McConnell touts job creation in new ad

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a new add that takes head on criticism that he hasn’t done enough to create jobs in Kentucky.

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A narrator opens the ad by declaring, “He’s been called a hero for saving Kentucky jobs.”

The ad touts McConnell's work fighting against unfair foreign trade practices, which it says saved hundreds of jobs at Cardinal Aluminum in Louisville, Ky. It also says he protected working families at Blue Grass Army Depot by working to secure funding for a chemical weapons disposal project there and he reversed government regulations that would’ve restricted fishing along the Cumberland River and impacted tourism.

“Mitch McConnell works for Kentucky jobs,” a narrator concludes.

The ad is the latest indication McConnell’s campaign feels he’s out of the woods in his primary fight against businessman Matt Bevin, as it touts his efforts in Congress to protect jobs in the state, including securing funding for a local project.

McConnell’s long tenure in office, as well as votes for earmarks, have been a central theme in Bevin’s attacks on the senator. But with just three weeks left in the primary, Bevin looks unlikely to topple McConnell. The senator appears to already be looking towards his expected fight with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes this fall, likely to be the toughest of his career.

Both of McConnell's opponents have over the past week hammered the senator for comments he reportedly made, when asked by a Kentucky news outlet what he would do to bring jobs to the area, that “economic development is a Frankfort issue … that is not my job.”

McConnell’s campaign has said his words were taken out of context, but they’ve given easy fodder for his opponents — particularly Grimes, who has made her jobs plan a centerpiece of her campaign.

Indeed, in response to the ad Grimes’ senior adviser Jonathan Hurst charged that in his three decades serving in Congress, McConnell “never proposed a jobs plan for Kentucky.”

“Instead, he has turned Washington into a gridlocked embarrassment, putting himself and his party first,” he added. “McConnell's idea of a jobs plan is to beg D.C. lobbyists for money to save his job, while claiming it's not his responsibility to bring jobs back to Kentucky.”

Grimes' campaign also pointed to reports of furloughs at the Blue Grass Army Depot as a result of sequestration, the automatic budget cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 that McConnell helped negotiate along with Vice President Biden, as evidence McConnell hasn't always contributed to job growth.

—This piece was updated at 12:15 to include further details from Grimes' campaign.