When it comes to dodging bullets, few have done it better than Claire McCaskill…
Long ago the Missouri senator’s political colleagues bestowed upon her the nickname "Blonde Ambition." And through the years McCaskill’s used her uncanny skills at charming members of the local media to navigate past any number of potentially career killing missteps.
Let’s look at McCaskill’s latest hot mess and review some of the ones she’s skittered past in the past.
"Senator tripped up by back tax," reads the front page headline in today’s Star. "Revelation is second political embarrassment this month regarding Claire McCaskill’s plane."
"Sen. Claire McCaskill said Monday that she owes nearly $300,000 for four years worth of back taxes on a private airplane that has become a source of political tubulance," the story begins. "In a conference call with reporters, the Missouri Democrat said that she would pay the bill immediately and has told her husband to ‘sell the damn plane…I will never set foot on the plane again.’ "
Facing a tough re-election challenge from Republicans next year, can McCaskill steer past the scandal?
She’s done it before.
In 1994 McCaskill’s husband at the time was busted for smoking pot on the Argosy riverboat casino.
McCaskill, Jackson County Prosecutor at the time, schmoozed her way past the drug bust embarrassment by feeding the Star a quippy quote about her husband, "It’s going to take about a month before I can resist the urge to kill him," she said.
Kinda like the quote she laid on the media yesterday, shifting the blame for the plane controversy to her current husband.
McCaskill took another hit in ’94 when news broke that her Osage Beach condominium was about to be sold for back taxes.
"My brother paid those," McCaskill backpedaled to the Star.
Excuses aside, the fact was Camden County had published a notice that it would auction off the condo McCaskill her husband owned for $2,337 in back taxes dating to 1991.
Again the Star let McCaskill off the hook, allowing her to offer up her younger brother as scapegoat.
Here’s how the Star fell short of the journalistic mark.
As noted by the Johnson County prosecutor at the time, tough questions went unasked. Like how the Hippie Era aged McCaskill could be married to and living with a pothead and be oblivious of the fact. And letting her blame shift not paying real estate taxes billed to her and her husband for three years to her younger brother.
Think about it.
The bottom line today: There’s a vast difference between explaining things away to a handful of user-friendly reporters at the local paper and dealing with the national news media.