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Tags: Claire McCaskill

The Better Homes and Gardens of Populist Democrats, Part Six



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Senator Claire McCaskill, discussing a tax bill in 2011:

“It’ll maybe save me some money but cost my husband money — and that sounds like a good equation to me,” she quipped, referring to her husband, Joseph Shepard, a wealthy businessman. “We file separately, and I would be considered middle class — upper middle class. … I’m not at his level, but I think it’s fair. It will cost him money, but it’s the right thing to do.”

McCaskill is way, way, way beyond most people’s definition of “middle class” with her $174,000 annual salary. Of course, because of her husband’s wealth, McCaskill lives a lifestyle well beyond a $174,000 salary… 

The Missouri Democrat bought the development’s priciest unit yet for $2.7 million in early February, Washington Business Journal reports… The condos at CityCenterDC come with features like Miele appliances in the kitchen and adjustable wardrobe systems in the bedrooms. The building includes amenities such as a party room with private wine storage and a fitness center with private spa services.

McCaskill also recently unloaded her previous Washington apartment, a two-bedroom unit in a Massachusetts Ave., NW, building she purchased shortly after she was sworn in to her first term in 2007. Her old place sold for about $750,000 and nearly $123,000 above its assessed value, according to DC property records…

McCaskill’s husband, Joseph Shepard, is a St. Louis developer whose companies received nearly $40 million in federal housing subsidies between 2007 and 2011.

McCaskill’s most recent financial disclosure form estimates her net worth to be between $15 million to $26 million. In 2011, she got in some hot water over her private plane and need to pay back $287,273 for four years of unpaid taxes on the single-engine turbo-prop Pilatus PC-12. After paying the back taxes, she boasted, “This problem came to light because of the kind of transparency that I have worked for.”

The Better Homes and Gardens of Populist Democrats, Part One: Harry Reid.

The Better Homes and Gardens of Populist Democrats, Part Two: Mary Landrieu.

The Better Homes and Gardens of Populist Democrats, Part Three: Mark Begich.

The Better Homes and Gardens of Populist Democrats, Part Four: Elizabeth Warren.

The Better Homes and Gardens of Populist Democrats, Part Five: Hillary Clinton.

 

Tags: Claire McCaskill

McCaskill Tries to Turn the GM Scandal Into a Government-Spending Issue



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

McCaskill Tries to Turn the GM Scandal Into a Government-Spending Issue

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd interviewed Senator Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) yesterday, and she offered a revealing moment. Todd asked whether the government, in particular the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, had some culpability for the failure to inform the public about the faulty switches earlier.

The evidence is compelling:

A senior NHTSA investigator in September 2007 asked his superiors to open a formal investigation into Cobalt cars for stalling after reports of four fatal crashes but his superiors opted against it. Friedman said the Cobalt only had a slightly elevated risk. In early 2008, one of the special crash reports was completed that showed a link between the key position and the failure of the air bag to deploy.

The agency has just 51 people in its defect investigations unit with a $10.1 million budget — a fraction of the agency’s $800 million. The White House has asked for a small increase in the agency’s defects budget to $10.6 million.

McCaskill told Todd the problem is that we’re not spending enough money. She lamented “Ten million dollars to keep up with the engineering challenges of the modern auto industry? That’s ridiculous! Most of the time around this building, everyone’s trying to cut government.” She repeated the claim in the hearing Wednesday.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who chaired the hearing on Wednesday, noted that NHTSA’s defect budget — which only funds about 51 people — has remained flat for about a decade. “Do you believe that $10 million is adequate to spend in this country for defects investigation for the entire automobile industry,” McCaskill said. “We need to have the resources and the expertise at NHTSA to find these defects.”

Is there nothing in that existing $800 million NHTSA budget that can be deemed extraneous or unnecessary, with the funds diverted to this? And how, exactly, would more money make the superiors listen to those engineers? The problem here is one of judgment, not funding.

But the Progressive always has an excuse for government failure; we’re not spending enough money. Never mind that this country dramatically increased its spending on public education with no corresponding improvement in student academic achievement. Never mind that Oregon spent more than $200 million on a health-insurance exchange, with nothing to show for it (the exchange doesn’t work), and Maryland spent $125 million, with nothing to show for it (the exchange is so dysfunctional they’re scrapping it and building a new one).

That same Claire McCaskill, back in late November 2008:

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said she’s willing to consider an auto bailout, but not before she Congress gets a clear accounting of the companies’ financial situation.

“We need to behave like a bank,” McCaskill said. “And we need to make sure that we get all of those internal financials and that we feel comfortable that this is a good investment for the American taxpayer.”

