McConnell campaign puts the spotlight on Judd
February 19th, 2013
08:41 AM ET
1 year ago

McConnell campaign puts the spotlight on Judd

(CNN) – With more than 20 months to go before the midterm congressional elections, incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's team is already attacking Democrats for not yet fielding a candidate to challenge the Senate minority leader.

McConnell's campaign released Tuesday its first web video of the campaign, a parody that attempts to depict President Barack Obama as being frustrated with the potential crop of Democratic contenders in the state.

Among those targeted include actress Ashley Judd, a potential Senate hopeful who's expressed interest in the seat and who's been on McConnell's radar for months.

The video features footage of Judd representing the neighboring state Tennessee, a state where she's lived for years, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She's also seen saying in the video that San Francisco is her "American city home."

The video continues a line of attack that blasts Judd for not being a true resident of Kentucky. While she partly grew up in the state and graduated from University of Kentucky, Judd has lived elsewhere as an adult, including California and Scotland. She was married to Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti, but they announced they were getting a divorce earlier this year.

Her website, however, labels Judd an "at least 10th generation Eastern Kentuckian."

Judd actively campaigned for Obama during the 2008 and 2012 elections and has been known for advocating for poverty reduction, immigration rights, environmental issues, public health, and human rights issues. She also graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a master's degree in 2010.

While she has stayed quiet on questions about a potential bid, she directed her Twitter followers this month to sign up for her newly-created mailing list.

"You'll be the first to know, well, all sorts of things," she wrote.

But the web video released Tuesday suggests that Judd is not Obama's type of candidate.

"We all know President Obama and his liberal allies have made Senator McConnell their number one target," Jesse Benton, McConnell's campaign manager, said in a statement. "We thought we would have a little fun with the problems they've been had (sic) finding someone to carry President Obama's banner in Kentucky."

McConnell, now in his fifth term, isn't the only one to preemptively go after Judd. American Crossroads, the conservative super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, spent $10,000 on a web ad earlier this month, also hitting Judd for her declared love of Tennessee, where she owns property and where she spent some time as a child.

"This is just a fun way to kind of get under her skin a little bit and kind of show her what a campaign would really be like if she makes this decision," Jonathan Collegio, the communications director for American Crossroads, told CNN on Thursday.

The nearly three-minute web video also makes light of other Democratic elected officials in Kentucky, including Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.

READ MORE: Almost two years out, it's rough in Kentucky

In the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats will again seek to regain the House majority they lost in 2010. Republicans currently hold a 232-200 majority in the lower chamber. Three seats are vacant. In the Senate, Democrats will be defending 21 of the 35 seats up for grabs in 2014.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Ashley Judd • Kentucky • Mitch McConnell • Senate
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. Liberalism=Mental illness

    A beautiful woman without a brain in her head! She is one of the King Obama Sheeple who aren't intelligent enough to walk and chew gum at the same time.

    February 19, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "The liberal machine is out to destroy the South because they are church going, gun-owners, & conservatives who value family & morals. "

    Actually, I am wiling to bet you that if people started polling it, they'd find that a growing number of "liberals" and "moderates" are willing to just let the South go this time. We've completely had it with you.

    February 19, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. kayla

    running scared, aren't we

    February 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "She won't win."

    McConnell appears to disagree with you.

    February 19, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Mike from CO

    Attacking ALL talked about potentials 20 months before the actual election? Desperate, thy name is Mitch McConnell.

    Sniffit wrote: "Actually, I am wiling to bet you that if people started polling it, they'd find that a growing number of "liberals" and "moderates" are willing to just let the South go this time. We've completely had it with you."

    When asked the fun party question, "if you could go back in time to one moment and change history, what moment would be it?" The answer that pops up in most people's heads is "Go back and Kill Hitler"

    Mine would be 1860, following Lincoln's inauguration and the attack on Ft. Sumter. I would walk up to the President, pull him aside and say "Mr. President, just let them go. Trust me, we'll be a better nation for it."

    February 19, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Patrick Lewis

    Man, what a public gun jump.

    McConnell is and has always been aturd. And now, he has a microscope on him. I wonder how that's going to work out for him. I wonder if Humana has enough money to bail him out.

    February 19, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. RINO Bill

    McConnell's "leadership" has been so lackluster and pathetic that almost anyone (except Palin, Bachmann and the O'Donnell gal) would be an improvement. So go ahead Ms. Judd and wake people up.

