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This afternoon in Odessa, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) stopped at T & T’s Good Farm Cooking for a campaign town hall event. About fifty supporters packed in to listen to Senator McCaskill speak in a side dining area. Senator McCaskill then took questions, and when done remained to greet and listen to any individuals who had additional questions or wanted photos. Before departing the diner Senator McCaskill purchased a few pies for her staff to share on the campaign RV.

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in Odessa, Missouri – October 15, 2018

Watching from the main dining room.

A Navy veteran speaks.

“…I’m a United States Navy, retired. And let me say this, if it wasn’t for Claire McCaskill and the late [Representative] Ike Skelton veterans would not be in the position that we’re in today. Because of those two individuals, this I know for a fact, I thank God that they stood up for veterans and the insurance and the benefits that we have. And I appreciate very much, and the sad part, we’ll never have another Ike Skelton, and that’s very sad, but we have Claire McCaskill [applause]…”

Listening to a constituent.

Before leaving the diner Senator McCaskill also took questions from a reporter for the local paper:

Senator Claire McCaskill (D): [….] …But we don’t want to go back to the bad old days where the insurance companies can just yank us around. [“Right.”] And over charge and refuse to insure. So, that’s really where we are right now. We need to hold on to the good parts and fix some of the problems that we still have.

Question: So as you’re looking at what to fix does some of that include some of the parts that weren’t put in, that didn’t get implemented or didn’t get [crosstalk][inaudible]

Senator McCaskill: Well, the parts we want to fix are the parts that are making the individual market so expensive. Which is, how do we get more people, more healthy young people in the pool. And a lot of that is figuring out a way to bring down those costs. Because if you’re a young person you want health insurance, too. But you’re not going to pay an arm and a leg for it ’cause you think, well, I’m healthy, I don’t really need it. So, you’ve got to figure out a way that you can attract those young healthy people in to the pool ’cause that brings down the cost for everybody. And that’s really what the provisions are that I support, and frankly, a lot of Republicans support, if [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [r] would just let us vote on it. The bill is written and it’s got good stuff in it, but Mitch McConnell, I, I don’t know why, I think because promised repeal and replace, he’s too afraid to fix. Does that make sense? [“Yes.”] They promised to repeal and replace, they didn’t have a replace [“Um, hm.”], so know they’re just hoping everybody will, will not notice.

Question: Okay. Um, this event has been really focused on health care, which I totally understand. What are some of the other thing that you think voters out here should be most thinking about?

Senator McCaskill: Well, I think workers’ rights. I mean, Missourians spoke with a really loud voice against Prop A, um, in August. This county was no different than most Missouri counties. The margin was very large against Prop A. Josh Hawley [r] supports Prop A. He thinks that the bosses should be able to drive wages down even further. Um, minimum wage. We have a very reasonable proposal to raise minimum wage, on the ballot in November. I’m for it, Josh Hawley’s against it. So, there really is another really big contrast on workers’ rights [“Um, hm.”] and that’s where I think he’s really out of step with Missourians, not just on the health care stuff, but that. And finally, that he supports the idea that there should be anonymous dark money allowed in politics. I oppose it. He, um, and he likes to come back and say, well, you’ve got dark money helping you. Here’s what I’ve said over and over again, if you can’t figure out who paid for the ad, I don’t care if it’s for me or against me, you should ignore it.

Question: All right. Um, he’s spoken a lot about middle class values. You want to say a little bit about what your value come from?

Senator McCaskill: Well, you know, I worked my way through school as a waitress. Um, my family moved around a fair bit when I was a child, and because of the need for my dad to find a better job to support his family. Um, I was a single mom with three kids when I met my husband, who had had great success in business. The Republicans love successful businessmen when they run for president. They don’t like them so much when they’re married to a Democratic senator. [reporter laughter] So, um, I’ve done fifty-two town halls in the last year in Missouri, all over the state, listening, a lot of places where I’m not very popular. I don’t think Josh Hawley’s ever had a town hall. So, I really am confident that I am in better touch with Missouri than he is. If you’re not willing to stand in a room in front of people that you work for and let them ask you any question they want to ask, then I don’t know that you have a right to be in elective office.

Question: All right. [“Okay.”] Anything else that you think people out here need to know about you or the race?

Senator McCaskill: …I think that everybody should check fact checks. [reporter laughter] I mean, there are absolutely blatant lies being told about me, my family, my votes. They should check, you know, check for themselves with these independent fact checkers. They’re going to be astonished how many of the ads are being run for Josh Hawley have been deemed false by independent fact checkers [“Um, hm.”].

[….]

A trio of republican operatives, two in costumes, waited outside to harass Senator McCaskill as she left the diner to board their campaign RV. As they were waiting I asked one of the costumed operatives standing near me, “You get paid for this?” He said nothing in response, but reached for his smart phone to start recording.