Clearly, the financials the U.S. government received either didn’t mention the potential liability issue from these switches, or the government didn’t ask, or it didn’t look too hard. After all, the jobs of unionized auto industry employees were at stake.

That same SenatorClaire McCaskill back in 2010: “Look what’s happened at General Motors. We saved ‘made in America’ for domestic auto production. We saved thousands of jobs, we saved entire communities, because of what we did for General Motors.”

So Democrats find themselves insisting, simultaneously, that losing $10.5 billion in bailing out General Motors was absolutely the right thing to do, because GM is a good company full of good people making good cars, and at the same time this is an abominable outrage, because this is a reckless, selfish company full of irresponsible people making cars that kill people if the key chain is too heavy.

Yesterday McCaskill was denouncing GM’s “culture of a cover up” one moment and then telling GM CEO Mary Barra, “You have a great company and an enormous responsibility to get this right.”

How many “great companies” have “cultures of cover-up”?

Tags: Claire McCaskill , GM , Barack Obama

Can Missourians ‘Swallow Hard and Vote for Akin’?



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The GOP candidate in Missouri’s Senate race, Representative Todd Akin, has won a . . . er, not-quite-ringing endorsement from Twitter’s Master of Sarcasm, Kurt Schlichter:

Easy call. I’ll back the guy who’s confused about where and how babies come from over the socialist enabler.

Do I have problems with Akin? Oh yeah. Sure, his comments were silly, and his decision to remain in the campaign instead of giving up his ballot position to someone without self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the feet was selfish and short-sighted. But on September 25th, the day he stopped being able to drop out, that stopped mattering.

Do I like this situation? Hell no. But I just wrote two articles on why libertarians must suck it up and vote for Mitt Romney if they wish to remain true to the Constitution and the fight for liberty. Hundreds of hemp-loving fiat money opponents decried the idea of supporting the lesser of two evils, but there, as here, the lesser is significantly lesser. We traditional conservatives need to do the same thing — hold our noses and vote for the guy who is most likely to promote conservatism.

Yeah, even if he’s made us want to smack him.

Todd Akin: He’s the misinformed, out-of-touch egomaniac who’s on your side!

Somehow, even with the infamous comments suggesting rape victims cannot become pregnant, Akin is only down one in the RCP average.

Claire McCaskill . . . boy, you must really be a terrible senator.

UPDATE: Of course, hours after I post this, Rasmussen reveals a new survey putting Akin down 5 and PPP unveils one putting Akin down 6.

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Todd Akin

Akin: My Race Is Just Like Crist vs. Rubio!



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In Missouri, controversial GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin is now using the e-mail list from Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign — this is pretty standard practice for presidential campaigns, by the way — to argue that he’s the Marco Rubio of this cycle:

Friend,

A few years ago, Party Bosses wanted Marco Rubio gone so that Charlie Crist could sail to the Republican Senate nomination in Florida.

A few days ago, Crist spoke at the Democratic National Convention — where attendees had just adopted a platform supporting taxpayer-funded abortion on demand into the third trimester of pregnancy.

If you missed Newt last week on Meet the Press addressing this point, it’s worth a minute of your time to watch:

Now, those very same party bosses that pushed political opportunist Charlie Crist want Todd Akin gone from the Missouri Senate race. The Party Bosses have turned their backs on Todd Akin, and are content to let liberal, pro-abortion Claire McCaskill win another term.

Actually, party bosses don’t want McCaskill to win; they want a Republican who is not a giant liability to be the party’s Senate candidate in that key state. Todd Akin refused to allow that to happen, so now he’s asking for $5 donations, hoping to raise $5,000.

As of July 18, McCaskill had $3.5 million cash on hand.

Congressman Akin, we know Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio’s a friend of ours. And you’re no Marco Rubio.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Claire McCaskill , Marco Rubio , Todd Akin

The Epic Denial of the Akin Campaign



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I realize almost everyone is sick of hearing about Todd Akin, but sometimes the level of delusion is pretty spectacular, even by the standard of the usual rampaging egos and narcissists of politics. For example, here’s his response to this morning’s Rasmussen poll, which shows Akin down, 48 percent to 38 percent:

The following statement was released by Perry Akin, Campaign Manager for Todd Akin for Senate, in response to the Rasmussen poll released this morning:

“The fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48% after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is. If she can’t break fifty percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down. Todd is in this race to win; we will close this gap and win in November with the support of the grassroots in Missouri and across America.”

Potential first lesson of politics: No matter how much you love him, do not select your son to run your campaign. He may have a hard time acknowledging difficult truths when the candidate is someone so close to him.

Not that the Akins care, but McCaskill’s been polling in the low to mid 40s so far, so she’s actually improving in Rasmussen’s latest. Meanwhile, here’s how he was polling in the head-to-head match-ups before his infamous remarks: 51, 47, 49, 50, 45, 48, 50. In other words, he’s dropped significantly, she’s up a bit.

