It's been a good twelve months for Senator Claire McCaskill, despite the loss of her mother last October. The Democrat from the red state of Missourah trounced her Republican challenger, former congressman Todd Akin, by double-digit margins to win reelection in November. (This, after early polling in the race predicted Akin would easily defeat the incumbent.) Not one to rest on her laurels, McCaskill furthered her national clout this spring by speaking out and demanding that the military take efforts to curb sexual assaults within its ranks. In June, McCaskill backed up her words by blocking the nomination of Lieutenant General Susan Helms as vice commander of the Air Force Space Command after Helms overturned the conviction of an Air Force captain for sexual assault. The move won McCaskill equal parts praise and scorn (the Wall Street Journal accused her of waging a "war on men"), but the Missouri senator never backed down from fighting for the victim — and the underdog.
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