McCaskill to Skip DNC Convention: Sarah Steelman Issues Response; Updated: McCaskill: Barack Who?

News broke very recently that Senator Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri will skip the DNC convention this year.

Obviously, this says a lot about the perception of Barack Obama in her state of Missouri — a swing state — to which she is up for re-election this year.

Since we all know Claire was one of the first major politicians to offer Obama an endorsement way back in January of 2008, isn’t it a little strange that in her own re-election year, she won’t be there to cheer him on and talk up the idea of all that hopey-changey stuff for another four years?

Is she avoiding him for some reason?

Recent polling indicates it may be a good idea.

Candidate, Sarah Steelman (R) responds to McCaskill’s decision to skip it:

I don’t care if Senator McCaskill joins her fellow Democrats at the convention in Charlotte or not. We know she stands with President Obama every time she votes for his policy priorities like the Utility MACT vote last week, the debt ceiling vote a few months ago and ObamaCare last year. She voted for his judicial nominees, she voted for TARP, she voted for the bailouts. Skipping a few cocktail parties and rallies in Charlotte doesn’t distance her from the President, and it won’t convince voters that she’s a born-again moderate. The election has her concerned about perception, but her performance is the issue. Voters care about the bad policies that impact their families, churches and businesses more than they care about the parties attended by the Democratic elite. If Senator McCaskill wasn’t so out-of-touch, she’d understand.


Update by Doug: This story is hilarious. McCaskill wasn’t only one of the first to endorse Obama in 2007, but she was one of his most vociferous surrogates throughout the campaign and well into his presidency. In November 2008, David Goldstein discussed just how close Obama and McCaskill had become. Here are a few choice excerpts:

It was on Barack Obama’s third trip to Missouri in 2006 to help Claire McCaskill win a Senate race that she urged him to run for president.

"We’re talking about it," he confided after a rainy Sunday night rally in St. Louis, two days before the 2006 election. "Win on Tuesday and we’ll talk more."

McCaskill did win, and she and Obama did talk. They became Senate allies and friends. A year later he was a presidential candidate, and she provided a pivotal endorsement. She quickly emerged as one of his most visible and nimble defenders.

"It’s very flattering," McCaskill said. "I don’t want to abuse it, and I’m still, frankly, a little bewildered about how all it all happened."

McCaskill was at first-lady-in-waiting Michelle Obama’s side at the second presidential debate. Behind the scenes, McCaskill conferred from time to time with the campaign brain trust, offered advice when asked and shared occasional e-mails with the candidate about how things were going.


"She was probably the most reliable surrogate, even in contentious settings like going on Fox News, even in times when the narrative wasn’t even great, like the Reverend Wright turmoil," said Josh Earnest, an Obama campaign spokesman.


Now party leaders from coast to coast recognize her. Bookers for political talk shows have her on speed dial.

"She goes from a backbencher just learning her role to someone who now can be one of the leaders of the Obama agenda in the Senate, somebody who will be looked to as a bellwether," said Brian Darling, the director of Senate relations at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a former Senate Republican aide.


Once she was elected, she worked with Obama on ethics-policy revisions and correcting problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Their staffs were close, regularly checking with each other on their bosses’ political temperatures on upcoming bills.

McCaskill wanted to endorse Obama as soon as he entered the presidential race in February 2007. She’d been a senator for barely a month.

Her staff and colleagues waved her off. Why risk alienating three senior senators — Clinton, Biden and Christopher Dodd — who were also in the race?

After she did publicly back him, the campaign dispatched her to key states and to the political talk-show circuit. "I very rarely said no," McCaskill said.

She still pinches herself and feels "grateful and blessed" for the role she played.

It sure didn’t take her long to go from pinching herself to verify she’s in The One’s presence to playing the "Barack Who?" game.  And this after delivering such an, er, inspiring speech on Obama’s behalf at the 2008 Democrat convention. Et tu, Claire? I’m guessing Missouri voters are no more likely to buy McCaskill’s born-again moderate act than Sarah Steelman is.

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  • dave7777

    We need this Senate Seat. According to Rush this morning, Obama has written off Missouri.