They will “close this gap” — how? By insisting to the world that he’s “standing on principle,” when every principle he claims to hold dear is endangered by his candidacy? Any other pro-life candidate would have a better shot at winning the race in November than Akin.

By endlessly admitting that he was “misinformed” on the issue that is the centerpiece of his campaign and one of his passions?

By endlessly invoking the faux-apology that he “wasn’t perfect”? Trust us, sir, we’ve never held that belief.

By repeatedly invoking primary results, when those primary results would have looked quite different had Akin made his remarks before GOP primary voters cast their ballots?

By bragging that “hundreds of people have joined our cause” in a state with 4.1 million registered voters?

We’ve seen this before — a candidate makes nonsensical, controversial, or self-destructive statements before the electorate, and the electorate recoils. The rest of the GOP sees signs of trouble, and starts expressing those concerns in increasing volume, but the candidate resists the urge to withdraw from the race. The candidate and the campaign insist to the rest of the party that they know what they’re doing, that the race is still winnable, and that the world will soon be shocked by a most unexpected victory. We saw it from Katherine Harris in 2006, and from Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Carl Paladino in 2010.

These candidates and their teams always insist that they know better. They always insist that they have some sort of secret understanding of the race, some sort of secret game plan or strategy that will completely change the circumstances. And they always, always, always lose.

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Rasmussen , Todd Akin

Yearning for Senator Right-Leaning Ham Sandwich



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Don’t worry, Republicans. Rep. Todd Akin will go on the morning shows this morning to mitigate the damage. Everything will be fine, trust him!

Urgh. On to the Morning Jolt . . .

Try as We Might, There’s No Shakin’ Akin

“It’s not enough just to nominate a conservative. He or she cannot be a mush-head.” — David Freddoso

Yesterday Ben Howe (web-video maestro) and Drew M. (sharp-tongued contributor to Ace of Spades) got into a back-and-forth on Twitter on whether Rep. Todd Akin (R-Liability) can be put into the category of Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, as not-ready-for-prime-time, gaffe-prone conservatives who blew winnable races for the GOP.

Kevin Eder noted, “You could see O’Donnell’s problems from a mile away. Akin is a six-term Congressman. Nobody expected him to step in it like this.” Angle was a former state legislator as well, so maybe previous service in elected office isn’t a guarantee of readiness for the intense glare of a statewide bid for Senate.

We all have our lines in the sand. The prospect of a McCaskill-Akin race leaves me glad that I don’t live in Missouri. We need to send the Left as thorough and far-reaching a rebuke as possible, and obviously, beating McCaskill is a high priority. She deserves to lose, if for no other reason than her faux-centrist, Obamacare-backing, lifetime ACU rating of 14.6 record.

But Akin has really stepped in it, and his interview with Sean Hannity Tuesday night suggested he wasn’t in complete connection to reality, with the GOP nominee complaining that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be weighing in on the matter. In a race where a right-leaning ham sandwich could win, Akin leaves us yearning for the common sense, message discipline, and far-sighted vision of a right-leaning ham sandwich.

First, he’s very badly misinformed on an issue that is near and dear to him, abortion, asserting that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.”

There were an estimated at 84,767 forcible rapes reported to law enforcement in 2010, according to FBI statistics. The good news is that this number has been slowly descending in recent years. Here’s the big X factor when looking at pregnancy statistics; this number is for reported rapes. Not all women report all rapes. (However, in some of the coverage of this topic, you’ll see some numbers that seem incongruent; one CDC report asserted, “one percent, or approximately 1.3 million women, reported being raped by any perpetrator in the 12 months prior to taking the survey.” If that is true, it means that only 6.5 percent of all rapes are reported to law enforcement.)

Here’s a 1996 report putting the figure of rapes that result in pregnancy at 5 percent; this study puts it at 6.4 percent.

So we’re looking at a number somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,239 to 5,426 cases per year. Depending on how many rapes go unreported, the number could be a little higher or a lot higher. (This section is for all the folks who doubted the 31,000 number cited from CNN in yesterday’s Jolt.) Now, whether or not you find those numbers indicating that pregnancy from rape is “rare,” I hope we can all agree on the political danger of referring to the phenomenon as rare in a political campaign.

Gabe Malor points out why his belief in this medical fairy tale is so bothersome: “Akin’s convenient misconception about pregnancy gave him an easy out when it comes to abortion. He gets to take the tough line on abortion — make it illegal in all cases — but then sooth his guilty conscience by believing some horse[puckey] about women having ways to nonetheless dispose of an unwanted pregnancy. It’s moral cowardice, but I bet you anything Akin thinks he’s a martyr.”

