Sunday, November 30, 2008

McCaskill Says Clinton Pick Shows Obama Wants To Be Challenged

Sen. Claire McCaskill said that Barack Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State shows that the President-elect wants to be challenged on his views.

McCaskill spoke on Fox News Sunday, opposite Senator Lindsey Graham. She tried to push back on claims that the two powerful personalities of Obama and Clinton may collide.

"Obviously, Barack Obama is going to set the policy, but he will listen to different views," McCaskill said. "He is not afraid to be challenged by people around him. He wants to be challenged," she said.

She went on to defend his choice of keeping on Secretary of Defense Bill Gates.

"Let me say this about Secretary Gates. Even though there may have been times I disagreed with him and maybe Barack Obama disagreed with him, this is a man who clearly holds the highest level of the military accountable for mistakes, which has been very impressive to all of us," she said. "He has solid relationships on both sides of the aisle. And what these picks say about Barack Obama is that the kind of change that he’s embracing is that you don’t just pick the people who were on your side during the campaign. You pick the best you can find. That’s an important change for Washington," she added.

McCaskill said the attacks in Mumbai proved that the fixation on Iraq is misguided and that the real focus on battling Al Qaeda is in Pakistan.

"The Obama team is looking at strengthening the region and what Obama has said is that the terror threat we face is in Pakistan, not Iraq," she said.

On the prospect of a potential government bailout for the auto industry, McCaskill said she'd only consider it if Congress gets a clear accounting of the companies' financial situation.

"We need to behave like a bank," McCaskill said. "And we need to make sure that we get all of those internal financials and that we feel comfortable that this is a good investment for the American taxpayer," she added.

But she also talked about the importance of keeping Americans working in the industry, and noted that she just bought a new Chevy hybrid pickup.

"I hope people think about Santa Clause and the auto industry this Christmas," she said.

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