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New book describes reaction to Claire McCaskill’s jab at Bill Clinton: room of ‘woahs’ and ‘oh s—s’

A new book by a former campaign staffer for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recounted the campaign reaction to former Senator Claire McCaskill’s D-Mo., famous debate moment in 2006 where she said she wanted former President Bill Clinton to stay away from her daughter.

Democrat politico Lis Smith released her new book, Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story, on Tuesday that included a flashback to McCaskill’s debate answer that sparked “woahs” and “holy s—-” in her campaign war room.

The 2006 debate was a defining moment for McCaskill’s political career, with Smith noting in her book that the Missouri Democrat needed to put “daylight between herself” and nationally-known members of the blue party to up her election chances in the red state.


One of those national Democrats was Clinton, and, with “Meet the Press” debate moderator Tim Russert keen on tough questions, the subject came up in a spectacular fashion.

Smith noted in her book that Clinton’s endorsement of McCaskill’s campaign came as a double-edged sword: the man’s status as a master fundraiser would rake in some serious dough, but it “was matched by the clear downside of being tied to a polarizing, former Democratic president who had been impeached for lying about sexual misconduct.”

McCaskill had just finished criticizing her opponent, then-Senator Jim Talent, R-Mo., for not calling then-President George W. Bush a “great president” when Russert asked her about her feelings on Clinton.

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in 2006 she wouldn't let her daughter get near former U.S. President Bill Clinton, her fellow Democrat.

“You’re having Bill Clinton come in to raise money for you,” Russert said. “Do you think Bill Clinton was a great president?”

“I do,” McCaskill responded. “I think—I have a lot of problems with some of his, his, his personal issues. I said at…”

“But do you…” Russert pressed.

“I said at the time, ‘I think he’s been a great leader, but I don’t want my daughter near him,’” McCaskill answered.

Smith wrote that in the “war room back in St. Louis, the comment met with a chorus of whoas and holy s***s,” noting it “was true to form for Claire—she was loath to pull a punch.”

Since losing to Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Claire  McCaskill has become a commentator for MSNBC.

“But still, she’d chosen to take on the last Democratic president—without question, the dominant figure in her own party—on Meet the Press, no less,” Smith wrote.

The comment didn’t sit well with the Clintons or Democrats, either, with McCaskill igniting an uproar in her party.

Smith recounted the fallout of the jab in her book, writing there “was an extra wrinkle to the whole affair, no pun intended.”

“The next day Claire was scheduled to be in New York City for a slate of big-dollar fundraisers,” Smith wrote. “The primary organizers behind them? The Clintons, a pair not exactly known for their magnanimity toward their many critics.”

“One by one, they pulled down each of the events they’d sponsored, leaving Claire twisting in the wind,” she continued. “Back in St. Louis, we were getting hourly updates about how the New York trip was devolving.”

In fact, the beef between McCaskill and the Clintons after her comment was so bad that at one point the former senator did not “want to be in an elevator alone with” former Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

McCaskill ended up apologizing several years later in 2013 for the “gratuitous and hurtful” comment about her not wanting the former president impeached for lying about sexual misconduct near her daughter.

“I said a lot of things in the last 30 years that I’m not particularly proud of. I mean there have been things that I’ve said that I wish I could take back,” McCaskill said. “It was gratuitous and hurtful and I have apologized to both President Clinton and Hillary Clinton for saying it.”

McCaskill did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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