Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has a special message for Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) whenever she passes him walking in the Capitol: "I say 'call me Cruella de Vil.'"
McCaskill told the St. Louis Dispatch about the inside joke, which refers to the cartoon villainess from the Disney film "One Hundred and One Dalmations," who hunted dogs for fur.
The nickname grew out of the regular phone calls Durbin has with McCaskill, a conservative Democrat, about votes.
McCaskill was recently ranked the 3rd most conservative Democratic member of the Senate by The Washington Post, and she said Durbin sometimes gets frustrated when she votes against Democratic-sponsored legislation.
When that happens, McCaskill said she jokes about Cruella de Vil, telling him, "Dick, I'm not trying to skin puppies here."
Skinned puppies weren't the only colorful animal reference McCaskill made in the interview. Speaking about her re-election campaign in 2012, the Show
Me State senator said she would fight "like a scalded cat" to win.