McCaskill lets loose on Republicans in Jefferson City

ST. LOUIS | Downtown this morning to commemorate the opening of a new drug court for veterans, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill dropped the gavel on state Republicans, judging them “hypocrites” for opposition to stimulus funding.

“The leaders in Jefferson City, the Republican leaders in Jeff City, balanced the budget with stimulus money. And then they have the nerve to stand up, as classic hypocrites, and say how evil the stimulus is,” McCaskill said. “They didn’t balance the budget with Missouri tax dollars over the last two years. They balanced the budget with federal stimulus money.”

The state’s Republican budget leaders, McCaskill said, want to “demonize Washington,” while benefiting from the economic recovery funds approved by Congress.

“Every orange cone you see in Missouri -- almost every orange cone you see in Missouri -- is brought to you courtesy of the stimulus,” McCaskill said. “But, meanwhile, the leaders in Jefferson City, in the legislature, are busy slamming the very vehicle that allowed them to tell their superintendents you’re not going to have to cut a third of your teachers this fall. I think it takes a lot of nerve.”

McCaskill, in a brief but wide-ranging chat with reporters, also fielded questions about the Blunt-Carnahan Senate match-up (“This is going to be a nail-biter”) and St. Louis’ chance of landing the 2012 Democratic Convention. (“It’s far from a done deal.”)

While McCaskill has enjoyed a rising profile on Capitol Hill, it’s no surprise she still has strong feelings about what goes on in Jefferson City -- not only did McCaskill run for governor, she also served as auditor for eight years.

But she’s not upset with everyone in the state captial, just Republicans -- McCaskill is attending tonight’s Cardinal game with her successor in the auditor’s office, Susan Montee.