Friday, August 15, 2014

Roundup: Grimes ad says McConnell laughed about the jobless; he meets w/evangelicals; race's ranking slips

So what was he laughing about? Listen for yourself  . . .
  • Alison Lundergan Grimes launched her toughest attack ad of the race today, a 30-second spot that says Sen. Mitch McConnell became a multi-millionaire in public office but voted repeatedly against raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits, and for tax breaks that support sending jobs overseas, "and when asked about it, just laughs." The punch line refers to the end of a session McConnell had in January with conservative radio talker Lars Larson, who did not favor McConnell's proposal to extend unemployment benefits in return for a year's delay in the individual health insurance mandate. They sparred about the topic for most of the eight-minute interview, and McConnell said Larson had some good points. As Larson bid goodbye, he chuckled and said he hoped McConnell would vote no (against his own plan). That brought a laugh from McConnell; during it, Larson added, "at least for the long-term unemployed," and McConnell replied, "Yeah," in a tone that could be interpreted as sarcastic. The Grimes campaign raised the issue in January, and the Lexington Herald-Leader did a story with the audio from the show.
  • Grimes slipped a bit in the latest poll, and the race slipped again in the monthly rankings of Senate races by "The Fix" column in The Washington Post, down to No. 9 from No. 7, with No. 1 being the race most likely to decide control of the Senate: "The Democrats' best shot at a pickup might be in the Bluegrass State, where polling continues to show one of the tightest races in the country," but various models make McConnell a strong favorite – "in large part because the state is so red. FiveThirtyEight says McConnell has an 80 percent shot to win, and the Post pegs his chances even better than that." UPDATE, Aug. 16: "The Upshot" of The New York Times gives Grimes only a 12 percent chance of winning.
  • On Thursday, McConnell answered questions from a panel of evangelical pastors, where he discussed "abortion, gay marriage and the persecution of Christians in Iraq . . . a rare discussion of social and religious issues for the Republican," report Adam Beam and Bruce Schreiner of The Associated Press. Grimes was absent. "Organizers invited her to the forum in Bowling Green — and two subsequent forums in Louisville and Somerset later this month — but the Grimes campaign has not said whether she would attend," the reporters write, noting that the candidates rarely discuss their faith.
  • Schreiner also writes that Grimes said "McConnell has some explaining for his wife's role as a board member of an organization that has spent $50 million to close coal-fired power plants." Grimes has yet to say if she thinks former labor secretary Elaine Chao "should resign from the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, a charity founded by former New York City mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg," Schreiner writes. Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear chimed in at the same state-fair event that Grimes attended and said, "Arguing that you're the champion of coal and then being together with groups ... that are anti-coal doesn't seem very consistent to me." McConnell said his wife will not resign from the board.

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