  • parigger

    I like this Lady already , and pray she doesn’t get compromised by the Gope .     I Stand with Governor Pal

  • deTocqueville1

    Great response. She sure looks like ‘the real deal’.

  • Roberta Williams

    I’m torn between Todd Akin and Sarah Steelman.  I believe Akin has an almost 100%, if not 100% conservative rating.  Several months ago, I asked Sarah Steelman (on her Facebook page) if she would sit back and allow Obama to circumvent congress.  She gave an emphatic NO, in addition to a more detailed response (almost immediately).  But, so much has happened since then, I don’t recall all of what she said.  Wish I had copied and pasted it into Word.

    • MaMcGriz

      Roberta, I’d bet if you e-mailed her office they’d re-send it if possible, but in any case might welcome the opportunity to have further dialog with you. Couldn’t hurt to try, and you might get lucky. 

      It sounds like Akin is good.

      • Roberta Williams

        I can always try to find it on Facebook. I probably can, but, don’t have a lot of time right now. Maybe I’ll just take the time – in a day or two. Shoot! I wish I had more time to spend on C4P (less the arguing, of course.)

        • MaMcGriz

          I hear you.

        • Guest

          What arguing?????LOL

          Hi Friend !!……I say Go Sarah Steelman !!!

          • Roberta Williams

             It might very well be her.  I’ll see.

  • misterlogic0013

    Zero spin // fact based  /  Sarah is following another Sarah  /  lead by example. Things are changing, tea party alive and well .. questions ? 

  • nkthgreek


  • Timothy Jacques

    Latest poll, PPP (May 24-27) Missouri GOP primary.

    Steelman 28%
    Brunner 25%
    Atkin 23%
    Undecided 20%
    Others? 04%

    Considering Stellman was endorsed by She-Pac this might be an indication of a future Palin endorsement. If so, this might shift the numbers with the undecideds and to those who are “soft” supporters of Brunner and Atkin (much like Deb Fischer in the last two weeks of the Nebraska Primary).Of the top three GOP candidates, Steelman has the biggest lead:

    Rassmusen, 6-7-2012

    Steelman 51% “Clair Bear” 39%
    Brunner 51% “Clair Bear” 41%
    Atkin 50% “Clair Bear” 42%

    All three GOP opponents are polling 50% or better. NOT a good sign for “Clair Bear”.

  • Timothy Jacques

    I was at a conservative rally in MO a few weeks ago and  managed to meet Steelman.  Sharp lady!!!

    We talked about a few things (policy stances, endorsements).  One of her staffers took a picture of us together with me holding a Palin sign.  I’ll try to get a copy sometime.

  • devitor

    Drudge had a story up today: DNC is short $20 million out of the $30 they need (I’m grossly approximating the numbers, but basically they have 1/3 of their budgeted amount) for the convention, and have already cut a venue and a day from it. I’d post the URL, but the story is gone. Drudge has several articles up in the 2nd column about key Dems skipping it, and Obama claiming he will be outspent.

  • blueniner

    Is Sarah Palin going to endorse Steelman? Does anybody know?

    • Steve_Flesher

       No.  But any of the three candidates are better than McCaskill.  Steelman happens to be my favorite.  We’ll see what the Gov. does if anything.  :-)

  • excopconservative

    Obama will have to counter-balance the states he’s written off with big majorities in the 7 states he created that we don’t know about. I guess he will tell us how many electors they have after the election.

    He’s written off the white middle class, the rich 1%, the NASCAR crowd, Arizona, Missouri, and the energy producing and mining states.  Who is going to vote for this guy?

    He will have to create some very large inner cities to go in those 7 empty states to pull out a victory.

    • Timothy Jacques

       If he write them off, our side can focus on other areas?

  • Patriot Games

    Democrat Liberals=Communist Traitors, Obama Redistributionists of other people’s money, and Al Qaeda Sympathizers. It is not accurate to call Democrats Taliban sympathizers, however, because they ARE the Taliban.

  • independents4palin

    I was watching Sean Hannitys show and there is 9 Democrats so far no going to the Democratic Convention. Some include my Governor of West Virginia Earl Ray Tomblin, Senator Joe Manchin, Congressman Nick Rahall, this is becoming embrassing for Obama.

