Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is quickly making freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) one of her favorite targets.
After comparing the tea party-backed newcomer to notorious anti-communist inquisitor Joe McCarthy last month, McCaskill again lit into Cruz on Tuesday, suggesting that he was intent on pushing the nation “off the right edge of the world.”
Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” McCaskill weighed in on her recent reelection win in purple Missouri against then-Rep. Todd Akin (R). She suggested that Akin's downfall, which came swiftly after he drew nationwide backlash for suggesting that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely became pregnant, was indicative of a broader GOP trend.
“On the other side, it’s a mess,” McCaskill said. “They really have a civil war in their party right now. ... You’ve got people who are willing to compromise and who understand the beauty of compromise in our democracy, and then you have people like Ted Cruz and some of the others that just think that they want to drive as hard as they can off the right edge of the world.”
McCaskill went on to suggest that Republicans pushing this mentality would continue to make it easier for Democrats to win in redder states.
“The reason I could win was, frankly, they nominated a flawed candidate that was so extreme,” she said. “It wasn’t what Todd Akin said that was the problem, it's what he believed. And that is the base of the Republican Party right now.”
Speaking last month after the Senate confirmation hearing of then-defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, McCaskill offered a colorful rebuke of Cruz's aggressive and controversial cross-examination.
“He basically came out and made the accusation about money from North Korea or money from our enemies, and he just laid out there all of this accusatory verbiage without a shred of evidence,” McCaskill said of Cruz in an interview with The New York Times. “In this country we had a terrible experience with innuendo and inference when Joe McCarthy hung out in the United States Senate, and I just think we have to be more careful.”
While many conservative commentators objected to McCaskill's use of the McCarthy comparison, The New Yorker later reported that Cruz had actually once claimed that Harvard Law School had employed avowed communists while he attended the school in the 1990s. His camp later stood by the contention.