Claire McCaskill Fights Back Against Attack Ads In Missouri Senate Race

Incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is on the defensive after being hit by an onslaught of negative ads from conservative groups and her Republican challengers. “I feel like an underdog,” McCaskill told the Kansas City Star in an interview Sunday. "But I do I know my state pretty well."

The senator's connection to President Barack Obama -- the two are close friends, and she was an early supporter of his -- could hurt her in the swing state. Republicans are targeting McCaskill's votes in favor of the president's health care reform bill and economic stimulus, and her support of the Obama administration's contraception mandate.

McCaskill has responded with two radio spots of her own. One ad positions her toward the middle on abortion and contraception. "Claire McCaskill is fighting to prevent abortion. … No government can tell a woman whether she can use birth control," the ad states. It also combats the image that she is too close to the president, saying "She stood up to the Obama administration to stop regulations that would cost Missouri jobs."

The other ad criticizes negative campaign tactics, stating, "We're better than this. Every election year it's the same: lies and extortions paid for by out of towners. ... No one believes what they're saying about Claire McCaskill."

Missouri's tossup senate contest is one of a handful of races that will be crucial in determining which party gains a majority in the upper chamber.

Three GOP candidates are hoping to challenge McCaskill in November: former State Treasurer Sarah Steeman, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), and businessman Jon Brunner.

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