Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McCaskill's Beverly Hills Fundraiser with Obama Sparks Fiery Attacks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McCaskill's Beverly Hills Fundraiser with Obama Sparks Fiery Attacks

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - Former President Barack Obama, who has been emerging from his post-presidency to advocate for fellow Democrats, will raise money for Missouri's Sen. Claire McCaskill in Beverly Hills in early May.

The news of Obama's appearance, the first fundraiser he will do for an individual candidate this election season, set off a harsh exchange in Missouri over who is the authentic populist in the Show-Me state's prospective 2018 Senate campaign, one of the most-watched in the country.

McCaskill called Attorney General Josh Hawley, favored to be her Republican opponent in November, a "fake populist ... with an Ivy League education."

A spokeswoman for Hawley responded that McCaskill "sold Missouri's vote to Hollywood."

Politico reported that the invitation to the May 6 event says it will be hosted by "the actress Katie McGrath, film studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and other Los Angeles-area heavyweights."

McCaskill told the Post-Dispatch that she believes the fundraiser also would raise money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The Missouri Democratic party did not respond to questions about whether it, too, would receive donations from the Beverly Hills event.

Republicans immediately jumped on the news, trying to frame it as McCaskill raising money with an ex-president who never won Missouri, while taking money from Hollywood for a campaign in which she's portraying herself as a centrist Missourian.

"Question for every red-state Democrat today: 'Will they welcome Obama to their states and remind folks that they voted for his disastrous policies?'" said Katie Martin, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

She said that Obama was "extremely unpopular in Trump Country."

By day's end, Hawley's campaign posted an online advertisement featuring news of the Beverly Hills event.

McCaskill delivered brief remarks to union members at the state Capitol on Wednesday in which she urged voters to vote down a "right to work" law at the ballot box this year.

Afterward, asked about whether the fundraiser in California put her out of sync with Missouri voters, McCaskill said that Hawley also was having out-of-state fundraisers.

"No, it's basically based on the (former) president's schedule," she said of the Beverly Hills event. "I think Mr. Hawley's going to be -- he's already raising money all over the country. It's what happens when you run for the United States Senate. He understands that."

In her speech in Jefferson City, McCaskill told union members that GOP attempts to brand her an elitist were "B.S."

"As you listen over the coming months, when they actually try to sell this B.S. that I'm an elitist and this guy is a populist, call 'em out," McCaskill said, to cheers. "Call 'em out."

Barbing Hawley's Yale University degree, she also criticized Hawley's big-dollar donations from Missouri megadonor David Humphreys, who supports "right to work," which forbids requiring union dues as a condition of employment. …

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