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Joe Scarborough Calls Out Claire McCaskill for Partisan Digs

• November 5, 2015 11:15 am

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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called out Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) on Thursday for employing not-so-subtle putdowns about her partisan opponents while talking about the virtues of bipartisanship.

"Hold on a second. You know, Claire, I'm going to take exception at this point," Scarborough said after a tense back-and-forth about the Koch brothers. "You keep talking about wanting to have a civil conversation. I invite you to print the text of what you have said today, and every single thing you have said has been filled with a barb and an insult."

After reviewing the text of McCaskill’s statement, Scarborough is not quite right. Several of McCaskill’s comments were defenses of her ally Hillary Clinton rather than insults about her opponents.

"We need to get away from ‘gotcha’ situations," McCaskill said, dismissing Clinton’s applause line that Republicans were her enemies.

Additionally, one of McCaskill’s comments included praise for Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who recently delivered a speech about the destructive influence of partisanship on politics.

Still, McCaskill included plenty of gratuitous digs against her partisan opponents.

"It would be great if we would quit focusing so much on how we can make the other guys look bad so we can win elections. I could make the argument that that was what Benghazi was all about," McCaskill said.

"Our politics don’t reward people who want moderation and compromise. All the noise in politics is made on the far left and far right. Just look at the Republican presidential campaign."

McCaskill was particularly animated when talking about the Koch brothers, billionaire industrialists hated by many Democrats for their political spending on behalf of libertarian causes.

"I think there was a lot of angst out there that these guys who behind the scenes have been pulling the lever on the wrecking ball to our democracy when it comes to Citizens United," McCaskill said.

"Boy, that's not going to a corner with a talking point, Claire," Scarborough said. "If you're gonna talk the talk, you have to walk the walk and not demonize them."

I'm not demonizing them. I'm trying to explain to you that there is a lot of angst about these guys who have spent millions of dollars behind the curtain," McCaskill said. "I'm not aware of any candidate who supports gay marriage that they've supported, not one."

McCaskill, who hails from a relatively conservative state, presents herself as a moderate. In Thursday’s interview, she said that she hangs out "in the middle" and burnished her credentials as a fiscal conservative.

While McCaskill has supported some conservative priorities like banning earmarks, her record on most issues is uniformly liberal. McCaskill has perfect voting records with NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and the Brady Campaign, a gun control group. According to the American Conservative Union, McCaskill votes with conservatives 13 percent of the time, about on par with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), considered one of the Senate’s most liberal Democrats.