McConnell leads fight for coal in new campaign ad


by Joe Arnold

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 28 at 11:07 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's defense of Kentucky's coal industry is the thrust of a new campaign commercial being released statewide on Thursday.

"I don't have to tell you, there's a war on coal in America," McConnell is heard at the beginning of the ad, which features video of McConnell at rallies in Kentucky's coal counties.

Though Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes is not mentioned by name in the ad, her photo, alongside photos of President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are featured prominently on a T-shirt worn by a McConnell supporter in the ad, under the Reid quote, "Coal makes us sick."

“The majority leader of the Senate, he said ‘coal makes you sick,’" McConnell says in the ad.  "Well, I’ll tell you this kind of representation makes me sick and you sick and needs to be replaced. We need to stop this and we need to go in a different direction.  And I’m here to tell you, I’m going to lead the opposition to the ‘war on coal.’

"You're damn right," McConnell is heard toward the end of the commercial.  "We're not going to sit there and take it, I can tell you that."

The commercial is backed by a nearly six figure ad buy and will air during every University of Kentucky and University of Louisville basketball game for the rest of the season with an individual buy on WYMT-TV, the campaign disclosed.

Grimes' campaign called it a "desperate new ad" that is part of a "frantic attempt" by McConnell to cover a failed record.

Grimes has also staked out "pro-coal" positions, criticizing federal regulations and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Families across the Commonwealth rely on coal to keep food on the table, gas in the car and roofs over their heads," said  Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton.  "After nearly 30 years in Washington, Mitch McConnell has failed to deliver solutions that could end the devastating job loss felt in Eastern and Western Kentucky."

Norton said Grimes would "stand up to members of her own party" to secure investments in coal, loan guarantees and research grants.

In an interview with ABC on Tuesday, Grimes separated herself from the Obama administration.

"In many respects, there are disagreements between the President and how his policies have impacted Kentucky," Grimes said, "disproportionately negatively impacting a large region of our state."

McConnell's campaign reminds voters, meanwhile, that a Grimes victory would serve to solidify Reid's position as majority leader, perpetuating the "war on coal" policies.