McConnell campaign puts the spotlight on Judd
February 19th, 2013
08:41 AM ET
2 years 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. Ol' Lefty

    She might not beat Yertle, but could make it a fun race to watch.

    February 19, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Kentuckian, if you really think Rand will run and win the Presidency, I have a bridge I want to sell to you!

    As for Ms. Judd, she would be a definite improvement over a man who's two claims to fame is he looks like an old character from the Dick Tracy Comics (Pruneface) and he cannot say yes to any proposal, even one he originally shepherded through to law. He is the obstructionist's obstructionist personified.

    February 19, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Mike

    If she ran, I can't WAIT for all the full frontal nudity pics of her to come out. They're awesome!

    But I can't decide whether they make her more or less fit for office.

    February 19, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. johnworks1956

    The party than runs on term limits thinks this 30 year do nothing needs to be re elected. His fellow senator Rue Paul acts like Mitch is an idiot.

    February 19, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Sly

    Anyone can beat a Republican now – they are all losers.

    Of course, Kentucky leads the nation in illiteracy, so they could vote for another TeaBillie.

    But, could anyone actually find Kentucky on a map? And, do they allow women and blacks to vote yet? Doubt it.

    February 19, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Mike

    If she ran, I can't WAIT for all the full frontal n.u.di.ty pics of her's to come out. They're awesome!

    But I can't decide whether they make her more or less fit for office.

    February 19, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. steven

    I hope Kentucky voters consider what having throw back like Mitch does to the over all impression of the State. (I'd throw Rand into that pile too but he's not up for election yet.)

    February 19, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. Lando

    About time to replace the number 1 obstructionist. Go...Ashley....the turtle is scared to death...

    February 19, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Mike

    Wow- the mods are going "G rated" today. I tried to post something related to all the times she's been nude in movies and they won't let me. My point is, besides them being great pics, do you think they make her more or less qualified for office?

    February 19, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. K B

    "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.

    It may be what a campaign would be like, but the fact this man and this group thinks such meanspirited attacks are "fun" speaks volumes about them and why so many good people shy away from political service.

    February 19, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Kurt

    Ashley's gonna wi-in. Ashley's gonna wi-in.

    February 19, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. otlset

    Judd is a ditz, a dummy, a vacuous full-of-herself Hollywood liberal who hasn't got a clue. Which is why with no legislative or executive experience whatsoever, her limelight-seeking ego thinks she can be 'senator'.. She's a sure loser.

    February 19, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. Thomas Jefferson

    Judd once said "It's unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries". What will she say to the mothers of children in KY? Gotta love leftists...love people so much they have to get rid of them to save them...

    February 19, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Larry L

    Judd offers Kentucky freedom from the evil, backward, intolerant leadership of Karl Rove and the god 'ole boy fat-club. It's time the State joined modern America and moved towards real solutions rather than Mitch McConnell's obstructionism. HE FILIBUSTERED HIS OWN PROPOSAL FOR GOD'S SAKE!

    February 19, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. Larry L

    @Liberalism=Mental illness

    A beautiful woman without a brain in her head!
    ===========================
    She's a Harvard graduate. Hint... that's not in the South.

    February 19, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Circle R

    McConnell is an embarrassment to the state of Kentucky and a detriment to the entire nation. How he continues to be voted in is a complete mystery to me. Ashley 2014!

    February 19, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Larry L

    @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.
    ========================
    I'm from Texas and for the sake of America's future I'd support asking all of the South to quietly (and quickly) leave the United States. I'll "immigrate" to a blue state – if they'll have me once they know my place or origin...

    February 19, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Her website, however, labels Judd an "at least 10th generation Eastern Kentuckian."
    -------------------------–
    Wow. Tenth generation is going back at least a couple of centuries, maybe to the War of 1812 or even far earlier.

    February 19, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -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!
    ******************************
    Name one thing he has done that has been of lasting value while in Congress, besides meaningless statements and pandering to people who can't be bothered to think for themselves? Rand Paul can't win a argument with Chris Christie, much less a state outside of the Deep South: you know the Deep South, the area that takes from states like New Jersey that actually pay their own way?

    February 19, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Larry L

    @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!
    ===============================================
    Ahhh... Another zealot predicting a "Paul" Presidency. Humorous to see the Paul family offering a second generation of losers for the Presidency. Both Ron and Rand appeal for the naive voter who believes overly-simplified solutions will solve highly-complex problems in a modern, interconnected world – ideological and delusional. Both also attract the closet racist – not honest enough to join the Klan but too bigoted to vote for anybody but a right-wing white man.

    February 19, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -Thomas Jefferson

    Judd once said "It's unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries". What will she say to the mothers of children in KY? Gotta love leftists...love people so much they have to get rid of them to save them...
    *******************
    Why should we support the right to fart out more welfare babies at the expense of people who work? Got to love the righties, love women so much they want to keep them ignorant, pregnant and on welfare, provided they are white and go to the wacko churches.

    February 19, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    @kentuckian, the problem with your party and theSou is people,like you. As far as fake curly top with his beating up on women goons he will NEVER be president. He is NOT even a doctor!!!
    @otiset, what didyiunthinkof your god Reagan and his actress wife? Right, they were rethugs so it's okay for them to be from Hollywood.
    Zjudd has more brains in one four of her head than the entire rethug congress!!

    February 19, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. John Mann

    Stop yer dang whining, McConnell. We are sick and tired of your unpatriotic political games and obstructionism. I hope Ms Judd wins your seat.

    February 19, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    @Mike: They posted your comments about the nude pics, we get it, you think she's hot. Regarding whether they make her more or less qualified for office, the answer is the pics have no bearing on the matter. She's an intelligent woman, well-educated woman (University of Kentucky and Harvard), has done a lot of humanitarian work, has a strong sense of family and a great work ethic (her career as a successful touring musician), and she cares deeply about her state.

    Be an informed voter: Research her approach to the policies and issues that matter to you and vote accordingly.

    February 19, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Lindsey

    @ Larry L, who said:

    "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."

    Where do I sign the petition?

    February 19, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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