Senator McCaskill wants you to know she's not one of those 'crazy Democrats'
Incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is in the fight of her life trying to hold on to her seat against Missouri's Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley.
Hawley has been scoring points in recent weeks, branding McCaskill has a "party-line liberal" and criticizing her for her vote against Trump's Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh. To counter that impression, McCaskill released a 30 second radio ad that claims she's "not one of those crazy Democrats."
The radio ad has been running over the past week in Missouri and features two middle-aged men having a conversation about the hotly contested Missouri Senate race, CNN reports. McCaskill’s Republican challenger Josh Hawley has targeted her for her liberal positions, but the ad presents her as a centrist who bucks her party.
"Claire's not one of those crazy Democrats. She works right in the middle and finds compromise," one man says.
"I don't always agree with Claire McCaskill. But she works hard, fighting against those tariffs, doing all those town halls," the other man says. "Claire's not afraid to stand up against her own party."
President Donald Trump won Missouri by 19 percentage points in 2016. McCaskill endorsed his opponent, Hillary Clinton, although she has had to distance herself from some of Clinton’s comments after her historic defeat.
The narrators of the ad also chide McCaskill’s opponent Hawley for being "a man in a hurry" and being at the gym or buying wine "during work hours."
Not surprisingly, the "crazy Democrats" were offended.
Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D.) told CNN the "crazy Democrats" could refer to the party base in urban areas, including African Americans.
"[McCaskill] is calling her base in the urban areas crazy Democrats," Chappelle-Nadal said, "and she's relying on those so-called crazy Democrats to make sure she wins."
Chappelle-Nadal said last year she hoped Trump would be assassinated, prompting McCaskill to call on her to resign. Chappelle-Nadal apologized but did not resign, and she has taken shots at McCaskill since then.
"Don't call me crazy for saying something crazy!"
McCaskill herself, appears to have Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in mind when identifying "crazy Democrats."
"Well, I would say this," McCaskill replied. "I would not call my colleagues crazy, but Elizabeth Warren sure went after me when I advocated tooling back some of the regulations for small banks and credit unions."
In a fiery speech on the Senate floor earlier this year, Warren blasted Republicans and “far too many Democrats” for "locking arms to do the bidding of the big banks." President Trump signed the bipartisan measure rolling back provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which he called a "crippling" web of regulation that decimated the viability of local banks.
McCaskill went on to float Sanders' name, although she didn't specify exactly why: "I certainly disagree with Bernie Sanders on a bunch of stuff, um, so I'm not afraid. So I don't know those kinds of things which do separate me, I think, from some of the knee-jerk folks that just are against the president no matter what."
National Democrats understand that McCaskill will vote with them on 95% of the issues, so they're not worried about being called crazy. More to the point, will the people of Missouri swallow her "moderate" image or realize that she's just another Washington liberal gussied up in moderate clothing?
Hawley was trailing for most of the race until a video by Project Vertitas exposed her as a fake and a charlatan - a candidate who says one thing on the campaign trail and another when she gets to Washington. Now Hawley is up slightly, but the race is still too close to call.
The ad was intended to distance McCaskill from the crazies. Instead, it appears to have tied her to the extremists by reminding voters which party she represents.