(Source: By Dennis Rich, The Sedalia Democrat, Mo. (MCT) – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill met with about a dozen supporters during a campaign stop in Sedalia on Sunday, telling the crowd that “this election will be about the middle class.”
McCaskill, a Democrat, faces stiff oppositionincluding more than $7 million in anonymous adsas Republicans vie for control of the Senate, now comprised of 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and two independents (both of whom caucus with Democrats) in the November general election. Sunday’s stop at Scoops Frozen Custard was part of McCaskill’s statewide “In Our Town, On Our Side,” tour, which includes a week’s worth of stops in 24 communities.
Although there are eight GOP challengers looking for the opportunity to face McCaskill in November, Missouri’s senior senator leveled criticism at the top three candidates: U.S Rep. Todd Akin, former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman and St. Louis businessman John Brunner.
“People aren’t yet familiar with the folks running against me. There are three of them, but they are three of a kind, one in the same in that they are all three tea party candidates and all three hold the same views on just about everything you can think of,” McCaskill said.
“We fought the tea party to get the highway bill passed. We fought the tea party to get the farm bill passed. We fight the tea party on just about everything because they aren’t interested in compromise, they are just interested in shutting down the entire federal government.”
She said Akin, Steelman and Brunner all supported major changes to popular middle class programs including Medicare, Social Security and federal student loans.
She said changes to Medicare proposed by U.S. Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would replace Medicare’s current pay-for-service model with a flat voucher that seniors could spend toward purchasing health insurance on the private market.
“The government would help some with the premiums, but once you got above that government assistance you would be on your own,” McCaskill said.
McCaskill said her opponents also support changes to the Social Security system that would subject contributions to the “up-and-down volatility of the stock market.”
“It would take the security out of Social Security,” she said, and could leave seniors in the lurch if their investments lost money in the stock market. “What would we do then, say you are out of luck?”
She said the biggest change for most Americans would be the privatization of the student loan program.
“I don’t think they have thought it through because I don’t know very many banks who would loan money to a 17-year-old whose family can’t afford to send him to college,” McCaskill said. “Nobody would loan money to a 17-year-old unless their family was already wealthy enough that they could send them to college. So what we would end up having is a country where just the wealthy kids went to college.”
She also praised last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, noting that the ruling was handed down by “one of this nation’s most conservative chief justices” and flatly denying that the measure amounts to a tax increase.
“There are so many untruths being told about this reform and it is important that Missourians give it a chance,” she said. “It is really not what people told them and I am looking forward to people realizing what it really is and I think they will like it very much if they give it a chance.”
©2012 The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Mo.)
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