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Political Blog Update: Back in action

by Joe Arnold


Posted on December 8, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Joe Tuesday for December 8, 2009:

Steve Beshear

Check out the end of the year interview with Gov. Steve Beshear as the governor braces for "the toughest state budgeting in modern history." Beshear insists that his appointments of two Republican state senators to other positions, thereby creating open seats, were not "a nefarious plot or conspiracy" to cut into the Republican Senate majority.  Beshear says he has met the top goals of his administration, to get Kentucky "out of an ethical sinkhole" and "partisan gridlock,"  to better the quality of life of Kentuckians, and a third unforeseen goal to weather the recession and several natural disasters. 

Rand Paul

The Paul campaign reports a busy campaign schedule.  He'll be with the Bullitt Co. GOP tonight.  On Wednesday, Paul is a guest on the Michael Smerconish radio program.  Thursday, he's in Murray and Henderson, and on Friday Newsmax.com will tape an interview with him.  That's all ahead of a moneybomb scheduled for December 16.

In recent weeks, Paul's campaign has advanced a number of positions, including his support of a limit of two six-year terms for U.S. Senators (though in an earlier interview he told me he would not make a unilateral pledge to limit his own time in D.C.), calling for Medicaid to be a block grant program managed at the state level, and lauding outgoing Senator Jim Bunning in his opposition to the appointment and renomination of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman. 

Paul/Grayson campaigns spar over Hitler??

After Paul spokesman Christopher Hightower left positive online comments ("Too funny!") about a YouTube video featured on Ron Paul message boards that likened opponent Trey Grayson to Adolf Hitler, the Grayson campaign roared.  Hightower told The Hill that “The video’s just funny.  I don’t really think it’s funny to compare Trey Grayson to Hitler; I don’t think that’s funny,”  but points out the video (which has since been pulled from YouTube) has been used to mock many politicians.  As described by The Hill, "the video features an angry, ranting movie version of Hitler. Its subtitles make him out to be Grayson, angry about Rand Paul’s momentum in the Senate campaign."

Grayson hires campaign Political Director

Fleming County, Kentucky native Jeremy Hughes is now Political Director for Grayson's U.S. Senate campaign.  A news release says "as Political Director, Hughes will lead Grayson’s efforts at grassroots organization, coalitions building and voter turnout."   Hughes was campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis and managed Jack Ditty's unsuccessful campaign in the recent special election for the state senate seat vacated by Charlie Borders.  Davis said,  “Jeremy Hughes is a talented political operative and a terrific organizer.  While I hate to lose him, nothing is more important than electing a conservative to replace Senator Jim Bunning.  I know Jeremy’s experience and work ethic will serve the Grayson team well.”

CQPolitics calls Grayson/Paul race a "toss-up" in profile

Interesting national take on the Trey Grayson/Rand Paul race.  The CQ Politics update on the GOP Primary rates it a "toss-up" and points out the role of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a "mentor" to Grayson.  The article touches on the controversy surrounding the Paul's campaign's comments re: the NRSC not taking sides in the primary.  Kentucky GOP strategist Scott Jennings is quoted:

 “I truly believe the tale of the tape on this race will be on Jan. [31] when the [fourth-quarter] fundraising reports come out,” said Scott Jennings, a Kentucky political operative who previously worked for McConnell’s re-election campaign. “If the Paul people have not been able capitalize on him leading in a survey, then I think that might be indicative that he might have peaked. But if [Federal Election Commission] reports come out and Paul has again led all the Senate candidates in fundraising, then I think a lot of these fumbles sort of go away.”

Haley now Conway's campaign press secretary

Allison Hailey, the former aide to House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark and the Bruce Lunsford campaign, joined the Jack Conway U.S. Senate campaign as press secretary just after Thanksgiving.  Hailey promptly got to work on getting Conway's name and political positions in the media, with news releases on:

  • President Obama's Afghanistan speech: "While I agree with the President's goals, I heard too little about political cooperation from Pakistan and the threat it poses."
  • An Obama jobs summit:  "I propose we immediately reinvest recovered TARP funds in my 'Homeland Tax Credit Program' for small businesses and to pay down the deficit. I look forward to seeing what new possibilities emerge from this summit.”
  • His support for U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) amendment to guarantee women access to preventative health care screenings and mammograms.
  • A Medicare amendment to protect coverage for seniors.

Other Senate candidates on Obama Afghanistan speech

Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo:  I support the President’s proposal to increase our troops in Afghanistan to defeat Al-Qaeda and their terrorist supporters. I believe we have to defeat the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the attacks on 9/11 who are still present in the region and remain a threat to our national security.  I believe the President clearly defined the mission, how he intends to accomplish that mission and equally important a reasonable time frame for when we can expect to bring the war in Afghanistan to a close.

Sec. of State Trey Grayson:  I support the President’s decision to finally accept the recommendations of commanders on the ground and order a surge of forces in Afghanistan. I disagree with those who believe we should set a date certain for withdrawal from Afghanistan and believe that we must show the necessary commitment to success for the Afghan people, for our allies, and to our enemies.

Bill Johnson:  The enemy was emboldened with Obama’s speech that was more exit strategy than commitment to winning against the terrorist in Afghanistan,” said Bill Johnson.  He continued, “I do not support a timetable for withdraw when the security of our nation is at risk. The President wants to exit Afghanistan instead of ensuring overwhelming victory. The addition of 30,000 troops falls short of the number requested by General McChrystal and is a political response to a military problem.  

Mongiardo railing for rail

In an appearance at Louisville's Union Station, Lt. Governor and U.S. Senate Candidate Daniel Mongiardo unveiled a transportation plan to connect urban and rural areas of Kentucky.

Mongiardo's public transit plan for the Louisville-Metro region integrates existing airports and highways with a Monorail (RAM), Hybrid Light Passenger Rail and expanded bus service, along with strategically located bike paths and walkways. Mongiardo proposed using Hybrid Light Rail to connect Kentucky’s urban centers with rural areas. By using existing railways and unrealized money from the National Highway Fund's transit account that Kentucky motorists are already paying into in the form of federal fuel taxes but not receiving back, Kentucky could easily begin to significantly improve its public transportation infrastructure, expand economic opportunities and create thousands of new jobs. A recent study by the American Transportation Association found that for every dollar invested in public transportation creates four dollars in economic benefits. 

“Investing in public transportation is one of the single greatest investments we can make to spur economic growth, attract new industries and create new jobs. I will be a champion in the United States Senate for public transportation in Kentucky,” he said.Mitch McConnell is a tortoise?


In a recent USA Today profile of the eight 8 key players in the Senate health care debate, Senator McConnell is listed as one of the “most influential” in the debate.

As the leader of the smallest minority party since 1979, McConnell has only so many tools available. But he has met two key goals, supporters say: Setting the tone for Republican opposition and keeping his 40-member caucus unified.
"He's the tortoise," said Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "He's moving forward steadily, over and over again, every day. He's not trying to bite off more than he can chew."
Ed Whitfield

The western Kentucky Congressman has unveiled a new website for his office,  whitfield.house.gov/


But can Heiner bring us the Colts?

Republican mayoral candidate Hal Heiner went to Indianapolis for a fact finding mission with Indy Mayor Greg Ballard "for a discussion on Indianapolis' recent success and to tour new businesses." 

"Indianapolis has experienced a tremendous growth in jobs and my goal is to learn what they have done and how," Heiner said. "As Louisville's next mayor, I will chart a new course for Louisville by bringing jobs and opportunity here."