FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) --The day was peppered with harsh words for Democrats and President Obama, but the real story of Fancy Farm 2012 may be the number of no shows.
"I wanna, before we get started, thank all of the elected officials, Republican and Democrat, who bothered to show up to Fancy Farm," said Fancy Farm emcee and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was the headliner at Kentucky's premier political event.
"I wanna start by saying are there any big name Democrats here?," said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R). "I'm looking around here and trying to figure out who's here."
Top Democrats opted to skip Saturday's event, leaving no one to defend Obama.
Gov. Steve Beshear is out of the country on an economic development trip. Other Democratic leaders cited an assortment of reasons for not showing up at the political picnic in the tiny western Kentucky community of Fancy Farm.
"We understand the Governor is in Europe," said Sen. McConnell. "You know I don't really blame him entirely for going to Europe. He's getting a preview of what the American economy is going to look like if we have four more years of Barack Obama."
"Let me tell you where Steve Beshear is today ladies and gentlemen. He's over in Europe trying to bring back some jobs that Mitt Romney helped to export over there," said Speaker of the Kentucky House, State Rep. Greg Stumbo (D). "And if Ed Whitfield and Mitch McConnell knew anything about what Kentuckians need, they'd be back in Washington voting for the President's jobs bill which they refuse to do."
The picnic, in its 132nd year, serves as the unofficial kickoff of the general election season in Kentucky and has been an annual rite for generations of politicians. In some years, the event has drawn more than 10,000 people.