  • Escaped_Teleprompter

    Is Sarah Steelman a closet liberal like Lisa Murkowski, who is supported by liberals and Democrats? 

    Excerpt from Wall Street Journal Article: Wall Street Journal

    "  As a Missouri state legislator, Ms. Steelman opposed tort reform and was supported by trial lawyers and unions like the Teamsters and the SEIU.

    That has provided debate fodder for Mr. Brunner, who says Ms. Steelman received some $500,000 in contributions from trial lawyers during her 2008 campaign for Governor, and has gotten similar support throughout her career. In 2003 and 2004, Ms. Steelman filibustered tort-reform legislation, turning up as the only Republican to join Democrats for the filibuster. From 1998 to 2007, Ms. Steelman also got a steady stream of donations from unions including the Teamsters, the Missouri State Autoworkers and the SEIU, no small feat for a Republican.  "

    Supported by
    – trial lawyers,
    – Teamsters 
    – SEIU

    Steelman was the only Republican to join Democrats to filibuster tort reform.
    If the facts cited are correct, Steelman has some explaining to do.  

    • Steve_Flesher

      I heard Brunner was behind the context of these, just as her opponent was in the Governor’s race a couple years ago.  Conventional wisdom is much of this has been blown up and an article a couple years ago actually looks into her record as State Treasurer:

      "But there’s some evidence she was actually in favor of "Right to Work" legislation six years ago — at a time when even many top GOP leaders in the state were not willing to go that far.

      In 2005, the St. Louis Labor Tribune reported that former Sen. Jim Talent, former Gov. Matt Blunt and current Lt. Gov Peter Kinder — who is likely to run for governor — all bucked "right wing Republican dogma" to oppose national "Right to Work" legislation.

      The article said that Talent got a "rousing ovation" when he told a meeting of union workers that he "never supported Right to Work and I’m happy to join with you in making sure we don’t have it nationally or in the state of Missouri."

      Kinder, reportedly received "a thunderous round of applause when he declared that ‘While Gov. Blunt and I are in office there will be no Right to Work law and no repeal of prevailing wage.'"

      Steelman, who was state treasurer at the time, is not quoted in the account — and her backers contend, it’s because she was the only statewide elected official who would not sign a letter opposing "Right to Work.""

      • Escaped_Teleprompter

        The left-wing Politico may have an interest in promoting the subterfuge.  There has been a number of Trojan Horse Tea Party candidates.  Candidates say what is needed to win primaries and to get elected.  But the facts cited should be easily verifiable or refuted, vis. 
        – From 1998 to 2007, Ms. Steelman got a steady stream of donations from unions including the Teamsters, the Missouri State Autoworkers and the SEIU  ( Is this assertion true? ) 
        –  In 2003 and 2004, Ms. Steelman filibustered tort-reform legislation, turning up as the only Republican to join Democrats for the filibuster (Is this assertion true ?)
        – Ms. Steelman received some $500,000 in contributions from trial lawyers during her 2008 campaign for Governor ( Is this assertion true ? ).  
        (Note the Trial Lawyers Association is one of the Democrats’ strongest supporters and funders in Washington.)

        Note that the Politico ariticle reported that the St. Louis Labor Tribune mentioned 3 Republicans who opposed "Right to Work". But that does not mean that there were no others that were similarly opposed to RTW, because the newspaper simply could not have mentioned every Republican who opposed it in one article.  After all it is an article — not an exhaustive list of political positions of politicians.  Yet according to Politico, Steelman’s backers used the fact that she was not mentioned in the article as some sort of (flimsy) evidence that she was for Right to Work.  
        To demonstrate how specious this argument can be, pick up any article about Obamacare, then using similar logic, any liberal politician not mentioned explicitly in the article as supporting Obamacare, must therefore be opposed to Obamacare.  This deduction is nonsense of course, but it is precisely the argument advanced by Steelman’s backers in the Politico article.  

        Incidentally, I am not in Missouri.  I am just uncomfortable seeing Conservatives4Palin being used to promote someone of questionable conservative credentials.  

        • Steve_Flesher

          I guess I don’t understand about political donations determining someone’s conservatism. 

