SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Less than 24 hours after being called to debate by her opponent Josh Hawley Missouri’s Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill fired back.
“Listen I think there’s a little political stunt in the stuff he’s doing,” says McCaskill. “I don’t know how many times you deliver a speech about a flatbed truck with a teleprompter.”
That flatbed truck reference traces back to the first moments of Hawley’s victory in Tuesday night’s Republican primary.
“No moderator. No complicated rules. No TV studio,” Hawley said from the podium Tuesday. “Just the two of us debating in the best traditions of our country like Lincoln and Douglas. But this time… On the back of a flatbed truck. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to drag that flatbed truck all over this state, to courthouses everywhere, we’ll get out, we’ll get on the back of the truck and we’ll debate. Just me. Just her. No holds barred. That’s my challenge.”
And those direct challenges didn’t stop when Hawley left the stage.
“Let’s let the people of Missouri decide this election,” Hawley told reporters later that night. “They need to hear from us directly. They deserve to hear from her. And have her defend her record that’s failed this state for 12 long years.”
“I’ve got to say some of this is him trying to pivot and not talk about the issues Missourians really care about,” McCaskill told reporters the next day.
But McCaskill responded today saying she is not afraid to defend her record and has already done so a number of times.
“I did 53 town halls and I think 48 of them were in counties where the president won by more than 30 points,” she said. “So I wasn’t exactly going to parts of the state that would be considered my base.”
It’s that kind of public format she’d like to use for any future debates.
“I’d like to do town hall debates because I think questions from Missourians are important,” she said.
And as for the flatbed truck?
“It’s a stunt,” McCaskill said. “We’re going to debate. He knows we’re going to debate and we’re going to debate in a way that the most possible people can see it.”