WASHINGTON -- Some politicians celebrate major career milestones with reflection, others with words of thanks to staff. Some stay humble in victory; others take to the podium to gloat. And some just chug booze.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) shotgunned a beer the night then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) won the 2012 Republican Senate primary and became her general election opponent, she reveals in her new book “Plenty Ladylike.” Unfortunately, she didn't reveal what the beer was, making it all but impossible to truly judge her drinking capacity.
McCaskill had plenty to celebrate that night. Akin, a tea party Republican, was the most inherently flawed candidate among the three GOP candidates running for the nomination, and her campaign had spent $1.7 million to prop him up. That effort, which the McCaskill campaign dubbed “A Cup of Tea,” involved running ads touting just how conservative Akin was, in the hopes of swaying Republican voters.
It was a high-risk strategy. If Akin didn’t win the nomination, McCaskill would look foolish for wasting her campaign resources.
But it was high-reward, too. Akin ended up being just as flawed as McCaskill’s aides predicted, eventually producing the most boneheaded line of the campaign cycle: that the bodies of women who had experienced "legitimate" rapes had a way of shutting down any resulting pregnancies.
The other reward was alcohol. After launching “A Cup of Tea,” McCaskill promised her two daughters that she’d shotgun a beer if Akin won the primary. In her book, she details the night Akin won the contest:
After hugging my husband and calling my son in St. Louis, it was time for me to keep my promise. My daughters had to show me how to shotgun a beer. You punch a hole in the side of a beer can while holding it horizontally. Then you invert the can upside down over your mouth and pull the aluminum tab. Beer gushes into your mouth and you have to swallow quickly to avoid a big mess. I did it. And we laughed until we cried.
UPDATE: 5:00 p.m. -- Brian Walsh, who was a staffer at the National Senatorial Republican Committee during the 2012 cycle, revealed that he consumed booze on the night of Akin's win as well.