Lundergan Grimes hits McConnell on jobless benefits

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is telling Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that unemployment benefits are no laughing matter.

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The secretary of State's campaign is hitting the Senate Minority Leader for his opposition to an extension of unemployment benefits with a new graphic and theme they unveiled on Tuesday.

The graphic features a picture of McConnell over a shot of the Capitol and asks, “Mitch McConnell’s answer on how he will vote on extending unemployment benefits?”

“‘Ha ha ha ha,’” it reads, a quote from his appearance on the Lars Larson talk radio show last week.

On the show, McConnell was urged by host Larson to vote against extending the benefits for the long-term unemployed, which expired late last year.

“I hope you vote no on extending unemployment benefits … at least for the long-term unemployed, I appreciate it,” Larson said, to which McConnell laughed.

“Ha ha ha, yeah,” he said.

Lundergan Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said in a statement that McConnell’s response to the suggestion was “shameful.”

"It is shameful that after failing for nearly 30 years to offer a credible plan to put Kentucky back to work, Mitch McConnell has the audacity to laugh in the faces of more than 18,000 unemployed Kentuckians, including 1,200 coal miners in Pike County,” she said.

She added: “The people of Kentucky deserve a Senator they can be proud of — not one who offensively looks down upon our people and is an embarrassment to the values we hold dear. We take care of our own in this state. As Senator, Alison Lundergan Grimes will never turn her back on the hardworking men and women of the Commonwealth." 

McConnell's campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore suggested Lundergan Grimes' campaign was "resorting to desperate misrepresentations" because she had little to offer for her own platform.

"Alison Lundergan Grimes can't articulate a single reason why she should be a U.S. Senator but she's certainly got a handle on false advertising.  It's incredible that at this stage in the campaign she's already resorting to desperate misrepresentations that you see from a losing candidate on their last leg," Moore said.

The graphic is an attempt to hammer McConnell on one of his biggest weaknesses in the race — his personal unpopularity, and the perception that he has little compassion for Kentuckians and cares more about his own well-being.

Democrats believe that unpopularity makes him the most vulnerable GOP Senator up this year, and they believe Lundergan Grimes can exploit that weakness.

More broadly, Democrats believe Republican opposition to an extension of the benefits is a political problem for them, and that the extension is widely popular nationwide.

--This piece was updated at 1:12 p.m. to reflect comment from McConnell's campaign.