Grimes distances herself from Obama

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes blames “the people at the top in both political parties” for Washington’s dysfunction in a new ad.

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Grimes speaks direct-to-camera in a new minutelong spot that seeks to establish her as an independent fighter for Kentucky in an effort to get out ahead of attempts from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies to paint her as a rubber stamp for President Obama’s agenda.

“This is a frustrating time in our country,” Grimes says, noting the flagging economy.

"And it seems no matter how many elections we have, nothing gets better in Washington," she adds.  "It only gets worse. A lot of that is because of the people at the top in both political parties. If we keep sending them back, nothing will change.”

Grimes says she’s running for Senate because, “I believe we need a senator who puts partisanship aside … and works with both Democrats and Republicans to do what’s right for Kentucky and for our country.”

“And no matter who the president is, she adds, “I won’t answer to them. I’ll only answer to you."

That Grimes is using her first ad of the general election campaign to distance herself from Obama underscores the fact that he could indeed be her greatest liability in the race. The president was seen unfavorably by 57 percent of registered voters surveyed in a recent Bluegrass Poll conducted by SurveyUSA.

Obama's unpopularity is higher than McConnell's in that poll, and since it's McConnell's unpopularity that has Democrats hopeful at their prospects for taking the seat, Obama's numbers present a significant hurdle for Grimes.

Grimes and McConnell both easily won their primary races Tuesday night and begin general election campaigning this week. Grimes will visit Beattyville, Ky., where McConnell recently commented that economic development is "not my job," drawing criticism from Democrats, on Wednesday. McConnell has a campaign stop with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in Kentucky on Friday.