McCaskill: Rift with Hillary Clinton “overblown”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (Photo/ Julie Denesha For The Washington Post)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (Photo/ Julie Denesha For The Washington Post)

Senator Claire McCaskill called a perceived rift between herself and Hillary Clinton “very much overblown” and said the two had long reconciled after falling out over her endorsement of then-Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.

“When you take one side over the other instead of hiding and not taking either, which some of my colleagues did, then there’s a political price to pay,” McCaskill, (D-Mo.) said Tuesday during a “Women Rule” forum sponsored by Politico. “Having said that, it has been very much over blown.”

McCaskill was the first member of Congress to publically support Ready for Hillary, a super PAC dedicated to encouraging former secretary of state to run for president in 2016.

Tuesday marks the second time this week that the relationship between the two women has been addressed by  McCaskill, who told the St. Louis Post Dispatch in an interview published Monday that she and Clinton were “fine” but wouldn’t be “besties for the rest of our lives.” 

The Clintons already had a prickly relationship with McCaskill when she passed on endorsing Hillary Clinton in 2008. The political power couple and McCaskill had worked to mend their relationship after the Minnesota Democrat’s 2006 comments about then-president Bill Clinton during a Meet the Press debate.

“He’s been a great leader, but I don’t want my daughter near him,” McCaskill said at the time. She apologized for the remarks shortly after.

McCaskill said Tuesday that Clinton called her “not long after” she announced her support for Ready for Hillary and that the two had a “great conservation.”

“I think she knows when I go at this I will go at this with everything I’ve got and now I am 150% going after this with everything I’ve got to make sure we can say, finally, madam president.”

McCaskill criticized the media for focusing only on the policy battle with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) during the Senate’s debate over how the military handles sexual assault cases, instead of the reforms that they were able to include in the defense authorization bill.

“I think we’ve shown that we now kind of crossed that rubicon that women can disagree on substantive policy and that lightning doesn’t strike the building,” she said.

Gillibrand, who also spoke at Tuesday’s event, later echoed her remarks, saying it was perfectly normal for women to take different  policy positions, and were not a “monolith.”

“We all come to the table with good will and good intentions to get something done,” she said.

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