Alison Lundergan Grimes stormed past Mitch McConnell in a debate where the Republican sounded idealess, repetitive, and completely clueless on what is going on in Kentucky.
McConnell started out by trying to link Grimes to the Obama agenda. McConnell claimed that he would be willing to negotiate with Obama, even though, he is on the record stating that his agenda is to obstruct Obama. McConnell tried to label Grimes as against trade agreements. Sen. McConnell dodged the question of whether or not he would work with Obama.
Grimes said that what McConnell is saying now is different what he told his family the Koch brothers. Grimes hit McConnell on a record of obstruction and said that she is not bought and paid for by the Koch brothers. Grimes said that she was an independent thinker. McConnell said that Grimes’ first vote will be for Harry Reid.
Grimes said that McConnell and his henchmen the Koch brothers are trying to mislead with $50 million in ads. Grimes said unlike McConnell she stands with coal. She hit McConnell on his inconsistent record on coal. She accused McConnell of allowing China to cheat on trade agreements.
McConnell’s only strategy in this debate is to say that every Grimes will say is a lie. Her whole campaign is a lie. A viewer asked the candidates what would be their signature accomplishment. Grimes said that her’s would be bringing jobs back to Kentucky. Grimes discussed her jobs plan. McConnell said that there is a great likelihood that he will be majority leader next year. He claimed that Obama has an anti-jobs agenda. McConnell lied and said the Keystone pipeline is a job creator. McConnell said that he would create jobs by rolling back EPA regulations.
Grimes was asked whether or not she voted for Obama, and Grimes said that it is her constitutional right to keep her vote secret, and she said that she would not comprise a constitutional right in order to curry favor with one side or the other. Grimes said that the difference between a Clinton and an Obama Democrat is growing the middle class the right way. McConnell said that there is no difference between a Clinton and an Obama Democrat. McConnell went on to repeat his lies about the minimum wage.
Grimes dropped the minimum wage increase truth on McConnell. The incumbent Republican dodged a question about the minimum wage being a living wage. Grimes said that we must work to increase the minimum wage to a living wage. Grimes got a dig in on McConnell for being in Washington for thirty years. She hit McConnell for not telling the full story on the minimum wage or his record. Grimes said that McConnell got rich off the backs of Kentucky workers. McConnell had to admit that he got rich through an inheritance.
The debate returned to voting, and McConnell had to admit that he voted against Rand Paul in the 2010 Senate primary. McConnell spoke about the tea party in the past tense, which won’t sit well with conservative activists who already dislike Sen. McConnell.
The candidates were asked about their philosophies on the role of government. Grimes said that she believed that the government has a role in making people’s lives better. She talked about creating jobs, equal pay, strengthening and protecting Medicare and Social Security. Grimes said Kentucky needs a senator that hasn’t gone Washington.
McConnell said that the role of a senator is to protect the framework and that too much government limits opportunity. Grimes pounced after McConnell admitted that there was an opportunity to save and protect Kentucky jobs every day. Grimes laid out how McConnell has failed to protect jobs. McConnell responded by blaming Obama, and trying to link Grimes to McConnell. McConnell said giving Barack Obama another vote in the Senate will not help the economy. McConnell blamed Obama for child poverty and claimed, “the economy is very, very sick.”
Sen. McConnell has no record to run on, so he is trying to be a generic Republican, who is running against Obama. The moderator listed all of the positive economic statistics, and McConnell answered that it wasn’t enough. Grimes got to talk about her jobs plan in detail, and McConnell had no counter. McConnell went back to saying that the minimum wage increase will kill jobs. He tried to discuss the Earned Income Tax Credit, and called for it to be grown. Grimes hammered McConnell by pointing out that he supported budgets that slashed the EITC. McConnell said, “I don’t know what she’s talking about.”
The topic turned to the ACA. McConnell tried to rip Kentucky’s state program by linking it to Obamacare. McConnell claimed that people who are in the ACA are paying more for less. This, of course, was a lie. McConnell got busted for the bogus claim that Obamacare cuts Medicare. McConnell claimed Obamacare is a raid on Medicare. As McConnell is getting hit with facts, the wheels are coming off of his debate performance.
Grimes said that the ACA is matter of standing up for a half a million Kentuckians. Grimes accused McConnell of living in a fictional fantasyland, and promised not to rip healthcare out of the hands of 500,000 Kentuckians.
The debate is turning for Grimes. McConnell went back to blaming Obama for the coal decline in Kentucky. What McConnell won’t tell Kentucky voters is that it is the natural gas industry that killed coal in Kentucky. McConnell blamed Obama (again) and begged again to be majority leader.
The climate change question came up. Grimes showed that she was based in reality by recognizing climate change. McConnell fumbled the climate change question and claimed that climate change isn’t the job of a senator from Kentucky. McConnell repeated his broken record that Obama has killed coal jobs. Grimes said that the coal jobs that were lost in the state happened on his watch. He has been there for thirty years. McConnell responded by blaming Obama.
Grimes said the only thing Sen. McConnell’s resume shows is that the only thing Washington has been benefitting has been Sen. McConnell and the millionaires and billionaires who are supporting him.
Sec. of State Grimes scored a knockout punch by calling McConnell a senator from the past and referred to herself as a senator from the future.
Grimes didn’t have to paint McConnell as out of touch. The senator did that for himself. Mitch McConnell seemed to be under the mistaken delusion that he is running against President Obama, while Grimes continually laid out her plans for Kentucky. McConnell started strong, but it became clear that he was repeating 4 or 5 debate talking points for the whole hour. Grimes was a little shaky early, but she got stronger as the debate went on.
McConnell didn’t ease any concerns or make himself more popular tonight, and Grimes showed that she could go toe to toe with him. Grimes looked ready to be a senator while Mitch McConnell looked ready for retirement.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association