Politics

McConnell lashes out over ‘bugging’ of headquarters: ‘That’s what the political left does these days’

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Mitch McConnell on Tuesday accused his political enemies in Kentucky of bugging his campaign headquarters after a recording of the Senate minority leader discussing campaign strategy with his staffers surfaced on a liberal website this week.

“My wife’s ethnicity was attacked by a left-wing group in Kentucky and then apparently they also bugged my headquarters,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday. “I think that pretty well sums up the way the political left is operating in Kentucky.”

Aides to McConnell told The Daily Caller that the accusations of bugging were directed at the left generally and not at a specific group.

As for the attack on his wife, McConnell was referencing the brouhaha that ensued after the liberal Kentucky Super PAC Progress Kentucky tweeted a racially-tinged message about his wife, former Cabinet secretary Elaine Chao, in February.

McConnell did not reveal any other details about how he knows who was behind the secret taping. He did say the secret taping is “much like Nixon and Watergate.”

“That’s what the political left does these days,” he said.

The left-leaning Mother Jones website — known for also posting secret recording of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — released recordings and a transcript of a Feb. 2 meeting McConnell had with his staff on opposition research on Tuesday.

In response to the secret recording, Republicans are questioning whether McConnell’s campaign was bugged — and are suggesting the FBI could get involved.

Actress Ashley Judd — who recently opted against a Kentucky Senate campaign — is discussed in the recording at length.

“The first person we’ll focus on, Ashley Judd—basically I refer to her as sort of the oppo research situation where there’s a haystack of needles, just because truly, there’s such a wealth of material,” a staffer told McConnell in the recording.

The recording includes aides discussing the actress’ struggles with depression.

Those at the meeting also discussed Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Secretary of State who is thought to be considering a run.

“The best hit we have on her is her blatantly endorsing the 2008 Democratic national platform,” a staffer said.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters “ I don’t know anything” about the secret tape.

“I know I didn’t have anything to do with it,” Reid said. 

Alexis Levinson contributed to this report

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