The Buzz

A trick out of the Claire McCaskill playbook: Rich Republican goes to bat for Bernie Sanders

The McCaskill ad from 2012
The McCaskill ad from 2012

Back in 2012, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri wrote a new chapter in the state’s political history by making a bold move as the Republican Party got ready to pick a nominee to oppose her.

McCaskill weighed in with her own TV spot calling one of the Republican candidates “too conservative.”

That candidate was Todd Akin, and McCaskill believed he’d be the easiest to beat in the general election.

Her idea was to appeal to conservative voters who turn out in big numbers in primaries. The unusual move worked. Akin won the primary, and McCaskill wound up winning the general election.

Fast forward to Iowa 2016. Former TD Ameritrade executive Joe Ricketts, a big GOP donor, reportedly is spending $600,000 on ads calling Democrat Bernie Sanders “too liberal” in the final days of the caucus campaign.

The ad trumpets Sanders’ call for free college tuition, Medicare for all and “raising taxes on Wall Street.”

The Ricketts ads are seen as an attempt to woo Iowa liberals one more time to back Sanders over Clinton. Republicans such as Ricketts surely want to undermine Clinton, who they view as tougher to beat in November.

Ring a bell? It did to McCaskill, who took to Twitter this week to write this:

“I see you Joe Ricketts. And I know exactly what you're up to. #ToddAkin Don't fall for it Iowa Dems.”

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