Senator Claire McCaskill (D) continued her campaign swing across Missouri with afternoon events at campaigns headquarters in Independence and Harrisonville.
Before the start of the Independence headquarters event there was a media availability outside with Senator McCaskill. The transcript:
Question: ...Okay, so, no RV, huh?
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): Yeah, well, it's on its way, we had a little air conditioning problem. So, um, we had to get the air conditioner fixed today. It's a little hot to be, um, driving in an RV with no air conditioning, so.
Question: But wasn't that supposed to be your good luck charm, 'cause you took Blunt's?
Senator McCaskill: Yeah, it is. It is. We were in it all weekend. We were, uh, with, this is our second time out with it. We'll be in it the rest of the week, so.
Question: Um, last week, of course, the big news was the, uh, the health care ruling and, um, had a couple days to reflect on that. Uh, your statement before didn't say a whole lot about the law itself. I mean, where are you on this 'cause some of your opponents already saying you're trying to really back off from your support of that and calling it, uh, now hitting you with the idea you voted for a tax increase since the Supreme Court is calling it a tax increase.
Senator McCaskill: One of the most conservative chief justices in decades has upheld the law. And now the Republicans are busy spinning distortions and lies about what this legislation is and what it will do. If Missourians will give it a chance they'll find out that it's gonna be a way, uh, that if you have insurance you'll keep it, if you don't, you'll have a place you can shop with private insurance companies to get affordable, accessible health care. It's not any more complicated than that.
Now, if you can afford insurance and you refuse to buy it and you want all the rest of us to pay your bills for you? Then you're gonna have a slight penalty. And that's what the law has been from day one, that's what it still is, and I hope Missourians give it a chance 'cause they're really gonna be pleasantly surprised...
...Question: You're on board, individual mandate and all?
Senator McCaskill: Yeah, I mean, it is, it is important. We have a mandate now. The mandate is through the emergency room. So if someone decides to buy a new Harley Davidson instead of paying for health care we pay their bills when they show up at the emergency room. That's why our insurance rates keep going up. And the goal here is very simple and very straight forward, affordable, accessible health care for everyone in this country. And to do that we've got to make sure that the freeloaders, the ones who can afford it and just say, let somebody else pay the bill? Um, that's the first time I've seen Republicans so anxious to defend the freeloaders.
Question: Senator, do you think Democrats need to do a better job of selling this plan because even last week in the wake of the ruling the silence or the sort of the non comment comments from Democrats was amazing to us.
Senator McCaskill: I, I'm not sure that there was a non comment comment. I think, um, I think, frankly, we were startled that they would, that they would, uh, lie like they are. Um, they're, it's as if they're trying to convince everyone that the Supreme Court changed what it is into something different than what was passed. Of course the Supreme Court can't do that. The Supreme Court, uh, upheld the notion that if you are going to the emergency room and getting health care then you need to share in that burden of paying for the health insurance that covers that health care. And that's all this is. And it's not a government takeover, it's all private insurance companies, and it's gonna be accessible and affordable. And, for the first time, we're gonna see insurance rates stabilize in this country, because as people remember, they've been going up ten percent a year for a long time to cover all those freeloaders that are showing up at the emergency room.
Question: And we're standing here in Independence [Missouri] . How important is this city to your reelection efforts this year?
Senator McCaskill: Well, every city is important in my reelection efforts. And I think one of the reasons the Republicans are lying about the health care bill and distorting what the facts are, is they're trying to distract people from what their plan is. And their plan is very clear, and all three of my opponents have said, we're down. And that is to privatize Medicare, privatize Social Security, and do away with the federal government's involvement in student loans. And those are three big non starters with Missourians, it doesn't matter what city they live in.
Question: You're in fighting form, Senator.
Senator McCaskill: Yeah, well, it, it's a fight. But, I, I'm used to this. I'm used to people distorting my record and lying about my record and we now have, uh, over seven million dollars in anonymous money, uh, that is flooding the TV, uh, airwaves with, uh, lies about my record. Um, I think if people knew who was paying for these ads they'd be pretty proud of me. They'd say, you know, she's made the right enemies in Washington. Um, she's looking after us because the big guys, uh, want to take her out. And I've got to get that message, uh, not only here in Independence, but I gotta spread it to every small town, doesn't matter if it's red territory, blue territory, or somewhere I'm gonna be working.
Question: ...Speaking of money, um, second quarter, uh, just wrapped up. How are you doing?
Senator McCaskill: Uh, remarkably well, remarkably well. I'm, I would get in big trouble if I told you how well we did. But, um, and we still get mail that is dated, the check's dated before, uh, the end of the quarter. There should, there could be some checks in tomorrow's mail so the number's not final yet, But, um, you know, am I gonna have the most money? Gosh no. I can't compete with the Koch brothers and these anonymous billionaires that want to be masters of the universe and make sure the tax code keeps them fat and happy. Um, on the other hand will we have enough to get our message out? Uh, yeah, I think we will, because I think there's a lot of people that are sending in small amounts of money that get what's at stake here. It's, it's the control of the United States Senate.
Question: Speaking of message, um, one of your opponents said that, you know, based on something you said over the weekend, I think it was in Columbia when you launched your tour, uh, the idea that you were criticizing Missourians for not understanding what was in the health care. I mean, do you feel that Missourians, when they voted for it two years ago, against it two years ago, did not understand what they were voting for?
Senator McCaskill: No, I, I wasn't criticizing Missourians. I, I was saying that the Republicans are lying about what's in the bill. I was criticizing them, not Missourians. Um, I understand that Missourians don't like to be told that they have to do anything by the government. Uh, we don't like the government, it's kind of in our DNA in Missouri. So I get why the mandate on its surface is unpopular. But if you think about the fact that we do mandate health care now, unless we want to become a country where you show up at the emergency room dying and we say, I'm sorry, we're gonna let you die if you don't have insurance - we have mandated health care. The question is, how can we pay for that in a way that's fair to everyone? It shouldn't just be a burden on those people who are buying health insurance and paying the costs of that health care. It should be a burden that is shared by everyone, especially when some people are gonna be in a position that they can afford it now and they just choose not to and let somebody else pay for it. That's not the way we should do this.
Question: Do you think this will fade by November and other issues will become more important, or do you think that this is gonna continue on all the way through.
Senator McCaskill: Well, I think jobs are pretty important. I think continuing to make progress on the jobs front is pretty important, our overall economic health is very important. But I tell you what I think will end up being most important in this race. Do you want someone who is more interested in pleasing the tea party and shutting down Medicare as we know it, privatizing Social Security, and getting rid of student loans in this country except for the wealthy? Um, or, somebody who's proud, uh, to be, uh, a middle of the roader, somebody who welcomes compromise. I mean, just in the last two months, two of the leading candidates for Vice President have asked me to work with them on legislation in Washington. And those aren't candidates for Vice President on the Democratic side. That would be Marco Rubio, who I'm working with on a bill to make sure that the UN is not in control of regulation of the Internet and a bill with, uh, Rob Portman to make sure that we have tariffs in a position that are fair to our manufacturers. Uh, I don't think that those Republicans are coming to work with me because I'm some kind of left wing whacko and unreasonable person. They're coming to work with me 'cause they know I'm someone that will work across the aisle.
So, it's gonna be a pretty stark contrast in this election and I think that's what it's gonna be about for Missouri.