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. wolfpackbob

    Maybe President Obama will skip the Democratic convention and distance himself from President Obama?

    June 27, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. v_mag

    Foul is Foul -

    Despite the absolute maximum effort by Repugnants to destroy Obama, and to destroy the country in the process, the President has succeeded in improving the rolling disaster left by the Bush crime family. But your mind won't allow consideration of fact when it conflicts with your prejudices. So, shout away, but you won't shout down the truth.

    June 27, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. snowdogg

    I think that the "convention" is an outdated institution – useful only for mutual back-slapping and public posturing. The candidates for both parties are known... no suspense here. Get rid of this expensive conflab and spend the money on buying votes! LOL

    June 27, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. J Russ

    Why is the democrat party spending millions to have a party to celebrate the nomination of the unopposed nominee?

    June 27, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. Deputy Dawg

    The last one out, turn off the lights. They are all abandoning a sinking ship. Whatever excuses they may be offering would go away if the president were doing better in the polls.

    June 27, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. snowdogg

    Why is the republican party spending millions to have a party to celebrate the presumed nominee?

    June 27, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @v_ mag

    "Foul is Foul": How accurate and on target as was your response to her. Good post.

    June 27, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. 94fxsts

    Those that bail should be ejected from the Democratic party.......maybe they could be Republicans......after all they are two faced.

    June 27, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Malory Archer

    J Russ

    Why is the democrat party spending millions to have a party to celebrate the nomination of the unopposed nominee?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    For starters, it's DEMOCRATIC PARTY, but you knew that.

    Secondly, the primary is also for state races.

    That being said, ehy is the rethug party spending millions to have a party to celebrate the nomination of the unopposed nominee?

    June 27, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. lolo

    @ J Russ, the same reason that the republicans are spending millions for America to vote for a man that does not have a clue about the country period. You think that Willard is just going to be elected without telling people what his plans or policies are? I doubt it very seriously. A man with no convictions, lies and can't think on his feet who will do anything to get elected just to be called president and that is your boy called Romney the Robot. I bet the retreat in Utah was something. His brain Rove had to chastise him about changing his image. If I could have been a fly on the wall to hear the good old boys talking points on how to defeat President Obama. I can see them now all red in the face and frustrated because no matter what they throw at President Obama he still comes out smelling like a rose.

    June 27, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Bill

    I think the President is not really concerned over "Claire"? She is not a part of the Presidents re-election in 2012!!!! Who cares about N.C, OR, S.C. They have "Ruined" the Civil Rights of millions of Americans sense the Civil War loss??? The south has voted against their own interest,for decades> They think poverty is normal ??? WOW?

    June 27, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. anagram_kid

    If the story had been that she was going to the convention, the usual uniformed and willfully ignorant posters would find fault in that too.

    June 27, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Allen Roundtree

    These so-called Dems are SELL OUTS! This is what is wrong with the Democratic Party, NO UNITY!! Everyone out for themselves. Democrates should vote all of these SELL OUTS out of office. All of them look at the President, but they need to look at themselves.

    June 27, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. anagram_kid

    Fair is Fair,
    The POTUS does not control the price of gas. Please let me know how many times that FACT needs to be explained to you.

    June 27, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Toughlove

    Republican, Democrat or Independent...the reality is clear. These individuals are, in fact, distancing themselves from the President because he has not succeeded to accomplish what he so eloquently and charismatically promised. The rest is simply spin. I think the Republicans have been difficult to work with...for philosophical AND political reasons. Liberals can blame the opposite party, but polls show that the Republican stances are more representative of what THE PEOPLE want than they would like to admit.

    June 27, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Allen Roundtree –These so-called Dems are SELL OUTS! This is what is wrong with the Democratic Party, NO UNITY!! Everyone out for themselves. Democrates should vote all of these SELL OUTS out of office. All of them look at the President, but they need to look at themselves.
    =============================================================================================
    If they vote them all out then will be NO Democrats left in Congress. Then again, if the Democrats continue to follow Obama, Reid and Pelosi down the looney leftist path to bankruptcy, the Democrat Party is TOAST anyways. The Democrat Party needs to fundamentally transform THEIR PARTY back to the party of JFK. It has become the party of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.

    June 27, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. ted

    actually there is no need for a convention. We know who our candidate is and we know he will win in November.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 27, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. JohnW

    @Allen Roundtree
    These so-called Dems are SELL OUTS! This is what is wrong with the Democratic Party, NO UNITY!! Everyone out for themselves. Democrates should vote all of these SELL OUTS out of office. All of them look at the President, but they need to look at themselves.
    ----------------------------
    Um, yeah, I'll take the party of no unity and reasoned debate over the party of unity only to make sure the President fails any day, thank you.

    June 27, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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