Appearing at one of the rowdiest annual events in politics on Saturday, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell bragged about battling “the nanny state liberals” across the country and tried connecting his Democratic opponent to President Barack Obama, who is deeply unpopular in the Bluegrass State.
“I’ve brought Kentucky’s voice to Washington and the Obama crowd doesn’t like it,” McConnell said over cheers and boos at the Fancy Farm picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky. “You see, Kentucky’s voice is often the voice of opposition to the Obama agenda. And I’m proud of that. That’s why every liberal in America is out to beat us next year.”
McConnell flatly stated: “I take Kentucky’s fight to the liberals every single day.”
The Kentucky Senate race is shaping up to be the marquee Senate race of 2014.
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state, recently announced she is running for the seat. Polls indicate a McConnell-Grimes matchup would be close.
Organizer refer to the annual barbecue picnic as “Kentucky’s inaugural event for the statewide fall political season.” The event is known for getting particularly rowdy with supporters and protesters often chanting throughout speeches.
Prior to McConnell’s remarks, the Democrats in the crowd even went as far as to loudly boo when the announcer introduced McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
McConnell’s wife has been a liberal target in the campaign. The liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky was widely criticized earlier this year for an insensitive tweet about her Asian heritage.
McConnell started his speech by cracking a joke about Grimes’ father, a former Democratic state senator in Kentucky, for donating money to the campaign of disgraced New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who in the news again for sending lewd messages to young women online.
“I want to say how nice it is to see Jerry Lundergan back in the game,” McConnell said. “Like the loyal Democrat he is, he’s taking orders from the Obama campaign on how to run his daughter’s campaign. They told him to make a pitch on the Internet for the women’s vote, and he sent a check to Anthony Weiner.”
“Over the next 15 months, we’re going to decide what kind of America we want to have, what kind of Kentucky we want to have,” he said. “There are only two answers to this question: Barack Obama’s vision for America or Kentucky’s.”
Taking an apparent jab at Grimes, McConnell said: “Look, as long as I’m in the Senate, Kentucky will have a voice — instead of San Francisco and Martha’s Vineyard.”
Grimes spoke after McConnell, hitting the Senate minority leader for being an obstructionist.
“Let’s just tell it like it is,” she said. “If the doctors told Sen. McConnell that he had a kidney stone, he’d refuse to pass it!”
McConnell is also being challenged in the Republican primary by businessman Matt Bevin, who is trying to consolidate conservatives but who trails the minority leader by almost 40 percentage points in polls.
Without mentioning Bevin by name, McConnell seemed to argue against the political newcomer by bragging of his fights against the Obama administration over raising taxes and the IRS.
“Look you can’t get any of those things done from the backbench,” McConnell said. “That’s why it’s important, very, very important, to keep Kentucky’s voice strong.”
McConnell argued his election was pivotal for Republicans to win control of the Senate in 2014.
“We’re not just choosing whose going to represent Kentucky in the Senate,” he continued. “We’re going to decide whose going to run the Senate. And here’s the choice: Is the Senate going to be run by a Nevada yes man for Barack Obama who believes coal makes you sick, or the guy you’re looking at?”