Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., shunned the national spotlight by staying away from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Instead, the incumbent chose to focus on her own campaign by attending a Labor Day picnic at Fassnight Park in Springfield, Mo. After a short speech, the candidate told a local television station what she thought of the Democratic National Convention.
* McCaskill spoke to a crowd following Springfield's Labor Day Parade. The Springfield News-Leader carriedexcerpts of the senator's speech .
* McCaskill criticized her opponent, Rep. Todd Akin, for his assertion both Medicare and Social Security should be privatized. She also blasted her opponent for wanting the government to stay out of the student loan business. Many comments levelled at Akin were met with jeers and boos.
* McCaskill's appearance was sponsored in part by the local carpenter's union and other labor unions celebrating Labor Day. The senator also said Akin wants to "abolish the minimum wage." She then compared the minimum wage to a floor that keeps Americans from sinking further into poverty.
* Reaction to McCaskill's speech was generally positive. Despite temperatures in the mid-90s, dozens of people showed up to hear the incumbent say she is a "warrior for the middle class." Shirley Huffman told the News-Leader she felt McCaskill was "right on target."
* The speech was also attended by Democratic candidates for other offices in Missouri. Jim Evans, who faces long odds against Rep. Billy Long, was in the crowd. Attorney General Chris Koster also joined McCaskill.
* McCaskill told KSPR the reason why she isn't going to to the Democratic National Convention , despite being invited. The candidate said, "When I was running for [Jackson County] prosecutor in 1992, it was the first opportunity I had to go to the convention. I went home and told my mom, 'Mom, I'm going to get to to the convention.' She said, 'No you're not. That's just a party. You're gonna stay here and work on your election.' So I've never gone to a convention when I've had a contested race."
* Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Michael Sanders told the Dallas Morning News McCaskill would be the "darling of Charlotte" had she chosen to attend. However, Sanders understands how important a victory in Missouri is for Democrats. The party chief was in Charlotte for the convention.
* McCaskill told KOLR she wouldn't be surprised if Akin somehow gets "sneaky, anonymous, backroom money" ahead of the general election. The incumbent believes the race is far from over despite Akin's controversial comments regarding abortion and "legitimate rape."
* Also on Labor Day, the Rothenberg Political Report changed the McCaskill/Akin race from a "pure toss-up" to "lean Democrat ." The pundit website cited Akin's lack of direction moving forward and lack of big money. Two weeks ago, the same political entity moved the Missouri Senate race from "lean Republican " to "pure toss-up." The Rothenberg Political Report went from a Republican lean to a Democratic edge in the span of four weeks.
William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics.