BELTON, Mo. - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is in Belton Thursday, holding a town hall meeting to talk with seniors about Social Security and Medicare.
The Missouri Democrat will soon be defending her first term and trying to win a re-election campaign.
"I'm used to being the underdog. And I don't think there's any question that I'm the underdog in this race," said Mc Caskill.
Republicans lining up to challenge her include former state treasurer Sarah Steelman and Congressman Todd Akin.
A recent poll showed them each essentially tied with McCaskill.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, says as of Sept. 13 i t McCaskill over Steelman 43%-42%.
Against Akin, McCaskill scores 45%-43%.
She's farther ahead of John Brunner, who's expected to enter the race next week.
Steelman says McCaskill is beatable.
"Her record is one of big government and the government has all the solutions, and let's keep spending money, and people are just fed up with that," said Steelman.
McCaskill says, "We have to spend less money, we have to live within our means, but that doesn't mean we have to dismantle the federal government."
McCaskill expects to take heat from whoever wins the Republican primary because of her close ties to President Obama.
"She's been riding shotgun there with Obama, for her entire term, and everything that he wanted she has been and ready and willing in the Senate," said Steelman.
McCaskill says, "I think the media wants to turn this into... you know, is she going to dance away from him.... you know, that cake is baked."
By that, she means it's no big deal that she won't be by his side when Obama headlines an upcoming event in St Louis. She says it's on a Tuesday when they're in session and she has other obligations.
"He will be the first to tell you that I exercise independent judgment. But I'm not going to play some game, that I'm not gonna be seen with the president. I think that's silly," said McCaskill.
Missouri voters will decide whether she's been independent enough to keep her seat for a second term.
Politico.com ranks Missouri as the fourth most competitive Senate race in the country, making every move important to both parties even though it's more than a year before the general election.
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