Monday, August 25, 2014

Roundup: Grimes claims McConnell plans to shut down the government; contest has Georgia connections

Roundup for Aug. 25:
  • Alison Lundergan Grimes launched a 30-second web ad casting Sen. Mitch McConnell's plan to attach policy riders to funding bills as a bid to "shut down the government again." The ad is based on McConnell's interview with Politico, published last week, in which he said that if he becomes Senate majority leader he would attach the riders on environmental and other issues to force President Obama to accept policy changes or veto the bills and/or negotiate. The ad accurately uses Politico's description, "McConnell has a game plan to . . . risk a government shutdown," but also uses this line from MSNBC: "McConnell isn't even being subtle . . . Republicans will simply shut down the government." That leaves out an important qualifier in the story: "If the White House refuses to go along." A Grimes fundraising solicitation, emailed today, mentions the shutdown last October and says "McConnell said that if he wins, he'd do it again," incorrectly implying that he caused the shutdown. McConnell said after the Politico interview was published, "I'm the guy who gets us out of government shutdowns. I don't believe in government shutdowns." UPDATE, Aug. 26: The Grimes campaign went farther in an email today, saying McConnell "promises to shut down the government again."
  • E.J. Dionne, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and columnist for The Washington Post, writes for The National Memo that "Grimes and the Democrats need to confront McConnell forcefully on the issue he has tried to fudge: A flat repeal of Obamacare would mean taking insurance away from the more than 521,000 Kentuckians who, as of last Friday, had secured coverage through Kynect. How would that sit with the state’s voters?" Dionne cites polls showing voters have a marginally favorable opinion of Kynect, the state's health-insurance exchange, and an ad by Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in the Arkansas Senate race, "touting his vote for the health-care law as a positive for the people of his increasingly Republican state. Pryor’s ad is so soft and personal that it’s almost apolitical." That's because it involves his own cancer, and his father, former Sen. David Pryor, says “Mark’s insurance company didn’t want to pay for the treatment that ultimately saved his life.”
  • Grimes and McConnell will appear together tomorrow afternoon at the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce's Red, White & Blue Picnic on the north lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse, on Second Street. "The event begins at 5 p.m., and McConnell and Grimes will be the first two speakers, beginning at 5:15 p.m," Steve Vied reports for the Messenger-Inquirer. "More than 20 other candidates for national, state and local offices are scheduled to speak."
  • Kentucky is one of two states where a female Democrat is trying to capture a Republican-held seat. In Georgia, Democrat Michele Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, posted a 7-point lead over recent Republican nominee David Perdue in an Aug. 20-21 poll by Landmark Communications for WSB-TV, mainly on the strength of an 18-point lead among women. However, Nunn trailed by 7 in an Aug. 12-13 poll for InsiderAdvantage and WAGA-TV and by 9 in a SurveyUSA poll taken Aug. 14-17. Grimes and McConnell were virtually tied among women in recent polling. For a report by David Lightman of McClatchy Newspapers, click here.
  • Perdue and McConnell met recently and buried the hatchet, reports Phil Kent of InsiderAdvantageGeorgia: "In answering a question during a primary debate, the “outsider” Perdue vowed that he wouldn’t vote for McConnell as the Senate GOP leader in a party caucus vote. But that was then and this is now. This writer questioned Perdue spokesperson Derrick Dickey as to whether his boss, if elected, would “re-consider” voting for McConnell as caucus leader whether the Republicans take control of the Senate or not. Dickey, who once handled communications for former Gov. Sonny Perdue, was precise: Perdue “would support the GOP leadership when he comes to D.C.” Dickey also pointed out that, at this point, no other senator is running against McConnell. And Dickey concluded by proclaiming that Perdue “felt good” about the McConnell meeting. This “era of good feeling” is a welcomed sign – especially when one considers that a Perdue Facebook posting says that, if elected, he will request a seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee," an appointment McConnell would make. Kent asks, "Will the Kentucky media and/or McConnell’s Democrat opponent bring up that GOP candidates like Perdue said they “oppose” the veteran Republican as their leader? And how would McConnell respond?"

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