Whoops! McCaskill Steps in It Again

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) has stepped in it again — this time earning herself not two, not three, but a FOUR Pinocchio rating from the Washington Post. The rating comes on the heels of the recent WaPo/60 Minutes exposé regarding a recent law passed by Congress which purportedly impeded the DEA’s ability to pursue drug distributors. This is a hot-button issue given the alarming rise in opioid overdoses and deaths, and McCaskill, to her credit, has been advocating measures designed to address the opioid crisis, including pushing for repeal of the law in question.


The bill passed the Senate last year via unanimous consent. McCaskill initially claimed that she wasn’t present for that vote, as she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. On October 16th, she gave an interview to CNN’s Jake Tapper in which she stated:

“Now, I did not go along with this. I wasn’t here at the time. I was actually out getting breast cancer treatment. I don’t know that I would have objected. I like to believe I would have, but the bottom line is, once the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] kind of, the upper levels at the DEA obviously said it was okay, that’s what gave it the green light.”

As a breast cancer survivor myself, I’m willing to cut the Senator a fair amount of slack on that count. Cancer treatment is no picnic and can understandably cut into one’s ability to maintain a full-time work schedule. However, as the WaPo piece notes, McCaskill wasn’t just a smidge off on her recollection of the timing — she was demonstrably wrong:

The bill was approved in the Senate at 6:25 p.m. on March 17, 2016.

But on March 14, USA Today reported that McCaskill “dove back into the legislative and political arena on Monday, returning to Washington after three weeks of intensive treatment for breast cancer in St. Louis.” She held a 30-minute call that day to tell reporters she was back at work.

On March 16, Senate records say, she voted against a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

On March 17, the day the DEA bill was approved, she voted at 1:43 p.m. to approve a resolutionholding the chief executive of the website backpage.com in contempt for allegedly refusing to cooperate in an investigation of sex trafficking. McCaskill even appeared on the floor to make the case for approval of the resolution.

That day, according to a news release, McCaskill participated in a Senate hearing on sudden spikes in drug prices.

So, despite her claim that she “wasn’t here at the time,” McCaskill was clearly back at the Senate, participating in votes and hearings.


Not only did she goof in her Tapper interview, she also remained silent the following day when NPR host David Greene said,  “I know you were dealing with some health issues and did not take a vote on this.” Rather than correct that impression, she left it be, and only acknowledged later, via a spokesman that, “It was sloppy on our part, and we take responsibility.”

For this, WaPo’s Glenn Kessler notes:

She told CNN she’d “like to believe” she would have opposed the bill and stopped it. But the reality is that she was there — and she missed the opportunity that she seeks now. She earns Four Pinocchios.

The liar-liar-pants-on-fire rating for McCaskill (who also famously claimed she’d never met Typhoid Sergey (Kislyak), only to have that blow up in her face) likely has top GOP contender Josh Hawley licking his chops.  Hawley confirmed his intent to run last week, and recent polling is favorable:

Going forward, Senator McCaskill may want to fact-check herself before she gives interviews.


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