          Receiving donations of support for various reasons is not the desideratum of ones conservatism — what did she do in office to pay them back?

          That’s what is lacking in evidence.

          We had a court case proving their legality and constitutionality.

          As for the tort reform charge:

          "— During a debate on Friday morning in St. Joseph, U.S. Senate
          hopeful Sarah Steelman defended her opposition to changes to the state’s
          tort laws.

          In reaction to criticism from rival John Brunner over her vocal
          opposition to 2003 and 2004 tort reform legislation while in the state
          Senate, Steelman said she did actually support reform, just not the law
          at the time.

          “I do support tort reform,” Steelman said. But the 2004 bill, she
          added, “would have had a protection for drunk drivers. I’m sorry Mr.
          Brunner thinks that’s okay.”"

          As far as I am concerned, her credentials are not questionable.  She supports terms limits, she always has — she has specific moments, like stopping payment on a 70K check the Governor’s administration issued to prevent a state official from sexual harassment investigation — since its the people’s money, it should play out for the people to make the decision.  Also, she lobbied to stop politicians (and succeeded) from having access to ethanol subsidies.  Her own party did not like that — see her interview with Glenn Beck here:

          As far as I am concerned there is nothing she did as a Government official which implies pay-to-play.  In fact, it implies the contrary, a good public servant.

          Whenever some people begin to overstretch and blow something out of proportion (not you specifically), that speaks volumes to me with regard to the candidate’s common sense conservatism in question.

          But I could be wrong of course. We shall see.

          By the way, you brought up similar points in a very old thread long ago. That’s why I began looking into these things. Thanks so much for your activism and contribution. We’ll see how it plays out.

          It seems Brunner is now going after her on a "gas tax." He claims that her vote to simply keep a tax in place was the same as voting for a tax increase. I guess it’s all about perception once again.

          • Escaped_Teleprompter

             Support from unions is a significant indicator because big labor is very partisan and consistently support the most liberal politicians.  The last Republican to have significant labor support was Arlen Specter, who often voted with Democrats before finally switching parties in mid-term to give Obama a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate — thus enabling Obamacare. 

            A politician’s supporters and the special interest groups that fund him/her is a more reliable indicator than a politician’s words and campaign slogans, since many politicians will say anything to get elected, often Flip-flopping as needed to gain an advantage.  The SEIU and Teamsters represent the militant far left.  Richard Trumka boasted that unions are Obama’s army.  The SEIU, Teamsters and Trumka use their funds to fight conservatives like Gov. Palin and Scott Walker; they don’t use their funds to help real conservatives. 

            • Steve_Flesher

               All of that can be true.  But my point is, how did it make her serve as State Senator and State Treasurer?  She didn’t serve as a liberal who catered to special interests.  Knowing she was elected and served AFTER the "support" and didn’t use taxpayer money to buy people off and in fact actually did some pretty darn neat things for her state is pretty much the extent of the vetting I need….especially what she did with ethanol subsidies.

              Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this — and we’ll see what happens.

              • Escaped_Teleprompter

                Actually if we look at Steelman’s voting record as state senator objectively, it is easy to see what looks very much like quid pro quo.  Trial lawyers gave her lots of campaign funds, and she voted with Democrats and their trial lawyer allies against tort reform. 
                It is hard to take seriously, her explanation that all Republican lawmakers who voted for tort reform wanted to enable drunk driving.  It is telling that Steelman is adept at the kind of sophistry used by ultra-radical demagogues like Alan Grayson, who famously said that "Republicans want you to die quickly" because they opposed Obamacare.
                So Grayson accused Republicans of wanting people to die quickly because they opposed Obamacare, and Steelman accused Republicans of wanting to enable drunk driving because they voted for tort reform.

                • Steve_Flesher

                   I think that she was referring to how the proposed law was written.  She wasn’t speaking about tort reform in and of itself.  In fact, she supports it overall.

                  Comparing her to Alan Grayson is a bit of stretch — in any way imaginable.

                  Steelman was an exceptional public servant who proved she was for limited government and who prevented many within her party from engaging in an old boys network.  She has the endorsement of the Tea Party Express and many other tea party groups who have examined her record. 

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