Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), a Clinton surrogate, says hearing Bernie Sanders call Hillary Clinton unqualified for the presidency is "like fingernails on a black board" to women voters. McCaskill on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, via MSNBC:
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: And joining me now from Washington, from Capitol Hill, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. She's endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
Senator, you've worked with both of the -- both Senator Clinton, obviously, when she's in the Senate and have known Bernie Sanders for a long time. What is going on here?
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I'm not sure. I'm a little worried about it. I mean, come on. Of course, Hillary Clinton is qualified. I don't know why Bernie went there, especially if you watch the interview that Hillary Clinton did, the people interviewing her tried to get her to say that Bernie wasn't qualified and she refused to say it. She ultimately said the voters have to decide.
And so I'm worried because we've got real work to do in November and we've got to stay united. What we agree on is so important to our country. So I just hope that we don't go there. The Republicans need to do the playground juvenile attacks, negative campaigns. We need to stay on the (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES) high road.
MITCHELL: There are people -- yourself and others (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES)
MCCASKILL: -- in this race and his supporters are passionate for a good reason. And I think that all of us are reluctant to say to Bernie Sanders and his supporters that the math doesn't work. I think this will take care of itself as long as the campaigns stay by and large very positive about the things we agree on and don't go into negative attacks. And calling Hillary Clinton not qualified is like fingernails on a black board to many women across this country, and I think Bernie probably knows that.
MITCHELL: Do you think that gender is involved?
MCCASKILL: Well, I just think it's one of those things that -- maybe it's not right -- but I think women who have succeeded in male-dominated fields have been used to being marginalized about whether or not they are truly qualified and this is an example where we have a candidate for president who is the most qualified and happens to be a woman. And I think there are many women that are excited about that and for anybody to call her unqualified is hard for those women to hear.
I don't think Bernie really believes that Hillary Clinton isn't qualified to be president. I think he knows that she is, and I just hope that the negative tone was just an aberration and we go back to discussing ideas and different approaches to ideas and let's let this play out in a way that allows us to come together in November to win the most important presidential race, I think, of my lifetime.