For a lot of pro-lifers, cases of rape and incest are the genuine hardest cases, where their mission to protect the unborn runs headlong into their reluctance to tell a rape victim that she must carry the result of the assault to term. Whatever you think of abortion, whether you believe in treating victims of rape or incest differently from other pregnancies, one must recognize that this is an enormous thing to ask of any woman who has survived a great trauma. Akin waves away the issue by literally pretending it doesn’t happen, or that it almost never happens.

Then Akin exacerbated his misinformed view on this issue by ignoring the counsel of . . . basically the entire Republican party. This cannot be sorted into the usual moderate Establishment vs. conservative Grassroots spat, unless you want to call Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Charles Krauthammer, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the editors of NR the “moderate Establishment.” And then there’s the genuine establishment: Romney, every living Republican who has served as a Senator from Missouri, Mitch McConnell . . .

I’ll let Michael Walsh take it from here:

Still, he has a few diehard defenders, who are fighting the wrong battle on his behalf. This isn’t about abortion or rape or “women’s health.” Nor is it about “defending our own” and not capitulating to the Left. (Heck, in this case, the Left wants Akin to stay in the race.) It’s about winning control of the U.S. Senate and putting a crucial swing state into the GOP column in November. Nothing — nothing — else matters.

If the GOP could think tactically, it would be dangerous. If it could think strategically, it would be a majority party. But it has too many Akins in it for either of those things ever to happen.

Neal Boortz: “If Todd Akin remains in this race he will become the pariah of the Republican Party . . . and the best friend the Democrats have.”

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Todd Akin

For Those Wondering About Missouri Write-in Bids . . .



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For Republicans who find the rambling, excuse-making, increasingly incoherent Todd Akin unacceptable as a Senate candidate, here are the rules on a write-in bid:

“write-in candidate” is a person:

whose name is not printed on the ballot (see 115.453(4,5,6) RSMo); and who has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for election to office with the proper election authority prior to 5:00 p.m. on the second Friday immediately preceding the election day. It is not necessary to file a declaration of intent if there are no candidates on the ballot for that office. (see 115.453 (4) RSMo)

Frequently asked questions on write-in candidates

Can a write-in candidate be on a primary election ballot?

No. (Section 115.453 (5) RSMo)

If a candidate runs in a primary election and loses, can the person run in the general election for the same office?

No. If a candidate files for nomination to an office and is not nominated at a primary election, that candidate cannot file a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for the same office at the general election. (Section 115.453(4) RSMo)

Are write-in candidates posted at the polling place?

No. The election authority shall furnish a list to the election judges and counting teams prior to Election Day of all write-in candidates who have filed a declaration of intent. (Section 115.453(4) RSMo)

Are write-in votes counted for every name that is written in?

No. If a candidate is on the ballot for an office, write-in votes are counted only for the candidates who have filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate with the proper election authority. (Section 115.453(4), first sentence) If no candidate is on the ballot for an office, it is not required to file a declaration of intent and votes are counted for every name properly written in. (Section 115.453(4) RSMo, last sentence)

So Sarah Steelman and John Brunner, who lost the GOP Senate primary, are not eligible to run as write-in candidates.

Of course, for a write-in bid to succeed, one would need ideally a simple name, one that is not easily misspelled, since we know election lawyers will attempt to disqualify any ballot that is unclear in any way.

If only some figure, well known to Missouri voters and trusted by them, would step forward and declare, “The name’s Bond . . . Kit Bond.”

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Missouri , Todd Akin

Who Isn’t Calling for Akin’s Withdrawal?
Claire McCaskill & Planned Parenthood.



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Hey, if Todd Akin’s remarks are so shameful (and they are), and his ignorance of topics he would seek to legislate is an embarrassment (and it is) . . . what are we to make of the recent comments from his rival, Senator Claire McCaskill?

McCaskill issued supportive remarks about Akin on Monday, saying she and Akin “disagree on some things, but he is sincere.”

“While I disagree with what he said, he has now in the last few hours really apologized for what he said. I think what is startling to me is that these party bigwigs are coming down on him and saying that he needs to kick sand in the face of the Republican primary voters,” she said.

Say, who else isn’t calling for him to withdraw from the race?

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards denounced Rep. Todd Akin’s comment that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape,” saying this morning that the statement was an “egregious example” of legislators “making policy on women’s health without understanding it.”

“This statement by Mr. Akin is, I think, politics at its worst, ignoring basic medicine and science in pursuit of some political ideology,” Richards said today during a conference call with reporters.Richards stopped short of calling for Akin to resign, noting that he joins a “long line of examples” of congressmen who are putting their “own personal political ideology ahead of the needs of women.”

