- Sen. Mitch McConnell refused to take questions today about the resignation of his campaign manager in the wake of a bribery investigation of his last campaign. He told reporters after a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Somerset, "We're moving on," tweets Bill Estep of the Lexington Herald-Leader. He said likewise when "asked if there was concern Jesse Benton's continued involvement could hurt campaign," Estep reports.
- In his later story, Estep writes, "He did not respond directly when asked what Benton had told him about the situation in Iowa and whether he was confident Benton had done nothing wrong. 'Yeah, we're moving on. We've got 60-some odd days left in the campaign. We're talking about the future and not the past,' McConnell said. Asked if there had been concern that having Benton stay on would cause a problem for the campaign, McConnell made clear he had nothing more to say about the issue. 'I think everything relating to that issue has already been discussed. It was all out there several days ago,' McConnell said. 'We're moving on ...' When it was noted the public hadn't heard directly from him about Benton, McConnell said, 'You're hearing from me now. 'I think it's time to move on and deal with the issues that are before us for the next six weeks.'"
- The Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign is trying to make a continuing story of the resignation In press releases today, the Grimes camp noted WAVE-TV's report that McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore "hung up the phone after being questioned why we couldn't talk on the record about Benton's resignation." The segment appears in a new web ad which ends with the question, "What did Senator McConnell know and when did he know it?"
- In another release, the Grimes campaign passed along an article by Huffington Post political editor Howard Fineman which started by saying "The five words a senator least likes to hear are not 'you have lost the election.' They are 'The federal investigation is ongoing.'" It included this line: "In a textbook attempt to bury the news, Benton issued a statement to an accommodating local news outlet at the 6 p.m. start of a three-day holiday weekend." Benton's statement was released first to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Fineman concludes his piece with several questions for McConnell.
- Not to be outdone, the McConnell campaign followed with a release saying Grimes and liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren "raised cash in a local slumlord’s luxurious house while ‘raw sewage’ flowed under the homes of his tenants" at a Northern Kentucky trailer park, according to an Aug. 21 report by James McNair of WFPL and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
- McConnell's office often sends Kentucky newspapers a column under his name, and they are widely published. The latest is about his co-sponsorship of a bill to ban most abortions after 20 weeks, when the fetus can feel pain, and his opposition to "taxpayer-funded abortions." The email to editors from Press Secretary Robert Steurer said, "Please print the following column by Senator Mitch McConnell or post on your website." Abortion is an important issue to many Kentuckians, and most of them oppose it, but we know some publishers who would say "Buy an ad." Grimes supports abortion rights.
- Here's another substantive issue, which we missed earlier today: VoteVets, a liberal advocacy group, says it is spending $300,000 on TV ads in which Charles Erwin of Mayfield, a victim of Agent Orange in Vietnam tells McConnell, "I did my duty. But after 30 years in Washington, you failed to do yours. It's time for you to go." The ad cites McConnell's vote this year against a bill to improve veterans' benefits.
The American Legion said at the time of the vote, "In addition to including a full repeal of the military retiree cost-of-living-adjustment reduction recently passed by Congress," the bill would have provided "advance appropriations to ensure monthly compensation and pension, as well as education payments, are protected from future budget battles; offering in-state tuition protection for recently transitioned veterans, improving access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military, and authorizing construction of more than 20 community-based outpatient clinics to serve veterans in rural and remote communities." McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said in an email, "They are cherry-picking one step in the process, while ignoring the fact that he helped move it through the Senate and voted in support of final bill." UPDATE, Sept. 2: Carl Kaelin of Leitchfield, vice chair of the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Legislative Committee, said in a McConnell press release, "Kentucky veterans have no better friend than Senator Mitch McConnell. This ad is extremely misleading as Senator McConnell has been a vocal advocate about the urgent need for reform at the VA and was instrumental in helping ensure Senate passage of the important bipartisan veterans bill that was signed into law last month."