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. GI Joe

    So? She has her own campaigning to do.

    Conspiracy and paranoia both run rampant in the republican/bagger party. I'd hate to be as miserable as you all must be in your dark little minds.

    June 27, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  2. king

    i see a disasterous election coming up for the democrats in congress. only if they had 1/5 the guts the rabid repubs have, they would be alright. they saw the 2010 election of americans who voted to decimate the dem party after they brought the economy from the debts of hell. somtimes sacrifices have to be made mccaskel, i Know the repubs have 65 percent of the white folks behind them, including the uber 1 percenters, who own all the media outlets and dictates to the people their will. but hey all of the people are not gullible. hell you might find a few repubs that are fare minded to get on your side. but they wont, if they know that your not loyal.

    June 27, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  3. Ant

    The fact is that. Every democrat knows where he stands on every subject.

    June 27, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  4. Highland

    That's right, don't represent your constituents. Run and hide like a child, maybe you could also hold your breath until you turn blue. If you don't want to support Obama, say so.

    June 27, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. luque01

    yeah, right!!!! then go to the convention, a day or two will not diminish your chances one iota

    June 27, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  6. Niuhc

    Hmmm, looking bad for Obama. Most polls show him tied or behind. I wonder what he will come up with to remain in power. Perhaps have a crisis invented so he can declare martial law? I wonder what those democrat supported OWSers are getting up to? Well, I'd better go before I get the visit from the gentlemen in 3-piece suits, for spoiling Obama's suprise.

    June 27, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  7. Brian in DC

    In her place the Dems are proud to have Rangel, the stereotypical Dem.

    June 27, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  8. @GI Joe

    Your notion that the "1-percenters" own the media and tell them what to say is ludicrous. If that were the case, this Kenya-born socialist who is bankrupting our country would never have been elected. The fact is, the media so overwhelmingly supported Obama that they purposely distorted and fabricated stories about conservatives in order to help their man get elected, ignoring the facts about his birthplace and his socialist proclivities.

    June 27, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  9. Anthony

    Obama is not the one who should be panicking. Have people seen the latest polls for Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania? Obama leads Romney in all three. Republican officeholders should consider skipping the Republican National Convention if they want to hang on to their jobs.

    June 27, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  10. TomNPitt

    Either she's avoiding the convention because she wants to distance herself; or she's such a big backer of the President it doesn't matter if she goes or not. GOP can't spin it both ways – or can they?

    June 27, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  11. Fair is Fair

    You'd think, being in a tough race, she would arrange for Obama to go campaign for her. Guess she, along with many others, think Obama is a bit on the toxic side, eh?

    June 27, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  12. Stoney

    I love the dems. They say one thing, but do the opposite.

    June 27, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Yeah, well, Claire. You ought to know the Washington press reaction in your sleep by now. After all, these media "elites" keep telling us they know someone who knows someone who told them .... blah, blah, blah ... and aren't they the smartest folks ever to offer an opinion as fact?

    Funny how so many average Jane's and Joe's fall for this "media" nonsense time and again.

    June 27, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  14. RC IN BIG D

    I have no problem with Sen. McCaskill foregoing the convention although I wish she could be there. She has a tough re-election bid in Missouri and needs to ensure her seat so President Obama can keep the Democratic majority in Congress. Where do these repubs get their info – from a fortune teller with a weeje board? President Obama will win re-election because he's the best man for the job. I don't know if he'll get his Democratic congress, but I have no doubt the republican members will be decreased dramatically. Obama/Biden 2012 – the one and only choice!

    June 27, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  15. Anonymous

    I love reading all these ridiculous comments. GI Joe, referring to Obama as a Kenyan born socialist is about as infantile and factually incorrect as any comment on this comments section, and there are many that are close seconds. McCaskill is trying to get elected in Missouri and she has to win votes from rural Missouri-a, no easy task for anyone who is not calling our President a Kenyan-born socialist. It's sad that regular folks continue to vote against their own interests.

    June 27, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  16. Sue

    So? Tons of people from both parties in Congress skip conventions. Leaders in political parties don't always attend conventions. I guess some young CNN producer thought this was news.

    June 27, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  17. Rosa, b'ham al

    What a bunch of cowards. This is how the Democrats always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If I lived in Missouri I would stay home, doesn't look like there is any difference between the two candidates there.

    June 27, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  18. chrism

    I can't imagine why any Democrat would want to go to this convention. It's being held in North Carolina, an anti-union 'right to work' state and Obama will be accepting the nomination at the Bank of America stadium. For those that have forgotten, Bank of America was caught laundering around $300 billion in South American drug money and received around a $20 million dollar fine.

    June 27, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. Bill

    Sounds like a total non-story, and the facts seem to back that up. Figures the Republicans would make a mountain out of a molehill, kind of like they did with our debt during the Bush years.

    June 27, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  20. Al-NY,NY

    Niuhc

    Hmmm, looking bad for Obama. Most polls show him tied or behind. I wonder what he will come up with to remain in power. Perhaps have a crisis invented so he can declare martial law? I wonder what those democrat supported OWSers are getting up to? Well, I'd better go before I get the visit from the gentlemen in 3-piece suits, for spoiling Obama's suprise.
    ------------------

    well I guess those new polls showing Obama leading in Ohio, Florida and PEnnsylvania sure have him in a tizzy. With even two of those states, Flippy is DONE. As for some concocted event, I seem to remember Duh Duh Duh-bya and his army of Goebbels-like propagandists using the tragedy of 9/11 to get re-elected..."you elect him.....we get bombed tomorrow" was his basic ploy. SHe didn't go in 2008, why now? Show me that all the GOP'er running will be attending the purity rally with goose-stepping delegates at the convention for the finger-in-the-wind candidate from Michigan (?) Massachussetts(?)..whereever

    June 27, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  21. Joan

    Since she has not gone to conventions in the past, why is this even a story? How many times does she have to say that she supports Pres. Obama? That is very obvious. These are the kinds of election stories that totally turn off intelligent viewers. People want substance during an election season. By the way, are ALL of the Republican candidates going to their convention? Why haven't there been ground breaking stories about that?

    June 27, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. just bob

    Obviously this is something she's done in the past while campaigning and is doing again. This is a non-story.

    June 27, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. Bessy

    Nothing new with this lady. She routinely skips conventions and will use any excuse for doing so. Get rid of her.

    June 27, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    "I can't imagine why any Democrat would want to go to this convention. It's being held in North Carolina, an anti-union 'right to work' state and Obama will be accepting the nomination at the Bank of America stadium. For those that have forgotten, Bank of America was caught laundering around $300 billion in South American drug money and received around a $20 million dollar fine."
    -------
    Hmmmmmmmm... so who was the genious democrat who selected Charlotte as the host for their convention?

    June 27, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Mary

    She has her own campaigning and troubles to take care and there is no conspiracy or news here. Move on. The only news of worthy is it is being held in North Carolina.

    June 27, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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