Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has taken heat from the left and right for recently refusing to admit whether she voted for Barack Obama for president.
So it surprised observers when she again dodged the question when pressed during Monday night’s U.S. Senate debate with Republican Mitch McConnell. (RELATED: Alison Lundergan Grimes Dodges Question For FIFTH Time In 24 Hours)
“I am not going to compromise a constitutional right provided here in Kentucky in order to curry favor on one or the other side, or for members of the media,” Grimes said when pressed by the moderator on the issue.
Observers note that Grimes’s refusal to say is a result of Obama’s unpopularity in the state. (RELATED: Chuck Todd On Alison Lundergan Grimes: ‘I Think She Disqualified Herself’)
But asked to explain why she is so reluctant, Grimes replied: “There is no reluctancy. This is a matter of principle. Our constitution grants here in Kentucky the constitutional right for privacy at the ballot box, for a secret ballot. You have that right. Sen. McConnell has that right. Every Kentuckian has the right. And as Secretary of State, the chief election official, I’m tasked with overseeing and making sure we’re enforcing all of our election laws.”
McConnell, the incumbent, shot back: “There’s…no sacred right to not announce how we vote. I voted for Mitt Romney, proudly. I voted for John McCain.” (RELATED: Alison Lundergan Grimes’ Spokesman Voted For Obama)
“And by the way, in 2012, 116 out of 120 Kentucky counties agreed with my judgment, that we might be in better shape now had Mitt Romney been elected,” he said.
On the campaign trail, Grimes often describes herself as a “Clinton Democrat.” Asked during the debate to explain the difference between a Clinton and Obama Democrat, she pointedly replied with implicit criticism of President Obama: “It’s growing the Middle Class the right way.” (RELATED: Hillary Clinton To Campaign Against Mitch McConnell This Week)
“As we saw under President Clinton’s tenure, especially when you increase the minimum wage, you actually help to expand the middle class,” she said. “We saw one of the largest growths under President Clinton’s tenure than ever before. We have not seen that.”
McConnell responded that there’s “no difference” between being a Clinton Democrat and an Obama Democrat.
“The Clinton’s support what the EPA is doing in the war on coal,” he said. “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between a Clinton Democrat and an Obama Democrat.”