Secret recording of Mitch McConnell released by The Nation


by Joe Arnold

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 28 at 12:07 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- For the third time in Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race, a secretly obtained recording of a candidate is sparking controversy.

A liberal YouTube Channel, The Undercurrent, identified the audio as that of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking to a group of politically-minded conservative donors in June.

On the recording, McConnell describes his strategy if Republicans gain control of the U.S. Senate this fall.  As senate majority leader, McConnell told the gathering he would attach riders to spending bills to force President Obama to change policy.  McConnell had already explained that strategy in an interview with Politico last week, before the recording was released.

"And we're not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals," McConnell is heard on the recording.  "That's all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage (inaudible)--- cost the country 500,000 new jobs."

The Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign said the recording revealed McConnell's re-election is "dangerous" for Kentucky.

"What it shows is that Sen. McConnell is so out of touch with Kentucky that he went to a wealthy fundraising expedition in California," said Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst, "talking with folks about how he is going to side with millionaires and billionaires over the working families of Kentucky."

"And I think that is extremely dangerous and I think it says to Kentuckians there could be no stronger contrast between him and us," Hurst continued.

"The only thing that is remarkable about this at all," countered Josh Holmes, a senior adviser to the McConnell campaign.  "is that Sen. McConnell says the exact same thing behind closed doors as he says to everybody else.  If anybody wanted to hear his speech, they had five opportunities across Kentucky to listen to it today and talk about how he's got a better vision for our economic future than what's currently being led in the U.S Senate by Barack Obama as president and Harry Reid as senate leader."

"I don't think so," Hurst said.  "I don't think that Sen McConnell has ever said to a veteran, 'Look I'm not going to put on the table, I'm actually going to take off the table the opportunity for you and for us to even discuss a vote on unemployment insurance.'

"I think what this says is, it shows Sen. McConnell's true beliefs," Hurst added.

"You've got Sen. McConnell saying the exact same thing behind closed doors as you do out in the open in every speech that he does," Holmes argued.  "Contrast that with where Sec. Grimes was when she went to the fundraiser with Harry Reid."

Holmes referred to a secret recording of Grimes at a June fundraiser in Washington, D.C. with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a critic of coal-fired power plants.

Prior to the event, the Grimes campaign had pledged she would defend Kentucky coal at the fundraiser.

"And in the end she didn't say a word," Holmes said.  "When the recording surfaced there, she had the opportunity and she didn't even mention it.  So, you can contrast that with Sen McConnell who made an explicit discussion about EPA regulations and how those are killing the coal industry and he would do something about it."

"So, consistency here is really important and candidates know what they're getting with Sen. McConnell," Holmes added.

Yet Hurst said Grimes did make her position on coal very clear.

"We're not going to be distracted by that," Hurst said.  "It is a distraction because Sen McConnell doesn't want to admit he got caught selling Kentuckians out for millionaires and billionaires to fund political campaigns."