McCaskill Flying Toward Trouble with Voters

Do politicians ever mean what they say, or do they just say what works? When Senator Claire McCaskill was running for Governor in 2004, she attacked her primary opponent, incumbent Bob Holden, for using a plane. Now, her career is threatened for using tax dollars to pay for her own use of a private plane - one owned by she and her husband - then, not paying taxes owed on their plane.



One ad (above) in the 2004 primary challenge to Governor Bob Holden is a parody of MasterCard's famous "Priceless" spots: "Bob Holden's 336 taxpayer funded trips on a private jet -- $1,270 per hour," intones the narrator. "Replacing him with a Democrat who will win in November -- priceless."

Another ad (below) features a mocking animation of the jet, while a third shows it amid other lurid "perks" she suggests she'll sweep away when she takes office.

McCaskill defeated Holden in the 2004 primary but lost in November to Republican Matt Blunt. She was elected to the Senate two years later.

McCaskill is up for reelection next year, and the scandal is enhancing a pickup opportunity for the GOP.

The Cook Political Report on Thursday downgraded Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's re-election chances to "toss-up" after a private jet controversy that could undercut her image as a government reformer.

"There is nothing voters hate more than politicians who don't pay their taxes or what voters perceive as their fair share of taxes," Cook Political Report's Jennifer Duffy writes.