“I don’t want to address whether he should resign, but I don’t think he should be in office,” she said in response to a question from ABC News. “This is more evidence of when policy makers are literally legislating about women’s health and they don’t have the most basic understanding particularly of women’s reproductive care. This is perfect evidence of that enormous danger.”

Keep in mind, Akin is currently a congressman. So he’s already “in office.”

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Todd Akin

PPP’s Sample in Missouri Suddenly Becomes More Heavily GOP



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This morning, Public Policy Polling races to tell us that

Missouri voters strongly disagree with the comments Todd Akin made about abortion over the weekend, but it hasn’t moved the numbers a whole lot in the Senate race. Akin leads Claire McCaskill by a single point, 44-43. That’s basically identical to our last poll of the contest in late May, which found Akin ahead by a 45-44 spread.

Boy, that’s surprising. Why, that might be the sort of thing that would persuade Akin he can still win this and that he should stay in the race. Let’s take a look at that sample . . .

Democrat ……………………………………………….. 30%

Republican………………………………………………. 39%

Independent/Other……………………………………… 32%

Wow, R+9? Well, Missouri has been trending red lately, so maybe that’s not that abnormal . . . Let’s take a look at PPP’s survey in this state in late May, when they found Obama leading Romney in Missouri by a point:

Democrat ……………………………………………….. 35%

Republican………………………………………………. 33%

Independent/Other………………………………………. 33%

Wait, the sample went from D+2 to R+9? Gee, does anyone think that a heavily Republican sample might be why Akin isn’t trailing yet?

Anyone suspect that the Democratic polling firm might be trying to get the result they want, to ensure Akin stays in, so that he can get pummeled in November?

Thanks to Number-Cruncher for catching this.

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Polling , PPP , Todd Akin

A Splitting Head-Akin



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From this morning’s edition of the Jolt:

A Splitting Head-Akin

Go watch the video of Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP candidate for Senate in Missouri, uttering his infamous comments. Go ahead.

The query is pretty straightforward: “What about in the case of rape? Should it [abortion] be legal or not?” This is not a “gotcha” question or some sort of poorly worded trap. Pro-lifers can feel confidence that we’ve seen polling numbers showing the public incrementally shifting to the pro-life cause, but rape, incest, and the life of the mother are usually three circumstances where the public wants abortion to remain legal. According to Gallup, 20 percent support the “illegal in all circumstances” position.

This isn’t to say no Republican Senate candidate should hold this position; only that they should know they hold an unpopular position and they need to be prepared to defend it in ways that reassure, rather than alienate, the other 80 percent.

Akin’s answer begins, “Well, you know, uh, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, ‘Well, how do you – how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question.’”

So far, so good; Akin begins by suggesting a bit of humility.

“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare.”

Perhaps Akin was thinking of the statistic of how small a percentage of abortions performed are the result of rape and incest. (Here’s a 2005 study by the Guttmacher Institute indicating that only 1 percent of women who had abortions said the reason was that “they had been victims of rape, and less than half a percent said they became pregnant as a result of incest.”) The problem is he didn’t say that; instead he indicated that rape-related pregnancies are “really rare.”

About 31,000 pregnancies are the result of rape in America every year. That’s a small fraction of the 6 million pregnancies nationwide, but . . . that’s still an ungodly number and a number few would call “really rare.” And whether Akin intended it or not, the term “rare” is going to be interpreted by a lot of voters, particularly women, as dismissing it.

And then Akin really gets himself in trouble: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

I have no idea what Akin meant by the term “legitimate rape,” and I don’t care to try to translate that.

As for the notion that women’s bodies can somehow subconsciously interrupt their fertility during a rape experience . . . well, no.

Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, writing at CNN:

The body doesn’t differentiate between “legitimate” rape and “illegitimate” rape — whatever that is. The body doesn’t know whether the rapist is known to a victim. The body doesn’t know if a knife or a gun, or alcohol or drugs (or any combination of them), were used.

Every sexual encounter does not lead to pregnancy, but every sexual encounter leads to the possibility of pregnancy. Period.

Now, researchers are always looking to see if there are other indicators of a woman’s peak fertility, and thus you’ll see light-hearted news stories that men are more attracted to dancing women when they’re most fertile, and so on. So while a woman may be more or less fertile at any given time because of a lot of factors, there’s no research indicating that “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin wraps up his awful statement, “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Look at that phrasing: “that didn’t work” “Ways to shut that whole thing down” – he sounds like he’s discussing an assembly-line safety mechanism or something. The moment the word “rape” enters the conversation, everyone’s blood runs cold and women are involuntarily forced to momentarily contemplate one of the worst things that could ever happen to them. This is why some people flipped out when CNN anchor Bernard Shaw asked Michael Dukakis, “If Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” in a 1988 presidential debate, and even more voters recoiled from Dukakis when he offered an antiseptic policy answer. (Watch the exchange, even more breathtaking 24 years later; Dukakis doesn’t even flinch, recoil, or blink when Shaw asks that question.) Akin suggests that rape victims don’t really need abortions, because he believes in  their bodies’ “ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

This is a candidate who is astronomically ill-informed, and epically unprepared for the difficulty of the general-election campaign ahead.

