McCaskill to skip Democratic convention
June 26th, 2012
05:40 PM ET
11 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.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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.

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Also see:

Pawlenty: I'm best as a volunteer

Romney adviser: Obama immigration measure subject to repeal

Romney makes rounds at donor retreat

Jarrett to NABJ: White House bracing for health care decision

soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Critical Thinking

    The rats are running from the sinking ship known as the S.S. Obama.

    June 27, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Malory Archer


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


    Why, because she's working in her home state instead of traipsing off to a party? Really? REALLY???!!!

    June 27, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Malory Archer

    It'll be interesting to see how many tighty righties up for reelection congregate in Tampa in August. Considering that only one in six Americans actually like mittens there could be more protesters than convention attendees.

    June 27, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. Madison

    Thay just jealous of Barack Obama's record of higher debt, higher unemployment, higher gas and food prices, and increased regulations that hurt small businesses. But that don't matter, I voating 4 Obama in 2013!!! I beleeve he the best 4 us. Go Barack, he good at basketball 2.

    June 27, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. Papaw Nick

    Democrats to states, Do as we say or we will GET EVEN. Remember Las Vegas? I am 76 yo and I remember a European country that imposed a political view on their people and the results were terrible.

    June 27, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Investment Advisor

    @GI Joe...As if the Democratic Party operates differently than the Republicans when it comes to "political SPIN". Really??? The reality of the situation is that her political career is on the line and that is it. Why should anyone read this differently? Worthless story!

    June 27, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    McCaskill is the NINTH Democrat to announce they won't be going to the Democrat's biggest party event. The fact is they saw what happened in 2010 and know what awaits them in November and they see it in the polls. The American people have had enough of the Obama dictatorship and the socialist/"progressive"/communist Democrat Party. Law and order and fiscal discipline MUST be restored if this country is to survive. That means the Democrats have to go.

    June 27, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. BioHzrd420

    Seems like a non-story to me since she hasn't attended the last 3 conventions anyways.

    June 27, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. WV Gleeman

    Unlike Claire the WV dems mentioned are distancing themselves from Obama because they have no backbone and might as well run on the Republican ticket. Joe and Earl are huge DINOs and always have been. It's disappointing to hear that Nick is throwing in his hat with them. He used to actually stand behind the party but I guess he wants to be re-elected too. WV is a state that has been completely turned on it's head by resource companies making the rules and the reps follow anything they say. That and poor education...

    June 27, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. Obama Mama

    If Missourians are smart they will vote for Clair. I will be voting for her. She is fair and does what is best for Missouri. Roy Blunt needs to go.

    June 27, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Padraig

    I am not in the Obama camp so to speak but, this means nothing. She doesn't attend conventions. To much to do about nothing, there are bigger and more pressing issues to worry about.

    June 27, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Obama Mama

    @Obama- Less republicans in the congress means more progress in the economy and less debt. Republicans are the ones that run the tab up. Dems are the clean up crew. We always pay off your debt and take the state out of total ruin. The republicans in Missouri have made a mess and passed only legislation that helps themselves, not one bill to help us or draw businesses to Missouri. Time for the republicans to be a minority.

    June 27, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Malory Archer

    Rethugs to states, Do as we say or we will GET EVEN. Remember Florida? I seem to recall a European country that imposed a political view on their people and the results were terrible.

    June 27, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Ready

    ObamaClaire is gonna lose!!

    June 27, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. keeth

    Conventions are outdated. And the US taxpayers pay for them anyway, so I'm glad to see people are not attending. This is good news.

    June 27, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. JohnW

    Are Republicans really stupid enough to think that this matters? Is every Republican required to go to their convention regardless of what else they might have going on? Well, I guess that is possible since toeing the line is more important than actually getting stuff done to them. Seriously, though, this is not a big deal and thinking people know this.

    June 27, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. R.I.P. Damon

    Not a big surprise here...she knows her political life is on the line and she needs to distance herself from the avalanche of bad news and polling that is the Obama administration. I wouldn't be shocked if this November is deja vu from 2010 and many of the Dems who voted for Obamacare are ousted by the voters.

    June 27, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McCaskill knows something we all know, Obama's going to win whether she's there or not.

    June 27, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    "All these desperate attempts by Repugnants to come up with some sign that their guy has a Mormon's prayer of winning. You don't hear them talking about the gas prices dropping, do you? You don't hear them talking about the economy improving, do you?"
    Gas prices? Still double compared to when the Oblamer came into office. Economy improving? 1 million less people worknig now than when the Oblamer came into office. Yawn. Next.

    June 27, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Obama Mama

    @RIP she never goes to the conventions. Another republican acting like they have a clue and making up what they do not understand. Missouri is a republican state, we need at least one voice of reason in our state. @RIP- the only bad news would be letting none commital and a man like Romney who goes the way of wealthy lobbyist and is not in it for the rest of the working people.
    Yeah the only thing the republicans challenged in the affordable healthcare act was the legality of a mandate. I guess helping the elderly, keeping the children in college on your healthcare until 26, and no cap on a disease ike cancer is just really bad. Having people pay something on insurance for their care is better and cheaper that paying for them to go to the emergency room. We pay for them anyway why not have them pay something for going to the doctor. Some type of payment for the undersured is better than nothing. There is not another point in the affordable healthcare act the republicans wanted to address, because it helps the worker, we are paying for it, why not the insurance companies pay and not have them take our homes for payment? Most of us pay into insurance all our lives and never go.

    June 27, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. toddu

    Claire and every other multi term politician need to go. Term limits. Obama needs to go down in defeat. He had his chance with his "hope and change" montra..... Didn't work. 5 trillion in NEW debt under his watch. He's not a leader. He's a failure.

    June 27, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. SaraBethany

    I live in Missouri and will be voting for Claire. She has always been pro-veteran, pro-education, and has been the one to cut corruption both on the state & federal level (remember FEMA after Hurricane Katrina). So what if she isn't going to the convention, why should she when she has her re-election going on? She answers to her constituents in MO not to Obama or the Democratic party. WE are the ones who elect her (or not) so she is right to stay here & focus on her campaign. she points out, this convention is pointless since we all know Obama is going to be the nominee. People want to make a big issue out of nothing..

    June 27, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. toddu

    Claire like all multi term politicians need to go down in defeat. Term limits. One term. No life time benefits. Obama needs to be defeated. His "hope and change" didn't work.... 5 trillion in new debt under his watch.... Don't bother with the "It's Bush's fault" crap.... Obama had 2 years to do something about the debt.... No budget in place for 3 1/2 yeras... His own budget plan went down in defeat... Not even garnering ONE single vote from his own party!! Instead, he chose to ram Obamacare down our throats, instead.....Hence the 2010 mid-term election results. Now, it's time to finish the job of cleaning house. DEFEAT OBAMA 2012.

    June 27, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Mary

    So what if she is'nt coming to the convention the news media and the republicans are always looking for something bad to report about the president they should really get a life.

    June 27, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Atul Chaudhary

    Rats are leaving the ships. Would you want to associate yourself with some body who is seen as a failure. She also knows that President will visit sometime or the other to her state so she has no choice but to be in good books of BHO and JB.

    June 27, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
1 2 3 4