COLUMBIA — Missouri's two sitting U.S. senators squared off in separate appearances Thursday over whether Republican Roy Blunt or Democrat Robin Carnahan is the best choice for voters in next week's Senate election.
Republican Sen. Kit Bond, who is giving up his seat for retirement, campaigned to make Blunt his successor. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, meanwhile, campaigned with Carnahan. Neither offered positive comments about the candidate representing the rival party.
Speaking to about 60 people at a Democratic rally in Columbia, McCaskill asserted that Blunt was part of "a little circle of incestuous nonsense" involving Republican House leaders and lobbyists who worked together to provide earmarked spending for favored projects. Until 2009, Blunt served as the House Republican whip, responsible for rallying support for legislation backed by the party.
"Pulling the levels of power at that moment, in that back room, was none other than the Republican nominee for Senate, Roy Blunt. And he's the reformer?" McCaskill asked rhetorically. "This is someone who plays the game in Washington ... a guy who's masquerading as a reformer."
By contrast, McCaskill said, Carnahan "has the heart of the reformer."
Bond spoke to several dozen Blunt supporters at the home of Diane Berberich in Imperial, south of St. Louis. Standing in front of a large bay window looking out over wooded valleys, Bond said he planned to wear a "sack over his head" if Blunt did not win his old Senate seat.