McCaskill to skip Democratic convention
June 26th, 2012
05:40 PM ET
2 years ago

McCaskill to skip Democratic convention

(CNN) - One of President Barack Obama's biggest supporters will not be attending this summer's Democratic National Convention.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri told reporters Tuesday that she has never gone to conventions when she's had contested elections, and that the Washington press reaction to the news is "silly." Earlier Tuesday an aide to McCaskill confirmed to CNN that the senator will not go to the convention, which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina during the first week of September.

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"I've got a really hard election," McCaskill said. "If you had a really hard election and it was after Labor Day would you go to North Carolina to a bunch of parties and glad-handing or would you stay home and work as hard as you know how to convince Missourians they should rehire you?"

Asked if she was trying to distance herself from her party, she said "absolutely not" and explained that she's asked the president to come and campaign for her, and that Vice President Joe Biden will be in Missouri soon.

"Only in Washington would the Republican operatives get the entire press corps ginned up over the notion that I'm going to be home campaigning instead of going to a bunch of worthless parties at a convention that's only being held to do something we all know is going to happen anyway," McCaskill said.

McCaskill did not attend the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston Massachusetts. At the time she was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Missouri, an election she eventually lost. She did attend the 2008 convention in Denver, Colorado, when she was not on the ballot in her home state.

McCaskill endorsed then Sen. Barack Obama in January, 2008, becoming one of the first senators to back Obama, who was locked in a marathon battle with then Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

McCaskill joins a growing list of Democratic senators and representatives who face tough re-elections who have said they will not attend the convention in Charlotte. West Virginia's Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, along with the state's Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall, said earlier this month they will not attend the convention. Two Democratic New York representatives - Rep. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Bill Owens - also said they would not attend. Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz also said he would skip September's event.

On Tuesday, Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Utah Rep. Jim Matheson both confirmed they would not attend the Democratic convention. Tester's campaign spokesman said the senator would be working in Montana during the convention and has proposed a debate during that week. He refused further comment on why the Tester won't be going to Charlotte.

Matheson said his legislative duties would prevent him from attending the Democratic convention. A congressman since 2001, he did not attend the 2004 or 2008 convention, his office told CNN.

"I'll be spending my time this summer and fall doing my job in Congress and visiting with and listening to people in Utah," Matheson said. "I won't be traveling to North Carolina."

Congressman John Barrow of Georgia also confirmed to CNN he is not attending the convention. Barrow's decision was first reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. His spokesman Ricard Carbo said "it's more important for him to be in the district during that time."

Three major Republicans, businessman John Brunner, Rep. Todd Akin, and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, are vying to challenge McCaskill this November. The GOP Senate primary is in early August. Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers, the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, describe the general election battle as a toss up.

Missouri Republicans were quick to react to the McCaskill news.

"This obviously does not change the fact that McCaskill was one of Barack Obama's earliest and staunchest supporters. It doesn't erase McCaskill's enthusiastic prediction at the 2008 convention that 'Barack Obama is going to be one great president.' And it can't make up for the fact that McCaskill has voted with Barack Obama 95% of the time since 2010," said the Missouri GOP's Jonathan Prouty, in an email.

Talking Points Memo was the first to report that McCaskill would not attend the convention.

CNN's Steve Brusk, Kevin Bohn and Wade Payson-Denney contributed to this report.

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soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. obama victim

    Barry is very unpopular in Missouri...she wants to be as far away from that loser as she can

    June 26, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    McCaskill joins a growing list of Democratic senators and representatives who face tough re-elections who have said they will not attend the convention in Charlotte.
    ===========================================================================================
    McCaskill is pretty much a goner at this point. The stench of Obama is all over her and will will not be able to get rid of it. Put this Senate seat in the Republican column. All of the Democrat "progressives"/socialists/communists hate her anyways I'm sure. She isn't on board 100% of the time.

    June 26, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    This headline is misleading – it makes it sounds McCaskill is not going in protest against President Obama, when her decision has nothing to do with her support for the President.

    C'mon, CNN, start acting like a news organization instead of the National Enquirer.

    June 26, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. fatone98

    I'm so sorry to learn of Sen. McCaskill is not going to the Dem. convention. Please help me understand why she won't be going.

    June 26, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Sandy

    Do they ever report Republicans that are not going to show up at the convention? There are Republicans not going, you know.

    June 26, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    McCaskill joins a growing list of Democratic senators and representatives who face tough re-elections who have said they will not attend the convention in Charlotte.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    As predicted, the Democratic congressmen who seriously want to be reelected are distancing themselves from the failed Obama Administration. It's actually very smart.

    June 26, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    If this keeps up, pretty soon the Democrats will be able to hold their convention at a restaurant in Charlotte. I guess nobody wants to be seen or photographed with Obama so their opponents can use it against them. Yes, the Obama HUG OF DEATH is a very real fear for these candidates.

    June 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Yawn. Not really news. Anyone remember a news story on it in 2004 and 2008 when she skipped the Dem conventions? I don't. Wasn't new then, isn't new now. The woman clearly just doesn't like the convention and, more than likely, simply feels that she's better off focusing on her own tough re-election. Not all that much to read into it.

    June 26, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Joi Gibson

    Well if she's not going because she's on the ballot, which she apparently has done in the past, then what is the big woo. Republicans take any and every opportunity to flap their jaws and as usual say nothing.

    OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 20121!!!

    June 26, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. cali girl

    really not that big of a deal

    June 26, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. TomGI

    I don't blame you Claire, if Obama was my candidate I wouldn't want to stand next to him either.

    June 26, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    I guess Sniffin and the other reading challenged libtards missed the "joins a growing list of Democratic senators and representatives who face tough re-elections who have said they will not attend the convention in Charlotte." part of the story.

    I mean come on... They can't take a day or two to join their Dear Leader and cheer him on?!! Yeah, right. Everybody can read between the lines. Nobody wants to be seen or especially photographed with Obama. It's why yuou see him pretty much alone out on the campaign trail. Obama is radioactive.

    June 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    Barry is very unpopular in Missouri...she wants to be as far away from that loser as she can

    I seem to remember this happening in 2008 when republicans were not attending the RNC convention either until McCain added the mouth piece. Don't make too much out of this because they will still support the president.

    June 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. paulcat

    Being an Obama supporter is a good thing only if the democratics have the gusts to stand up to the republicans.

    June 26, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. CBR

    Some of these comments including adjectives are over the line. They seem to be what CNN wants for the comments.

    CNN could do well to focus on the real news. Most of the world does not care what these candidates do or do not do.

    June 26, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "McCaskill joins a growing list of Democratic senators and representatives who face tough re-elections who have said they will not attend the convention in Charlotte.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    As predicted, the Democratic congressmen who seriously want to be reelected are distancing themselves from the failed Obama Administration. It's actually very smart."
    ======

    Or, you know, when facing a togh re-election battle, taking a week or more off to travel to the convention just to hob-knob and schmooze and pep-rally...which is all the conventions really are anyway...just makes no sense when you've got a campaign to run and messaging to get out. But hey, I don't want to burst your little daydream bubble, you go right on ahead fabricating your little skewed view of the world by cherry-picking one line out of the article and ignoring the rest of it that indicates your cynical intepretation is wrong.

    June 26, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Bing

    Isn't it sad you have to act like someone you are not in order to be elected. Life of a Democrat associated with the failed President is a loser in her state. She is going to lose this time around.

    June 26, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. steve

    Its no wonder the President couldnt get anything done in his first 2 years, a lot of dems might as well be Repulicans. Hearding cats!

    June 26, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. Jim Hahn

    She will need President Obama's support. If I were her, I'd find a way to show up at the convention, even if it is for just a few hours and get back home.

    June 26, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thanks for the clarification Sniffit. Per usual you continue to provide the real story behind CNN's incendiary, misleading, and rabble rousing headlines.

    June 26, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Myviewis

    Maybe she doesn't want her personal problems with her airplane to overshadow Obama. Afterall, it is pretty embarrassing that she would not have known that Missouri had imposed a property tax on private airplanes. She had to pay the government $88,000 for reimbursing herself when she used the airplane plus she paid Missouri, St. Louis County, $287,000 in back taxes on the airplane. It is embarrassing for her.

    June 26, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    who needs these type of Democrats anyway. The ones that are in red districts pandering trying to hold on to their jobs. Well I got news for you, just saying you're not going to the convention is NOT going to get these folks to vote for you anyway so you might as well suck it up and go..the GOP in your district are NOT going to vote for you anyhow. While you're at it though please go either independent or just Republican...lukewarm Democrats leave a bitter taste afterwards.

    June 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. John the Historian

    I am from Missouri and Claire should go. Claire will most likely win because we have a popular governor Nixon up for reelection and he will most likely win. Missouri is still a swing state. Many Republicans are sitting out th election because they can't vote for a mormon cult follower. Once the Baptists and Catholics in this state realize what mormons stand for they will realize a Romney presidency would throw us back to the 1820s which was a holy time for mormons and their polygamist Joseph Smith. Watch out Blacks, Gays, Women, and Hispanics, a Willard presidency will really throw us for a loop.

    June 26, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. alleygator

    Another Dixiecrat does exactly what you might predict

    June 26, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Willard-The king for "of-shoring"

    Fine, Democrats don't need you anyway! May as well take republican card!

    June 26, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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