So in this circumstance, frustrated conservatives can cite the dumb comments of Joe Biden, Juanita Broaddrick’s accusations against Bill Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg’s claim that Roman Polanski’s acts weren’t really “rape-rape,” and a million examples of mainstream media bias and hypocrisy, but it doesn’t change the facts: Republicans have a candidate in Missouri that a lot of voters, particularly women, are going to recoil from once these comments get blasted full-force by a well-funded Claire McCaskill campaign.

Here’s Akin’s exchange with Hannity Monday afternoon transcribed by the folks at RealClearPolitics:

“As a political observer I see it differently here. I think for the next week all you’re going to hear from Democrats is your comments. And, look, I’m a Christian so I believe in forgiveness. And I can just tell by the sound of your voice that you’re very sincere in your apology. But I also — I think there is one political reality that I think has to be faced by you and your campaign and that is that you know, the reality here is that Democrats now have a ton of ammunition and they are now going to try to use these remarks to hurt everybody they can. And if I was put in that position, I would at least be thinking about what is in the best interest of the party. hat is in the best interest of, you know, Mitt Romney in this case. What is in the best interest of the people of Missouri, are they going to be able to hear a campaign about issues or is this going to be the distraction of the campaign. Are you — you’re not even considering that?” Hannity asked.

“Those are all legitimate points, Sean, and you know I’m trained as an engineer and you look at both sides of the equation and you say, ‘You know, what are the pros and the cons?’ On the other side, here you have somebody who is a conservative, unabashed pro-lifer where as Claire McCaskill is the exact opposite. And you got a real contrast and a simple choice for the people of the state of Missouri. And I think that strong voting record and that record that is the exact opposite of hers — the question is, does that overcome, you know, the question of people that are upset over one word spoken in one day in one sentence. And I think that there is an awful of people that believe in mercy and forgiveness and God’s love. I made a single error in one sentence,” Akin said.

“But I think that the people of Missouri are big enough to take a look at the whole package and say, ‘Hey, this Obama is about to break our country and Claire McCaskill is a rubber stamp for him and so we need somebody who is going to take the fight to them. And I believe that we’re going to do that,” Akin added.

This morning, Akin released an ad featuring an apology:

“Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize. As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them,” Akin says. “The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims.”

Akin continues: “The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Missouri , Todd Akin

‘Obama-Claire Gave Us Obama-Care.’



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Crossroads GPS will be spending $516,000 to air this ad in Missouri spotlighting the voting record of Sen. Claire McCaskill:

The focus on Obamacare in Missouri probably reflects the fact that the “Show Me” State has a particularly strong disdain for the legislation:

The political revolt against ObamaCare came to Missouri Tuesday, with voters casting ballots three to one against the plan in its first direct referendum. This is another resounding health-care rebuke to the White House and Democrats, not that overwhelming public opposition to this expansion of government power ever deterred them before.

Missouri’s Proposition C annulled the “individual mandate” within state lines, or the requirement that everyone buy insurance or else pay a tax. Liberals are trying to wave off this embarrassment, but that is hard to do when the split was 71.1% in favor in a state John McCain won by a mere 0.1% margin. The anti-ObamaCare measure carried every county save St. Louis and Kansas City with 668,000 votes, yet just 578,000 Republicans cast a ballot in the concurrent primaries.

The race is looking tight, both for the GOP primary and the head-to-head matchups with McCaskill:

The three GOP candidates are within five percentage points of each other in the primary, according to a study last week by Public Policy Polling.

The North Carolina firm’s numbers indicate that John Brunner has moved up closer to Todd Akin and Sarah Steelman.

According to the pollster, Brunner has moved up 7 points since January, Steelman has dropped four and Akin is unchanged.

The study finds McCaskill’s approval spread is at 40/50, but only 56 percent of those questioned were familiar with Steelman. The familiarity issue goes to 43 percent for Brunner and a point lower for Akin.

Brunner was top polling choice for voters who considered themselves, “very conservative.”

In the general election, PPP finds McCaskill nearly tied with all of her opponents on the Republican side. She leads Brunner 46 to 44 percent, is even with Steelman and down one point to Akin.

