Last Tuesday, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill offered some of her time to the Daily News in a sit-down interview. Boonville was one of several spots the Senator passed through in Missouri on primary day. We are printing the following exactly as it happened – our questions, followed by McCaskill's answers. What follows is the first portion of the exchange. The second half will be printed in our Thursday edition and will also be available online.

Daily News: Tell me about your campaign and what you're seeing from potential opponents in the primary.

Senator McCaskill; I think it's hard to distinguish between the three candidates on their positions. I think they're all very similar in terms of the views they have – and I think it's a view that the base of the Republican Party supports – and that is, a very conservative view of what should happen. For me, I don't know that that makes a big difference.

The only thing that's a little scary about it is that John Bruner has spent $8 million of his own money trying to buy a primary victory. I can't imagine what he'd be willing to spend to buy the Senate seat. I'm assuming he certainly could afford to spend $30, $40, or $50 million. I was shocked he was willing to spend $8 million on a primary, so I need to be ready if he wins.

They all three support privatizing medicare, social security and getting the Federal government out of the student loan business, which of course sounds good in theory – until you realize that means that kids whose parents can't afford to put them through college aren't going to get to go to college, because banks aren't going to loan 17-year olds money to go to college without the backing of the Federal government. This would turn college campuses of the United States into places that are full of kids from rich families. We would be losing a whole generation of potentially successful Americans.

I think those three things, which they all agree on, are not in sync with the majority of Americans – maybe the far right-wing of the Republican party embraces those things, but I don't think most Missourians do.

Daily News: Tell readers where your office stands on Amendment 2 as a whole.

Sentaor McCaskill: I voted for the Amendment. Faith has been an important part of my life. I think everyone should be allowed to pray. I'm not sure that the Amendment is necessary and I do think that there will probably be litigation over the incident. I couldn't bring myself to vote against the concept of underlining and putting an exclamation point on where and how people can pray.

If a student wants to opt out of a biology lesson that is covering natural selection, what happens then?

I think that part of it is obviously going to be problematic. Hopefully, that would get worked through in a way that isn't disruptive to a complete education that we want all Missouri kids to get. I think the Amendment probably wasn't necessary, but I couldn't bring myself, based on the ballot language, to say no to it.

Daily News: What are you hoping to convey to voters by coming to Boonville?

Senator McCaskill: There are a bunch of people in Missouri that are never going to vote for me – and there's a bunch of people in Missouri that are going to vote for me. Then, there's a bunch of people in the middle. What I would like to say to those people who don't think party is as important as taking care of their families is what we really have to have in our government is people that are willing to compromise.

Saying 'it's my way or the highway' doesn't get us highways. The Tea Party tried to block the highway bill. The Tea Party is blocking the farm bill. The Tea Party is not willing to come to the table in a balanced approach to reduce our debt and deficit. Right now, you've got people refusing to put a tax-cut in place for 98 percent of Missourians, because they want to make sure to take care of the top two percent. Can't we all agree to take care of the 98 percent, and then argue about the two percent? The notion that they're going to deny these folks a break in their taxes – they do the same for big oil companies. They would stand in front of a train to protect the taxpayer subsidies for big oil, but they're perfectly willing to cut pell grants that allow kids to get to college.

I don't think those are the priorities that most Missourians support. I hope people get past all the negative TV advertising and all the lies that are told in those ads and realize that I have worked hard to cut Federal spending, but at the same time, I know how important it is to get our kids to college. I've worked hard to get rid of earmarks, but at the same time, I know how important it is that we invest in our infrastructure – our roads and bridges.

It's really about whether they want a moderate Missourian or whether they want somebody on the far end. I think I'm the only Senator that had the far left and the far right running TV ads against me at the same time. The National Journal does a ranking of all the Senators. 1-100 on the liberal scale, I was number 50. They do the same thing on the conservative scale, and I was number 51.