Monday, August 18, 2014

McConnell agrees to KET debate (no Patterson), gets help from NRA mailer; editor defends jobs quote

Finally, a real debate has been scheduled; and there's more news and commentary:
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell has accepted KET’s invitation to debate Alison Lundergan Grimes Oct. 13, three weeks before the election and about six weeks after Labor Day, when he wanted to end a series of debates he proposed. "Host Bill Goodman will moderate the debate and ask questions, and viewers will be allowed to call in with their questions, said Tim Bischoff, a spokesman for the state's educational television network," reports Joseph Gerth of The Courier-Journal. "Josh Holmes, an adviser to McConnell, said that the campaign is in discussions about other potential debates but has nothing to announce at this time." Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said their campaign hopes for "several more debates."
  • Bischoff said Libertarian Party candidate David Patterson did not meet the criteria that the network said must be met by Aug. 15, including acceptance of at least $100,000 in campaign contributions and getting at least 10 percent support in an independent, professional poll.
  • The National Rifle Association has sent a mailer to Kentucky residents that says,"McConnell will stop the Obama/Bloomberg Gun Control agenda . . . the biggest threat to your Second Amendment rights in Obama's final years in office. ' of President Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg." Kevin Willis of WKYU-FM in Bowling Green notes that the mailer was sent shortly after it was revealed that McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, is on the board of a charity created by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
  • McConnell "might have kept in mind his wife’s membership on boards of a couple of organizations that aren’t enamored of coal before he based his case against Alison Lundergan Grimes on her association with some who also don’t love coal," writes Ronnie Ellis of CNHI News Service. McConnell now must "defend his own association through his wife’s involvement on the boards of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Wells Fargo." Meanwhile, Grimes's allies in the legislature "squirm as the Kentucky Coal Association and its president, Bill Bissett, come to McConnell’s defense time and again. After years of kowtowing to King Coal, no matter how outrageous some of its excesses, they clearly have no leverage over KCA, which supposedly doesn’t endorse candidates — but clearly supports McConnell over Grimes."
  • McConnell introduced legislation that addresses infants born on opiates and maternal addiction, a problem that is increasing in Kentucky. He said in a press release that the bill would "help identify and disseminate recommendations for preventing and treating maternal addiction so that we can reduce the number of infants born dependent on opiates and other drugs," and "encourage the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with states to improve the availability and quality of research data to help them respond more effectively to this public health epidemic."
  • Edmund Shelby, editor of The Beattyville Enterprise, wrote a commentary for The Courier-Journal standing by his article in April on McConnell's statements about jobs, a prime focus of attacks by the Grimes and her allies. Shelby had asked McConnell basic questions in a brief interview before a luncheon. When Shelby asked the senator what he was going to do to bring jobs to Lee County, an off-guard McConnell said, "Economic development is a Frankfort issue. That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet." McConnell added that he was fighting the Obama administration's proposed restrictions on coal, and Shelby reported that, too. McConnell claimed Shelby quoted him out of context, but Shelby said the context was very clear: "I firmly believe that Sen. McConnell committed the cardinal sin of all career politicians: He gave an honest answer to a journalist’s question."

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