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David Corn of Mother Jones had another big scoop today as he uncovered a tape of a secret meeting between Mitch McConnell and his aides on how to attack potential candidate Ashley Judd.
Judd, who announced she would not run for the Senate seat occupied by McConnell, wrote in her 2011 memoir All That Is Bitter & Sweet that she battled depression throughout her life which included having thoughts of suicide when she was a sixth grader.
The McConnell campaign, led by Ron Paul ally Jesse Benton, apparently considered levying attacks on Judd’s sanity during a potential general election run. As the group of allies laughed at Judd’s words on religion (in which she had praised St. Francis). A quote from the meeting leader sums up the McConnell team’s thoughts on Judd and religion:
She is critical…of traditional Christianity. She sort of views it as sort of a vestige of patriarchy. She says Christianity gives a God like a man, presented and discussed exclusively with male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power, the intention to dominate even if that intention is nowhere visible.
Now to be fair, I can’t imagine the McConnell campaign running ads such as that especially given how criticizing religion backfired on AG Jack Conway in 2010 but it does seem rather disgusting how joyous the McConnell team sounded in describing Judd’s personal matters. Maybe sickening might be a better word but this doesn’t seem to be some “secret meeting” instead it appears to have been a generic campaign preview that the McConnell team had in preparing for a Judd candidacy.
What might have given the team the most traction, if Judd would’ve ran though, is the allegations of her being a carpet-bagger. As Mother Jones notes:
The oppo researchers had located clips when Judd had referred to San Francisco or Tennessee as her home. “Not only has she clearly claimed Tennessee as her home,” the meeting leader remarked, “she’s actually mocked Kentucky to Tennessee audiences. She was bemoaning the low voter turnout among women in Tennessee. She said, ‘People, that’s worse than even in Kentucky.'” And, he added, she owned a mansion in Scotland.
The mansion in Scotland could be attributed to her marriage to IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti who is Scottish but still it seems that the McConnell team was eagerly preparing to attack Judd as a political opportunist that had no connection to Kentucky other than residing nearby.
How Mother Jones got the tape appears to be under question as the McConnell team has asked the FBI to investigate.
Still, in terms of ramifications on the McConnell team it does show some sloppiness if this was indeed leaked by a fellow aide rather than a bugging. McConnell’s favorability ranking is low for a reason, its because he personifies the prototypical D.C. insider who wins re-election due to his state’s political leanings and the fact that he’s a prop for the pharmaceutical industry.
Now I don’t see how this backfires too much though its apparent that Judd was put through the ringer on this one. Whether Alison Lundergan Grimes, the presumed frontrunner for the Democratic nomination if she runs, can capitalize on this remains to be seen. Still, McConnell’s team will play dirty if needed so be prepared as its going to take a lot of money to sink that ship.
But it would be oh-so-great to do just that.