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Missouri's Claire McCaskill beats Hillary Clinton, other 2016 Dems, to Iowa

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Hillary Clinton,Iowa,2016 Elections,Campaigns,Claire McCaskill

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, famous for her homey tweets and bruising and initially unexpected 2012 reelection victory, is heading to Iowa this week for a 2016 presidential event, the first Democrat to play in the state that hosts the critical first-in-the-nation presidential caucus.

McCaskill, who on Sunday tweeted out a cute black and white photo of her holding her baby grandson, is the featured Washington lawmaker in Emily's List's "Madam President" townhall in Iowa on Friday morning. It takes place at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines.

Emily's List is the nation's leading Democratic political action committee for women and has moved heavily into the presidential space with its new "Madam President" effort to elect a woman to the White House in 2016.

While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the leading woman Democratic candidate eyeing the race, McCaskill has a political base of her own in the Midwest and she has strong ties to Emily's List, which helped her overcome Tea Party Republican Rep. Todd Akin in her reelection race.

Emily's List said the Iowa event will feature discussions by women candidates, like Staci Appel, a candidate for Congress in Iowa's third district, political operatives and the group's president, Stephanie Schriock.

It should give McCaskill a chance to test the waters in neighboring Iowa.

A week later, another potential Democratic candidate, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, will be the keynote speaker for the 10th Anniversary North Iowa Wing Ding Fundraiser.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.