Saturday, October 4, 2014

Grimes uses pro-debate theme in east, won't say if she voted for Obama; McConnell equivocates on climate

Catching up when we can, gradually, with a few items we have missed . . .
  • Alison Lundergan Grimes kicked off a tour of Eastern Kentucky in Morehead with a new theme called "I challenge Mitch," reports Lana Bellamy of The Independent in Ashland. The theme is based on Sen. Mitch McConnell's willingness to have only one true debate (Oct. 13 on KET) and Grimes's wish to have one in Eastern Kentucky, a region where McConnell has undermined the traditional Democratic base with attacks on President Obama and his coal policies. At this point in the race, a month before the election, a debate would be difficult to schedule.
  • The race "will likely be the most expensive Senate race in history, it has featured some of the silliest ads and stupidest controversies, and it features one of the most unpopular-yet-routinely-successful incumbents in the country," Jaime Fuller writes for The Washington Post, as a way of introducing excerpts from Alec MacGillis's new e-book, The Cynic: The Political Education of Mitch McConnell. It "serves as a great reminder of how McConnell became the Senate leader he is today, and how much every elected official tends to change the more they learn about Washington and their polarized constituents," Fuller writes, listing six "things we knew but forgot about Mitch McConnell," based on the book. Here are three of them: "He used to be more moderate. ... He knows how to make a great campaign ad. ... The more he's learned about fundraising, the more he's grown to hate limits on spending." The last point cites two major flips in his positions on campaign finance during his career.
  • Sam Youngman of the Lexington Herald-Leader said on KET's "Comment on Kentucky" that there has been a tendency "by some of the national press to sort of write off Kentucky, take it off the radar screen. That's a mistake." He noted Democrats had made "two significant investments" in the race: the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee putting $1.2 million into ads, for a total of $1.7 million; and the announcement that Hillary Clinton will campaign for Grimes, at a date to be announced.
  • Reporting on McConnell's fundraiser with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Thursday night, Youngman writes that the senator "seized on remarks made earlier in the day by President Barack Obama," that all his policies are on the ballot, saying, "I couldn't agree more."  Youngman notes that tying Obama to Grimes "has been central to McConnell's campaign strategy, and Grimes has struggled to distance herself from the president, refusing three times Thursday at an event in Lexington to say whether she voted for Obama in 2012." UPDATE: On Sunday, former Obama adviser David Axelrod said the president's comment was a mistake.

    Read more here:

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  • "McConnell told the Cincinnati Enquirer's editorial board on Thursday that he doesn't know if climate change is a real problem because he's 'not a scientist' and that he's more interested in producing cheap energy than worrying about it," Joe Gerth reports for The Courier-Journal. "McConnell told the editorial board that he didn't even want to talk about limiting carbon emissions because 'nobody else is going to do that,' he said." Gerth reports otherwise: "In fact, the United Nations is on schedule to approve a new agreement on climate change next year. And while the Chinese are building new coal-fired power plants, they are also investing in alternative energy sources. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that China is also banning certain types of highly polluting coal in an effort to clean up its air."

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