Thursday, January 15, 2009

McCaskill's Jokes About Mascara, Then Gets Serious

Jennifer DiMascio of Politico has a fun tidbit from the Homeland Security Secretary hearing Thursday involving Sen. Claire McCaskill:

"For the women of America, she wondered, "What is it about my mascara that’s so threatening?" And after having traveled with a bum knee that required security checks, she said she’s not anxious for "extra love pats" to come back. The mention of “love pats” threw committee chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who told McCaskill, "You left me speechless there." Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.) had more to add: “I don’t think you’re the first guy Claire has left speechless."

But later, Missouri's junior Senator questioned President-elect Barack Obama's nominee about the country's "dismal record of prosecuting employers who ignore immigration laws."
"I believe the federal government has hid behind the notion these cases are too hard to make, these cases are too difficult to make against employers, but I believe the previous administration purposely looked the other way as it related to employers," McCaskill said in her questioning of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.
Then, in a release later, McCaskill's office said the Senator "put Napolitano and the incoming Obama Administration on notice that this may be her last "warm and fuzzy" hearing before the committee, if "she doesn't see more accountability for employers who hire illegal immigrants."
While Obama is a top ally, look for McCaskill to continue to carve out ways to challege/be tough on and even differ from the President-elect.
Need more evidence? Check out McCaskill's questioning of Obama's Number 2 Pentagon pick at an Armed Services Committee hearing "that was otherwise smooth sailing." (McCaskill wanted answers about William Lynn's defense industry ties . . . "It’s an incestuous business that’s going on in terms of the defense contractors, and the Pentagon, and the highest levels of our military," she said.)
With Obama's narrow loss in the state, she's quite aware that Republicans would love to tie her to Obama's "liberal" policies four years from now. Note to Republicans: McCaskill will be quite savvyabout picking ways she can continue to show her independence, even with a Democrat and close friend in the White House.

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