Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) on Thursday suggested that progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) won't be able to win Missouri if they run for president.
McCaskill, who lost her reelection bid last month, appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" for her "exit interview," where she discussed her loss to Sen.-elect Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) and talked about 2020.
"What type of Democrat needs to get nominated? Can, for instance, Bernie Sanders win in Missouri? Can Kamala Harris win in Missouri? Can Elizabeth Warren win in Missouri? Can they make them competitive?" co-host Joe Scarborough asked.
McCaskill said she is "not sure about that" before pivoting to the qualities she believes would make a winning combination for a candidate in Missouri's Democratic primary.
"I do think that what as a party we need to do is make sure we are nominating someone who is inspirational and who can convince the American people that they can make things change. And it's very hard to make things change if you are hanging out at the ends of the spectrum," McCaskill said. "If you are on opposite sides of the room and saying things that you know will never get 60 votes in the Senate."
She said the Democratic candidate must have "authenticity" and be able to convince independent voters in Missouri and other states that they have the ability to bring people together and repair the damage done by "tribal polarization."
Later during the interview, she took a thinly veiled shot at the rhetoric of Sanders and Warren, saying, "You don't get change by saying, ‘We should have free college.'" Sanders, who was joined by Warren at the time, introduced his free college tuition legislation in 2017.
McCaskill was one of the earliest supporters of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primary and wasted no time castigating her primary challenger, Sanders, according to Politico.
"I think that the media is giving Bernie a pass right now," McCaskill said in a 2015 interview on "Morning Joe." "I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he’s a socialist. I think everybody wants a fight and I think they are not really giving the same scrutiny to Bernie Sanders that they’re giving to, certainly, Hillary Clinton and the other candidates."