Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day weekend roundup: Mailer for McConnell seeks women's vote on military sex-assault issue

A desultory collection over three days as things pop up:
  • Nick Storm of cn|2's "Pure Politics" reports on Friday's McConnell-Paul press conference as a "reversal of roles" from 2010, when McConnell forged party unity behind the insurgent Paul. The cn|2 reports are almost always interesting because they include video.
  • The presser lede from The Associated Press's Adam Beam: McConnell "wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but he would not say Friday what that would mean for the 413,000 Kentuckians who have health insurance through the state’s health care exchange." The Washington Post's headline over the AP story, based on McConnell's closing quote, has a hint of disbelief: "McConnell: Exchange unconnected to health law." As Beam writes, "The exchange would not exist if not for the federal law that created it."
  • Joe Gerth and Jim Carroll of The C-J point out that the two candidates have little in common, but share "a refusal to answer questions they don't like about the Affordable Care Act."
  • In columns, Gerth says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was correct to say "Coal makes you sick," and Carroll notes that McConnell's proposed "Lincoln-Douglas style debates" would differ considerably from those in 1858, and that McConnell has never given a challenger three televised debates.
  • Al Cross writes in his C-J column about the role of coal and women in the race, and says if McConnell is "serious about his stated desire 'to present our views fairly ... before Kentuckians are inundated with advertising, "He needs to be debating during the inundation, not just before it."
  • The importance of the female vote was shown by a mailer from the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a "super PAC" for McConnell that doesn't have to reveal its donors. It shows a woman in military gear and another with a child and says the senator "is working to ensure these brave women have the opportunities and support they need," mainly by voting for a bill that would take sexual assault cases out of the chain of command. See the mailer here.
  • Grimes and McConnell are in "a daily battle to define the race and each other," Joe Arnold of Louisville's WHAS-TV says in his report on the contest since the primary, in the latest edition of his weekly show, "Powers that Be." (Arnold refers to Grimes aide Jonathan Hurst as "campaign manager.)
  • Bill Barrow, an Atlanta-based writer for The Associated Press, writes that Grimes and Michele Nunn, nominee for an open Senate seat in Georgia, are among Democratic candidates "trying to figure out whether to embrace or avoid President Barack Obama's health care overhaul — or land somewhere in between." Neither will say how they would have voted on the law if they had been senators in 2010, and "Their refusals are overshadowing their endorsements of individual parts of the law that are more popular than the law itself." But Barrow's story also notes McConnell's difficulty with questions about the state exchange that has given 415,000 Kentuckians health insurance.
  • Ashley Parker of The New York Times profiles Mark Putnam, Grimes's media consultant: "Putnam, who worked on President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaign ad teams, has attracted a host of prominent Democrats running in red states this cycle."
  • How important was McConnell's financial advantage in his blowout of Matt Bevin? Probably not very, writes Kevin Glass on

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