    February 19, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. usresham

    McConnell is a chicken. If he thinks that he has served his district and the nation well as Republican leader in the Senate that what is worried about ? An actress ? Who knows nothing about politics?
    The fact is McConnell has worked against the interest of the middle class of his district and the Nation. His only agenda was to defeat the president. He is the mouth piece of 2% and right wing extremists. Karl Rove and his Super Pac are political hooligans. They get donations from Super Rich and help them to loot the middle class.

    I wish Judd runs against this monster and defeats him

    February 19, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Andrew

    I consider the "church going" part quite a negative. I prefer my candidates to think for themselves and base their opinions on science and reason rather than bronze-age fiction and imaginary friends.

    February 19, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -"The liberal machine is out to destroy the South because they are church going, gun-owners, & conservatives who value family & morals. "

    That liberal machine supports the Southern Red states, otherwise known as "takers": ask Governor Christie what he thinks of them.

    February 19, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. GrogInOhio

    Seriously? Considering Rand Paul's weak KY roots, should any Republican even be bringing up Judd's residency?

    February 19, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. Carol Johnson

    It sure would be a blessing if McConnell and crossroads keeps attacking Judd and she would declare and beat McConnell and then see how much fun he would have!!!

    February 19, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. AZ Girl

    ~~~> Connielynda,

    I am not sure if I should be ROTFL at your bizarre tirade, or be suggesting a few Doctors or meds to help with your paranoid delusions.

    February 19, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Tom

    Ashley Judd is highly intelligent and educated, this makes right-wingers furious.

    February 19, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. blue max

    poor mitch...it's time for him bust out of the closet. besides he's been living off the government waaaay to long.

    February 19, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. jim

    "This is just a fun way to kind of get under her skin a little bit and kind of show her what a campaign would really be like if she makes this decision," Jonathan Collegio

    The GOP doesn't spend money to go after someone who isn't a threat

    February 19, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Pen NM

    I'm pretty sure she's better qualified than MConnell ...
    "She also graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a master's degree in 2010."

    February 19, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Jay

    @Liberalism=Mental illness

    Do you have all of your teeth? What is your education level so we may know whether you are qualified to assess if someone is intelligent or not? What is your income level? Are you receiving Social Security and are enrolled in Medicare, or I bet, Medicaid?

    You call Obama a king, on what basis is he acting like a king? You say Ms. Judd is "without a brain in her head!", what has she done that is brainless? I think she is significantly more successful than you and when you call her Senator Judd I am certain she will prove that she is quite more intelligent than you.

    Republican/Neocon/Out of Touch with Reality = Mental Illness, although that would be an insult to mental illness.

    February 19, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. DaveL

    Well, what a surprise! A completely dishonest ad from a completely dishonest Senator. Kentucky should hang its head in shame.

    February 19, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    -GrogInOhio

    Seriously? Considering Rand Paul's weak KY roots, should any Republican even be bringing up Judd's residency?
    *****************
    That's different. He's a GOP congressional legacy, and therefore immune from scrutiny and any standards whatesoever. He's also the only begotten son of Ron Paul: need I say more? Go Senator Aqua Budda!

    February 19, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. notahistorianbut

    Sounds kinda goofy (no offense to the pup) to be attacking an undeclared possible candidate 20 months before the next election. My, they must all be terrified that just about anyone could take out mcconnell if instead of focusing on doing what is right for country (i.e. growing up, learning the art of compromise, realising that 1/2 way beats flushing country down the toilet, etc) – they have their panties in a twist about an actress. Anyone hear of how the elected officials are on recess and thousands could be furloughed come April? How does their gamemanship build this country? Where did the bush/cheney mantra that "deficits don't matter" go to? Has anyone heard of participatory governance? This is where the people take charge, develop the budgets for their community and take it to the city council for approval. Maybe if congress/DC can't get it done, the people need to pick it up. Most people would've long since been fired for the bull congress/dc has been up to.

    February 19, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Wake up People!

    Good one AZ girl!! My sentiments exactly. I replied to her but my comment seems to have gotten zapped.......

    February 19, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Paul

    McConnel is not a leader. He sits back and does his "Monday morning quarterbacking" on anything Obama suggests but his leadership is non existent. His new number one goal is "to make sure Obama only serves two terms" . Actually, he will be bragging about how he met that goal!!

    February 19, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. v_mag

    Someone needs to teach McConnell the difference between KY and K-Y.

    February 19, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Kentuckian

    To: The Real Tom Paine
    Rand Paul is usually right on so much that the rest should vote with him.
    Rand Paul will run and win President 2016!

    February 19, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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