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McCaskill's comment was inappropriate

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I intentionally have not weighed in on the heated race for the Missouri Senate featuring incumbent Jim Talent against Claire McCaskill. Through the years, I've had the privilege of meeting and getting to know both of these individuals and I have respect for both. McCaskill is both talented and feisty and that is more assuredly to her advantage. Talent is brilliant and can get the job done. That is to his advantage.

But McCaskill last week made a statement that is wrong, is false and is inappropriate. Unless she can prove what she is quoted as saying, she needs to apologize. I recognize that in the arena of politics, words are spoken with emotion. That's the way it should be. But despite my respect for Claire McCaskill, she put her foot squarely in her mouth this time.

Speaking to a largely minority gathering in St. Louis last week, McCaskill said that "George Bush has no better friend than Jim Talent." So far, so good. But then she said "George Bush let people die on rooftops in New Orleans because they were poor and because they were black."

That Claire, is a lie. And you know it. What in the world would give a candidate the right to make such an absurd statement other than to inflame those in attendance and inject race into the Senate race in the state of Missouri? Good God, are we not above that?!

Claire McCaskill has a solid record on which to run. She has the guts to take a position and to stick to her guns. That is exactly why I respect her. And admire her.

But the charge that the President of this country intentionally allowed people to die because of their race or their financial status, is far, far beyond the acceptable. If she can prove her case, I'll run it on the front page of this newspaper the day it arrives. Otherwise, this fine candidate needs to admit she was out-of-bounds on such a ridiculous statement and simply acknowledge that ample mistakes were made in New Orleans by members of all races, of all political parties, etc.

Here's my advice for Ms. McCaskill. Do what you do best. Meet people, look them in the eye and tell them where you stand. You're darned good at it and you're respected for it. But don't separate us more than we already are. It won't win you votes and it certainly won't win you respect.



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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen