Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillEx-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect MORE (D-Mo.) said she's not "disloyal" to President Obama, but is willing to differ with him and other Democrats when necessary.
The centrist Missouri senator said she believes Obama has done many good things, and sidestepped a fellow Missouri lawmaker's warning that distancing herself from the president would be "an act of disloyalty."
"I am certainly not afraid to oppose the president or members of my party if I disagree with them. But that doesn't mean I'm disloyal to this president," McCaskill said Wednesday during a conference call with Missouri reporters. "I think he was the right choice for our country at the right time. I think many of the things he's done should be admired, and have been good."
McCaskill must maintain a centrist posture if she hopes to win reelection in 2012 in Missouri, which has tended more Republican than not in elections since 2006, when McCaskill was first elected to the Senate. She's built a centrist reputation by proposing caps on discretionary spending and a ban on earmarks, and has opposed Obama on cap-and-trade and immigration reform, among other issues.
Those differences between McCaskill and the Democratic establishment led Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the next chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, to issue a stark public warning to the senator.
“Any attempt to extricate herself from him will be an act of disloyalty,” Cleaver said over the weekend. “She will not do that at all.”
McCaskill responded on Wednesday: "There's a difference between being disloyal and being blindly loyal, and agreeing with everything he says. I'm not afraid to tell the president when I think he's wrong — and I have."