Senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes and her ambassadors want voters to know that the 35-year-old Kentucky Secretary of State is a Wendell Ford and Bill Clinton kind of Democrat, not a left-of-center Hollywood archetype ignorant to the Kentucky way of life. That message was a key takeaway from Kentucky’s first and only female Gov. Martha Layne Collins, who’s accompanying Grimes on the campaign trail.
The assertion is a rebuke of the efforts by incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell and his supporters to cast Grimes as a Pres. Obama sympathizer who’ll vote for a liberal political agenda that will further destroy the coal industry.
Her retort to those tactics: “I am the pro-coal candidate in this race,” she boisterously declared to several hundred at a Lexington fundraiser yesterday headlined by former Pres. Bill Clinton. “In 30 years, Mitch McConnell hasn’t saved or created one coal job,” Grimes added.
Jobs and worker pay are the central issues of the Democrat’s platform. Extolling the political catch-phrase of Clinton’s 1992 campaign, Grimes exclaimed, “It’s the economy stupid.”
Without providing details, Grimes told the crowd her jobs plan will grow the middle class, equalize pay for women, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, assist veterans with employment, and help students “earn degrees, not debt.”
A few minutes earlier, Gov. Steve Beshear paraphrased Pres. Ronald Regan’s punch line from his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter: “Are you better off after 30 years of Mitch McConnell?” A thunderous “no” echoed throughout the room filled with Grimes supporters. The crowd cheered again when Grimes denounced what she calls McConnell’s obstructionist tendencies. “I believe Kentucky deserves a senator whose vocabulary goes beyond the word ‘no.’”
Democrats rehashed some of their zippy zingers from last week’s Fancy Farm during Tuesday’s campaign stop at the Carrick House in Lexington. “Mitch McConnell is out of ideas, out of touch, and out of time,” said Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen, Attorney General Jack Conway, and Gov. Beshear.
With camera shutters fluttering at each opportune moment, Pres. Clinton spoke of coal miners sickened from diseases brought on by years of working underground. He talked about how he as governor and president “raised the wage,” and how Kentuckians know and appreciate the difference between a hand up and a hand out.
As Grimes and Pres. Clinton toured Lexington and later Hazard, U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, whose district encompasses coal country, sat down with Bill Goodman yesterday to talk about Sen. McConnell. Click here to learn more about their conversation.