November, I’ll tell you what, we can have a Todd Akin sized victory. [laughter] Two hour a week or three hours a week for thirteen weeks. That’s not hard you guys, and that’s what I’m asking you to give tonight. I guarantee you I’ll do more than that. I will work as hard as I know how. Um, you know, I, I roll up my sleeves and I get after it. And I gotta be honest with you I’m, I’m old er. [laughter] and, um, you know I, I, my grandmother would be upset when I say this, I sweat. [inaudible] I’m supposed to say I perspire, but when it’s this hot out I sweat.

Um, I’m not seeing Josh Hawley break a sweat yet.[laughter] That’s our job between now and November. Let’ see if we can make him sweat. Thank you, guys. [applause] [inaudible]

Previously:

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Josh Hawley (r) (August 8, 2018)

Be afraid, be very afraid (August 8, 2018)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D): not wasting any time (August 8, 2018)

Claire McCaskill (D) clubs a baby harp seal… (August 8, 2018)