McCaskill Denies Concerns About DNC In St. Louis

WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri on Wednesday called bogus a report that she raised concerns about having the Democratic National Convention in St. Louis.

In an interview with The Associated Press, McCaskill said she did everything in her power to bring the convention to her home city. She called false a report by The New York Times that party officials said McCaskill, in discussions with the White House, had questioned whether having the convention in St. Louis would complicate her re-election.

"The people involved would tell you otherwise," McCaskill told the AP. "I think one of the reasons St. Louis was in the final cut was probably because I was pushing so hard."

New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny said Wednesday his story "speaks for itself."

Republicans in Missouri have seized on the Times story accusing McCaskill of putting her own interests above those of their state. They circulated documents noting the financial windfall that convention cities can typically expect.

McCaskill said she knows well the potential benefits of hosting the convention. She called it "a mistake" that her party selected Charlotte, N.C. instead.

"I think we are better equipped in St. Louis," McCaskill said. "And I think the White House, they will compound a mistake - they will make a bigger mistake - if they don't compete and compete hard in Missouri."

Seeking to draw a bright line under a potentially damaging story, McCaskill, an early supporter of President Barack Obama and one of his closest friends in the Senate, noted that whether the convention was held in St. Louis or not she would not be able to disassociate herself from the president and the Democratic Party. Nor, she said, would she try.

Does that mean she'll be headed to Charlotte next year?

"It's a good question," she said. "We'll have to wait and see. Isn't the convention after Labor Day this year? I have a feeling I will be very busy."