McCaskill battles Republican Senate candidates over health care

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Missouri's U.S. Senate candidates are hitting the road this week, hoping to fire up supporters while celebrating Independence day.

The Supreme Court's health care ruling is still dominating the debate.

All three Republicans running against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill hope to use the issue to defeat her in November.

McCaskill arrived at a campaign event in Independence in an regular SUV, not the campaign RV they'd been driving and promoting as part of her tour of the state.

The reason: The RV's air-conditioner broke down.

After the cool ride, McCaskill turned up the heat on Republicans criticizing her support for what Republicans call "Obamacare."

"We've got to make sure the freeloaders, the ones who can afford it, and just say, 'let somebody else pay the bill'.... it's the first time I've ever seen Republicans so anxious to defend the freeloaders," said McCaskill.

McCaskill will face one of three Republicans who are campaigning for the August primary.

All three candidates said they would vote to repeal the health care law.

St. Louis businessman John Brunner said "Obamacare is fundamentally flawed". He is also on an RV tour of southern Missouri this week.

St. Louis Congressman Todd Akin said McCaskill helped perpetrate "this nightmare on our economy".

Former state treasurer Sarah Steelman criticized McCaskill for saying Missourians didn't understand Obamacare.

McCaskill responded to that by saying, "I wasn't criticizing Missourians. I was saying that the Republicans are lying about what's in the bill."

In recent interviews, the three Republicans have been fighting to be seen as the most conservative.

Akin often says, "I'm rated the most conservative congressman in the state of Missouri."

Steelman said, "I know we need to get the government out of our lives and get the economy moving again."

Brunner said, "I was in seventh grade, the Goldwater years, going door to door, handing out books."

even McCaskill brought up - without having been asked - her ties to the GOP on Monday, saying she has been working on bills with Republican senators Rob Portman and Marco Rubio, both rising stars who have been mentioned as possible vice president picks for presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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