Tags: Barack Obama , Claire McCaskill

VoteVets Finds Non-Veteran Democrat to Tout



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The headline over at the Huffington Post: “McCaskill Backed By Key Group While Opponents Engage In Heated Battle.”

That “key group” is VoteVets, which I have argued would more accurately be called, “VoteDems,” as they almost never seem to find any Republican veteran candidates to their liking, and have no problem endorsing candidates like incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who is not a veteran. (The organization also ran ads against John McCain and preferred Barack Obama.)

VoteVets.org, the “nonpartisan” organization that has backed two Republicans and 46 Democrats for national office through the 2010 cycle, also compared Sen. Pat Toomey to Iranian ruler Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. So far this cycle, VoteVets has not endorsed any Republicans; they have endorsed nine Democrats.

So is it really all that surprising that VoteVets endorsed McCaskill?

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with being an organization that leans heavily in favor of one party. It’s just that if you do that, you shouldn’t be treated and covered as a nonpartisan veterans organization.

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Veterans

Happy Three-Year Anniversary, Stimulus.



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The National Republican Senatorial Committee reminds us that the stimulus passed three years ago today, in a web video that represents a beautiful example of using lawmakers’ own boasts and promises against them:

Among the quotes that Obama and Senate Democrats might regret:

Barack Obama: “If I don’t have this done in three years, then this will be a one term proposition.”

Obama boasting he instructed his advisers to “conduct a rigorous analysis of this plan and come up with projections of how many jobs it will create . . .” (while showing the difference between the projections and actual unemployment rate). This will “immediately jump-start job creation as well as long term economic growth . . .”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio): “This stimulus package is just right.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.): “We did the stimulus, we did what has been, by the way, wildly successful.”

Obama, laughing: “Shovel-ready wasn’t as shovel-ready as we expected.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Claire McCaskill , NRSC , Sherrod Brown , Stimulus

Senator McCaskill, the Postal Service’s Financial Strategist



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Ah, that Sen. Claire McCaskill. Missouri Democrats can be proud with such an innovative problem-solver, staring down the U.S. Postal Service’s $10 billion loss for the current fiscal year:

In addition to structural reforms, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) suggested that USPS should mount a national advertising campaign promoting the value of printed mail.

“You cannot get money by text message,” McCaskill said. “I really think that there is a longing out there right now, especially in these uncertain times, for some of the things that have provided stability over the years.”

Donahoe said such a campaign is in the works. Aides said it will debut for the holiday shopping season.

First, even the best advertising campaign isn’t going to generate enough new mail activity to generate enough revenue to offset losses in the billions. For example, to knock $1 billion off the current annual loss, the advertising campaign would have to spur Americans to buy 2,272,727,273 more stamps (2.2 billion) than they ordinarily would. In other words, if every man, woman, and child in America bought eight stamps, the Postal Service would shave off one-tenth of this year’s operating loss. Alternatively, the campaign could spur Americans to ship 54,644,809 more Express Mail envelopes than they ordinarily would.

Second, you cannot get money by “text message,” but you can wire money and transfer money through most banks’ web sites and PayPal.

Having said that, hers wasn’t even the silliest recommendation at the hearing:

[Sen. Joe] Lieberman voiced his support, suggesting, “We should be writing more passionate letters to those we love.”

Coming soon: The National Federal Love Letter Promotion Interagency Working Group.

Tags: Claire McCaskill

NRSC Reminds Us of Democrats’ ‘Welcome to the Recovery’ Comments



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The National Republican Senatorial Committee marks the one-year anniversary of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s “Welcome to the Recovery,” op-ed, as well as a slew of other comments from President Obama, Harry Reid, Claire McCaskill, Jay Carney, Tim Kaine, Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, in a new web video:

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Harry Reid , NRSC , President Obama

Crossroads Ads Hitting 5 Senators: ‘No More Blank Checks!’



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Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies — the independent 501(c)(4)  group with ties to former Bush strategist Karl Rove and former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie — launched a new round of television advertising that targets five U.S. senators in key states on the issue of excessive government spending and debt. New TV spots begin running today through August 6 on network television stations in Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and Ohio, and will be complemented by targeted online advertising in those states.

The ads aim to sway U.S. Senators Bill Nelson of Florida, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

Here’s the Missouri one:

The Florida ad can be viewed here, the Montana ad here, the Nebraska ad here, and the Ohio ad here

Although to be fair, President Obama isn’t exactly asking for a “blank” check; he just wants a check for $2.4 trillion, for the next eighteen months or so.

Tags: Ben Nelson , Bill Nelson , Claire McCaskill , Jon Tester , Sherrod Brown

Finally, Combining ‘Hydrochloro-Bullhockey with Lithium-Di-Yeswecan.’



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Wow. The NRSC continues to hit it out of the park on their web videos — funny, and hitting the target really hard.

This car commercial-style ad salutes the government research that discovered the most readily available natural resource known to man: hot air, which consists of “hydrochloro-bullhockey with lithium-di-yeswecan.”

It “can power the Democrats to raise the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” and spotlights some quotes from Obama and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) suggesting they’re not all that upset about high energy prices.

Tags: Barack Obama , Claire McCaskill , NRSC

Unemployment Rate: Up. Discouraged Workers: Up. McCaskill: Looks Strong to Me!



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Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, looks at today’s unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and concludes: ”Another strong jobs report.”

Indeed, the numbers indicate that the U.S. economy created 244,000 jobs in the past month.

However, the unemployment rate actually increased from 8.8 percent to 9 percent. What’s more, the number of “discouraged workers” — those who haven’t looked for a job in six months — increased from 921,000 to 989,000, and those marginally attached to the workforce increased from 2,434,000 to 2,466,000. Not huge jumps, but certainly not moving in the right direction.

The labor participation rate — already strikingly low compared with the past few decades — remained the same at 64.2 percent.

If you’re wondering how the private sector can create jobs, labor participation can remain the same, and unemployment can still increase, it is because the figure of the number of jobs created comes from BLS surveying establishments — i.e., employers — while the unemployment-rate figure stems from surveying households. Each month, BLS conducts a sample survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS) to measure the extent of unemployment in the country, talking to 60,000 households, or approximately approximately 110,000 individuals.  The process is laid out here.

Tags: Claire McCaskill , Jobs

Claire McCaskill’s Sudden No-Fly Zone



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There’s a lot on Libya in today’s Morning Jolt, but the Air McCaskill saga continues . . .

Claire McCaskill’s Sudden No-Fly Zone

One of my readers scoffed, “Sure, now that Claire McCaskill has to pay her back taxes and can’t charge the taxpayer for costs related to travel to political events, she doesn’t want the plane anymore.”

I would note, I’m unsympathetic to any lawmaker who finds flying first or business class somehow beneath them. What makes their junk so special?

Chuck Todd and the guys at MSNBC recognize the powerful symbolism at work here: “This is just the latest in a string of problems for McCaskill involving her private plane. This is a MAJOR problem for her — not just in how she used the plane, but that she owned one in the first place. The plane issue and her vocal support of President Obama during his 2008 will be her biggest vulnerabilities in trying for reelection in 2012 in a state that has trended away from Democrats. (Missouri is ranked No. 4 on First Read’s Top 10 Takeovers.) By the way, the NRSC has made a concerted effort to turn this plane flap into a major issue. That’s how campaign committees can be effective early in the cycle.”

Moe Lane recognizes a familiar pattern of Midwestern Democrat senators elected based on their humble, homespun, just-plain-folk style who suddenly go for the Trump lifestyle once they’ve been in office for a while: “As you can see, back in 2006 McCaskill vehemently denied any wrongdoing, just before she declared that she paid her taxes. Which she actually did not do in 2006; and has continued to not do since then. I know that this is just repeating Bill S. ‘s excellent post from yesterday, which is why I would like to point out an old Tom Daschle campaign ad below. You may remember it: it’s the one where he bragged about driving his own car to work . . . It came out after it was revealed that Daschle had avoided paying taxes on a hundred grand’s worth of free chauffeur service. The point here is that while it is not surprising that people lie to get to Washington and lie to stay there, it should also not be surprising that people are becoming more and more willing to bring up and keep bringing up those lies. Senator McCaskill would be well advised to think about whether she’d actually like to spend more time with her family: unsuccessful re-election runs can be mortifying, I hear.”

Jeff Dunetz at The Yid With Lid writes, “Apart from the obvious billing the taxpayer for trips that were her expense, and not paying taxes McCaskill staked her reputation on transparency and stamping out government excess, so this looks real bad. She even made an issue of the use of planes in her unsuccessful bid for Governor in 2004. According to Politico: During the crescendo of her primary challenge to Gov. Bob Holden in July 2004, then-state auditor McCaskill ran an ad showing an airplane circling around the outline of Missouri, slamming the governor for ‘taking over 300 taxpayer funded trips on the state airplane.’ When she ran for Senator she urged voters If my walk doesn’t match my talk, shame on me and don’t ever vote for me again. It may be time to listen to the Senator’s advice.”

Tags: Claire McCaskill

McCaskill’s 2006 Campaign Themes Come Back to Bite Her



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I guess Claire McCaskill won’t be returning to the “we have paid every dime of our taxes” slogan of her 2006 campaign.

UPDATE: When confronted with uncomfortable questions, run and hide! Run and hide!

Eh, at least she didn’t go all Bob Etheridge on him.

Tags: Claire McCaskill

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