Sen. Claire McCaskill sounds off about state of politics as she closes her senate term

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- On her way out the door, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill opens up in a rare sit-down with our Alana Austin. Stung by her election-night loss, she reflects on what she sees as the cancer poisoning American politics.

For Sen. Claire McCaskill, and Missouri -- this is the quiet end to an era.

“Life’s too short to hold on to bitterness about anything," said McCaskill.

Her office will be cleared out long before the final day of her 12-year tenure. President Harry Truman memorabilia lingers -- a link to the state’s past, and inspiration to Missouri lawmakers, from both sides of the aisle.

“I’ve had a tremendous run and I do feel grateful...I’m just ready for a different kind of challenge," said McCaskill.

McCaskill tells me she will not run for public office again -- leaving her free to let loose on how to fix politics, the media, and culture -- from the Washington swamp, to the Ozarks.

“I really am hopeful that Missourians will begin to realize that you need to hold people accountable for what they accomplish, not just the letter behind their name," said McCaskill.

McCaskill bemoans Trump tribalism, ‘crazy democrats’, and the media echo-chambers that feed them. She says voters need to learn how to disagree without insult, while politicians ought to serve more than just their base.

“We can kind of knit this back together so it’s not the two parties on opposite sides of the room throwing stuff at each other," said McCaskill.

Republican Josh Hawley’s campaign and McCaskill’s threw ‘plenty of stuff’ at each other. We asked if she’ll reach across the aisle to help him with his transition into office. McCaskill says she’ll help, if he asks.

McCaskill tells us she’s looking forward to spending more time with family, especially her many grandchildren, and helping young politicians develop their careers.

She says right now, she's exploring various options and plans to announce her next steps after she leaves office.