FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell began running a new radio ad Thursday in his home state blaming Democrats for the government shutdown and pledging to donate his pay to charity until the dispute is resolved.
McConnell called the government shutdown a disgrace in the radio spot airing across Kentucky over the next two days.
With polls showing Republicans bearing most of the blame for the shutdown, McConnell is offering his own spin on the dispute in the ad, blaming President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for refusing to negotiate.
Democrats have already gone up with ads to try to capitalize on the shutdown. Democratic group Americans United for Change has a TV spot running in Kentucky and elsewhere that blames the tea party for the shutdown.
Americans United for Change is running its ad in 10 Republican-held congressional districts, including Kentucky's 6th where freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr faces re-election next year.
"We all agree this government shutdown is a disgrace, and it's hurting our country," McConnell said in the radio spot.
McConnell, who faces Louisville businessman Matt Bevin in next year's Kentucky primary, says Republicans continue to offer proposals for compromise.
"And I've worked to pass a short-term bill to keep the government open while we talk," he said. "But President Obama and Harry Reid have refused to negotiate. It's a shame, because we owe it to you to negotiate a solution and restore your faith in Washington, to do what is right for America."
In the ad, McConnell challenges Obama and Reid "to come to the table and truly work to end this mess."
McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said the campaign is spending "five figures" on what she described as an "intensive two-day blast."
Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Logsdon said McConnell would be better served to spend his time resolving the funding impasse rather than cutting radio ads.
McConnell has faced sharp criticism from both Bevin and Democratic front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes over the government shutdown.
Grimes told reporters earlier this week that McConnell apparently thinks there's some political advantage to the government shutdown.
"There's no political gain," she said. "There's no political advantage to shutting our government down. There's no political point to be made at the expense of so many Kentuckians that are hurting right now."