Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grimes ad labeled likely worst of year, as race is labeled the most interesting and she goes off script

A roundup that relies mainly on the paper the late Ben Bradlee made a leader . . .
  • An Alison Lundergan Grimes TV commercial, apparently limited to coal country, has drawn the highest rank of criticism from "The Fact Checker," Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post. "This particular ad is especially noteworthy because the candidate herself repeats a claim that The Fact Checker has already deemed worthy of Four Pinocchios," Kessler writes. "Not only does she double down on this falsehood, but she makes another highly questionable assertion as well." Kessler, a Cincinnati native, calls that one "nonsense" and concludes, "Grimes puts her own credibility on the line by uttering these recidivist claims herself, rather than relying on an unseen narrator. We realize that the game of politics is sometimes played rough in Kentucky, but this ad is beyond the pale. Indeed, it is likely the worst ad of a nasty campaign year. Grimes should be ashamed of herself."
  • Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a "super PAC" supporting Sen. Mitch McConnell, is running an ad replying to the Grimes ad that accuses McConnell of hypocrisy on immigration even though she supports a conditional amnesty bill much like the one he voted for in 1986. After Grimes is shown endorsing "a pathway to citizenship," a female narrator says, "Alison, that is amnesty." McConnell has run no ads on immigration, leaving the subject to his allies, with whom his campaign is not supposed to coordinate.
  • "Kentucky now has the most interesting Senate race in the country," the Post's Chris Cillizza writes in his column, "The Fix:" "Strategists in both parties who are closely following the race . . . painted radically different views of the race and suggested that one side is going to be very right and the other very wrong in 12 days' time." The main evidence seems to be the re-involvement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Senate Majority PAC. "Most Democratic operatives I spoke to -- though not all -- conceded privately that McConnell was still a slight favorite but that there was plenty of reasons to believe that the race could still be won by Grimes. The DSCC quite clearly saw some data -- or got a phone call from someone (cough -- Bill Clinton -- cough) that persuaded them to re-invest."
  • Dana Milbank of the Post went to the Bowling Green Rotary Club meeting with Grimes and was surprised. "I saw a candidate who was much less cautious and scripted than the one I had been hearing and reading about. It was as if the reduced expectations had liberated her. . . . She took some hostile questions from the crowd, and she gave as good as she got. Then she went outside and did something that, for her, is most unusual: She held a news conference." After recounting that exchange and some with the Rotarians, Milbank concludes, "It’s tempting to wonder how much better Grimes would have done in this campaign if she had shed her crippling caution earlier."
  • Philip Bump of the Post offers a chart that shows one reason Grimes still has a chance: Even though most voters view her negatively, they are even more unhappy with McConnell:
  • George Will, whose column the Post distributes, writes after a visit to Kentucky that the race presents "a constitutional moment that will determine whether the separation of powers will be reasserted by a Congress revitalized by restoration of the Senate’s dignity."

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