Friday, September 19, 2014

Ad ties Grimes to Buffett, blames him for plant closure; senator hit for absences for other events

A rolling roundup as we head through the weekend . . .
  • Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a "super PAC" supporting Sen. Mitch McConnell, is starting a 60-second radio ad attacking Alison Lundergan Grimes for a fund-raising event, the invitation for which said billionaire Warren Buffett would participate by conference call. The call was canceled, apparently after reported Buffett's role, and a further report noted the decision by one of the companies he owns, Fruit of the Loom, to close a plant in Jamestown with 600 employees. The ad stretches the truth, making it appear that Buffett was to be at the event and personally closed the plant, adding, "Buffett destroyed 600 families to make a buck." Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton told PoliticoPro that Buffett "was invited by a host who has a personal connection" with him. "However, our campaign made clear that we did not think it was appropriate. We agree with Buffett that millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share in taxes. However, Alison strongly disagrees with him on the outsourcing of good Kentucky jobs — just as she disagrees with Mitch McConnell's record of voting for tax breaks that encourage companies to send jobs overseas." UPDATE, Sept. 23: KSL says the ad is running in the Lexington and Bowling Green media markets, and addition "rural radio in that region of Kentucky."
  • A new Grimes ad redoubles her attack on McConnell's lack of attendance at Senate committee meetings, saying he missed some to attend a lobbyist's fundraiser and appear on two television shows and skipping a meeting on rural jobs to toast China's vice president for "China's great achievements. And the rest of the time, he created gridlock. Thirty years is long enough."

    The issue is similar to the one McConnell used to unseat two-term Democrat Walter "Dee" Huddleston in 1984, missing votes to make speeches for money. But that attack didn't take hold until McConnell and ad consultant Roger Ailes used the famous hound dogs to look for Huddleston. A McConnell ad replying to the first ad on this issue is still running, claiming his "voting attendance" is 99 percent. However, that's for floor votes, not committee meetings.
  • Former two-term state auditor Crit Luallen is being heard in a recorded "robocall" for Grimes, which is going to more than 100,000 households, Norton said. A tagline after Luallen's 40-second message says it is paid for by the state Democratic Party but is authorized by the Grimes campaign. UPDATE, Sept. 22: The campaign says former Gov. Martha Layne Collins was heard in robocall that went to more than 200,000 voters.
  • Kevin Wheatley of cn|2 has a pair of stories looking at the potential and pitfalls of the Oct. 13 KET debate for Grimes and McConnell.
  • Grimes's ad showing her shooting a gun and saying "I'm not Barack Obama" was "a colossal misstep" because it gave McConnell another opportunity to air a reply ad hammering on her endorsement of the national Democratic platform, Sam Youngman of the Lexington Herald-Leader said on KET's "Comment on Kentucky" Friday night. He noted that on Monday, McConnell against voted against paycheck fairness for women, one of her key issues: "Her own campaign got them off message."
  • On the front page of Sunday's Herald-Leader, Youngman has a story headlined "Grimes owns small stake in company city threatened legal action against over unpaid fees, fines." Her father, Jerry Lundergan, said she owns a 1 percent interest. He paid part of the amount after the threat, and most of it the day after a Republican-oriented research firm requested records about it.
  • Herald-Leader columnist Larry Dale Keeling says it's too late for Grimes to campaign on the health-reform law, and doing it now would look panicked and desperate.

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