Saturday, August 2, 2014

Both candidates look back 30 years at political-party breakfasts preceding Fancy Farm Picnic

The two political parties warmed up for the Fancy Farm Picnic this morning with rousing speeches from the U.S. Senate nominees to big crowds at breakfasts in Mayfield.

By Megan Ingros

At the Graves County Republican Breakfast, Sen. Mitch McConnell discussed the political changes in Kentucky during his nearly 30 years in office. Despite his Louisville roots, he said, "Today the smaller the town, the better I do."

McConnell at breakfast (Paducah Sun photo)
McConnell touched on three main issues: health reform, jobs and foreign policy, in each case criticizing President Obama, his main focus of attack in the race.

"The reason we haven't had the kind of bounce back we normally have after a recession is because of the Obama administration itself. . . . It's hard to think of a single thing they haven't messed up," he said. "They think if you're making a profit then you're up to no good. . . . "There's no more conspicuous example of this than the war on coal."

On foreign policy, McConnell implicitly criticized the secretary of state. "The last thing we need is John Kerry trying to force the Israels to make a bad deal. . . . We need to stand by our Israeli friends and this administration needs to get with the program."

McConnell closed with his main argument, that people frustrated with Obama can do only one thing in this year's election, give Republicans control of the Senate and make him majority leader. "My opponent will tell you she's a new face ... She's a new face for Brack Obama. She's a new face for Harry Reid. she's a  new face for no change at all."

By Paige Hobbs

Alison Lundergan Grimes filled the packed room at the Graves County Democratic breakfast with criticism of McConnell and emphasis on jobs.

"It is my number-one priority is to put hardworking Kentuckians back to work," she said. "Hardworking Kentuckians across this commonwealth, they don't just deserve a minimum wage, they need a living wage, and as your senator that's what I'll fight for."

Grimes said that "after three decades, 30 years in Washington, it's Mitch McConnell that has gone Washington, that is out of touch, he has given up on us; it seems he just doesn't care. D.C, in fact, D.C. has come to stand for 'doesn't care' when it comes to giving hardworking Kentuckians a fighting chance to actually survive and increase the minimum wage, Mitch McConnell doesn't care. I do."

Grimes urged the crowd "to bring this race across the finish line" and she ended with a line that she flubbed at the Marshall County Democratic Party bean supper Friday night: "They may have a concession stands at Fancy Farm today but come November 4, Mitch McConnell, he'll be giving a concession speech."

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