It begins: McCaskill challenger runs ad with Hillary take on red-state voters

Did Hillary Clinton give Republicans a gift during her trip to India? Josh Hawley wants to be the first to find out, as The Hill reported yesterday from its sneak peek at his new web ad. The Republican challenger to Sen. Claire McCaskill wants all Missouri voters to remember her close ties to Hillary, and what the woman that McCaskill endorsed so enthusiastically thinks about them:

“In Claire McCaskill’s America…Hillary is the president. Senator McCaskill led the Hillary coalition. And what does Hillary Clinton think about us?” the ad reads, pivoting to Clinton’s remarks.

“If you look at the map of the United States, there’s all that red in the middle where Trump won,” Clinton says in video of her recent remarks at a conference in India.

“I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards,” she adds.

“You didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs. You don’t want, you know, to see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is … working for a woman now, you don’t like it. Whatever the reason was, he stirred that up.”

The ad then ends with more text, telling voters, “This is what Claire McCaskill and her ‘president’ think of you.”

Last week, McCaskill tried distancing herself from Hillary’s remarks. “Those are kind of fighting words for me, because I’m partial to Missouri voters … I don’t think that’s the way you should talk about any voter, especially ones in my state.” Reportedly, she told another outlet that “you’re killing me” by asking about Hillary’s remarks.

That has to sting, but for how long? It’s an effective ad in the sense that it personalizes the remarks from the party leader of 2016 and ties them to McCaskill. However, this looks more like something one would drop in the final days of a campaign rather than months ahead of the vote. It packs an emotional punch, but it’s also an indirect emotional punch. Hillary Clinton won’t be on the ballot in 2018 and probably won’t ever be on a ballot again, especially after these remarks. McCaskill’s endorsement of Hillary is fair game so it’s not a cheap shot at all, but it may not have quite as much staying power as, say, framing the election around the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the latter of whom McCaskill enables in real time.

Still, expect to see this cut into 30- and 60-second TV spots at some time, probably more in October. And don’t think for one of those seconds that campaigns aren’t cutting ads on Hillary’s remarks in places like North Dakota, West Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and so on.

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET