Local Columnists

June 27, 2014

Steve Kraske: Hillary Clinton and Claire McCaskill are ‘all good’

The two are said to be talking again just in time for Clinton’s expected 2016 presidential run after McCaskill backed Barack Obama in 2008.

Let the word go forth that the ice has melted and that the flowers are in bloom in the ongoing saga that is the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Democrats report that the two are talking again and that McCaskill has even visited Clinton at her home.

“They’re all good,” said someone in the McCaskill camp.

Did you really expect anything else from two veteran pols who know how to fight and, maybe more important, how to reconcile when it’s good for their respective politics?

“Making things right” is one of the most important skills in politics. You blow up at somebody and relations grow distant. But you never sever ties. You hang on to the ability to reconnect for future battles.

That’s what seasoned pols know how to do, and it’s apparently happened in this case.

If you roll the tape, you’ll remember that in 2006, McCaskill said on “Meet the Press” that President Bill Clinton had been a great leader, “but I don’t want my daughter near him.”

Then early in 2008, McCaskill endorsed Barack Obama.

At that pivotal moment, McCaskill drew what to some was a surprising line in the sand.

“This is not an easy decision for me,” McCaskill said about picking Obama over Clinton. “I have deep respect for Hillary Clinton. She’s a smart woman and a strong leader, but at this moment in history it is very important that we look forward with optimism and hope that we’ve not been able to gin up in this country for a while.”

That drove a wedge between Clinton and McCaskill. Soon Senate Democrats were split between the Hillary crowd and the Barack crowd, and things were tense.

But 2008 was a long time ago, and 2016 is right around the corner. The McCaskill makeup, as far as Clinton is concerned, began last August when the Missourian endorsed Clinton’s potential candidacy just seven months into Obama’s second term. McCaskill described Clinton as an “incredible” secretary of state, then talked about the importance of a grass-roots army to fight for her candidacy.

“Nobody,” McCaskill said that day, is “better equipped to be our next president.”

The senator has since taken on GOP political guru Karl Rove over Clinton’s health and this month went into the lion’s den at Fox News to defend Clinton on Benghazi.

In March, McCaskill said of their relationship, “Are we besties for the rest of our lives? No.” But, McCaskill said, she and Clinton were “fine.”

McCaskill has scrambled back into the fold. She’s made things right.

To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send email to skraske@kcstar.com.

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