Online ad targets McConnell over fiscal cliff deal
January 9th, 2013
10:43 AM ET
10 years ago

Online ad targets McConnell over fiscal cliff deal

Washington (CNN) - A top political adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing back against a series of new online ads in McConnell's home state of Kentucky that target the top Senate Republican for helping to negotiate a deal that prevented the U.S. from falling off the fiscal cliff.

The ads, by the conservative advocacy group ForAmerica, ask "Mitch McConnell: Whose side are you on?" and show an image of a sullen McConnell sandwiched between pictures of a grinning Vice President Joe Biden and a smirking President Barack Obama.

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After talks between the president and House Speaker John Boehner to avert the January 1 triggering of tax increases and massive federal government spending cuts broke down late last month, McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden took over negotiations and struck a deal. The vast majority of Senate Republicans voted for plan, which overwhelming passed the chamber. But even though the bill also passed the House, a majority of GOP representatives voted against the deal.

The five-term McConnell faces re-election next year, and is hoping to fend off any possible conservative primary challenges.

"Senator McConnell just won a victory to cut taxes for over 99 percent of Americans and will now help lead the fight to rein in spending and reform our broken entitlement system. Hopefully, all of our friends on the Right will get behind these efforts and stand up for our country," Jesse Benton, who's steering McConnell's re-election bid, told CNN in an email.

Before joining McConnell, Benton was the top political adviser to Rep. Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign, and also steered Rand Paul's 2010 Senate victory in Kentucky, including a GOP primary victory over a candidate backed by McConnell.

For America, which touts a three-million strong online following, says the ad is their first of the 2014 cycle. The group confirms that the online ad buy is five figures and includes Google Display, Facebook and The Drudge Report, both in Kentucky and in Washington, DC.

"Conservatives are holding Republicans accountable for betraying their principles, and are open to supporting challengers who may emerge. Kentucky elected Rand Paul, McConnell should be concerned," says ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell.

And responding to Benton, Bozell said "so to oppose a tax-and-spend agenda is anti-American? I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that."

The ad urges people to sign a petition to let McConnell and other Republicans in Congress know that they will be held "accountable" if they "go against the principles they claim to support!"

The deal puts off massive budget cuts for two months, and keeps the expiring Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 or couples earning less than $450,000. President Barack Obama has long demanded that the threshold be set at $250,000. Republicans wanted the Bush-era tax rates to be extended to all Americans, including the highest earners.

Economists warned that a one-two punch of tax increases and spending cuts, known as "sequestration," could push the U.S. economy back into recession and drive unemployment back over 9% by the end of 2013.

Politico first reported on the ForAmerica ad.

One interesting fact, ForAmerica's "Freedom Meter," which it says "is a way for you to see where your Congressmen and Senators stand on important issues that affect your freedom," gives McConnell a 95% rating.

- CNN's Matt Smith contributed to this report

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. James Bond

    Hey rick mcdaniels, now that is what dictatorship sounds like, enjoy

    January 9, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. sonny chapman

    Yes Right Wingers, it's all about winning ! We are a Nation of over 300 MILLION people. There has to be COMPROMISE if we are going to survive as ONE Nation. Right Wing ideology/theology has no place in a DEMOCRACY. It blurs the vision.

    January 9, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. James Bond

    Who runs bartertown? $$$

    January 9, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Is this what the GOP/Tea Party call rebranding of the party? Even the demise of the California Republican Party wasn't as dramatic with political purges and acts of retribution. Extreme fiscal conservatives and the Tea Party will damage the Republican brand for many years.

    January 9, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. rs

    Keep it up McConnell. Approval rate of 9% and falling. Do the math for the next elections. The GOP is toast.

    January 9, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Mike Texoma

    McConnell's telling his new caucus in 2010 that their principle concern was to make sure Obama did not get a second term, was anti-american in my assessment and inexcusable. I think he ought to be replaced. If the Republicans choose a nominee to replace him who is even more bent to the radical right, maybe the Democratic candidate will have a chance at election.. Amen. These days the political center is owned and occupied by the Democrats because gerrymandered House districts, fundamentalist Christians, and the Tea Party have driven what used to be the center right away to the radical political margins. If they keep on doing it they will marginalize their party.

    January 9, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. demogoat

    As much as I dislike Senator McConnell, tea party challengers during the primary season will be weak, without much support and too crazy for most people. It would be neat to see democrats switch party to contend in races where so called RINOs will be challenged by tea party nuts in republican gerrymandered districts.

    January 9, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Larry in Houston

    LOL – can't wait til that Judd gal (that is from Ky) decides to run against you, Mitch. If you have heard of the trial of the century, (O.J.) & the fight of the century ( The Thrilla in Manilla) BUT This would be : The VOTE of the Century.

    January 9, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. Jill-IN

    I hope that Mitch McConnell is on the side of the American people and we are over 300 million strong – not some right wing tea party agenda. Remember, we can "primary" their t party candidates too – it goes both ways.

    January 9, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    I pray the T-P mounts some challange to marble-mouth McConnell. it will ensure yet another democratic pick-up in the election. the same goes for all the righties that did the right thing and voted to approve the measure

    January 9, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    I guess right wingers are partially correct when they complain about how divisive the electorate has become. The left is doing just fine, but it is the right that is fractured into divisive factions.

    January 9, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Vic of New York

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. YES, PLEASE – primary Mitch McConnell. Nothing can please true Americans more than watching the Republican party eating itself away from the inside out. Oh, Christmas is here again!

    January 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Ashley Judd is looking more and more like a potential Democratic Candidate for Senate from Kentucky every day. Can you imagine the look on Rand Paul's face if she gets elected because the Tea Party pushed McConnell out of the nomination, and got someone nominated who makes Michelle Bachmann sound reasonable? And then the Republicans will self-recriminate that they lost because their guy wasn't "Conservative enough".

    January 9, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. Expat American

    The Tea Party is now the one and only Republican Party.
    I say, let the Tea Party cannibalize what little is left of the GOP (cow skulls and blowing tumbleweed, that is).
    This is one big progressive step forward for the well being of the nation's future; and Bon Appetit!

    January 9, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. Robert Jay

    Couldn't get my firs comment past the censors – If weall support organizations of the people and for the people we can help defeat people like McConell / Boehner / Graham / Cantor etc.regardless of what state they are in – grass roots got the President elected and it can defeat people as well no matter where they are from!

    January 9, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Expat American

    The sooner the Tea Party accepts that a Racially Pure Lilly White Conservative will never be President – the sooner they can stop poisoning the political landscape with their ridiculous outlandish ideas; but more importantly they can stop destroying their own Republican Party.

    Oh Dear Me. I see a catch 22.
    Keep it up, and thanks for the laughs...Funny Hats!

    January 9, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |