Secret tape: McConnell, aides weighed attacks on Judd's mental health

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his aides weighed attacking actress and potential Democratic opponent Ashley Judd's mental health, according to a campaign strategy recording obtained by Mother Jones.

On the recordings, McConnell says that the group is in "the Whac-A-Mole period of the campaign … when anybody sticks their head up, do them out."

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Aides go on to weigh the merits of attacking Judd — who announced last month that she would not seek the Senate seat — over her mental health, religion and family values.

"She's clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced," one male aide says on the recording. "I mean it's been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she's suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the '90s."

"Jesse" presumably refers to McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton.

The group also discusses plans to cast Judd as "critical" of "traditional Christianity."

"She sort of views it as sort of a vestige of patriarchy," one aide says. "She says Christianity gives a God like a man, presented and discussed exclusively with male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power, the intention to dominate even if that intention is nowhere visible."

McConnell's team also weighs attacks against Alison Lundergan Grimes, the 34-year-old Democratic secretary of the state, who is seen as the party's possible nominee in McConnell's reelection fight. One aide says the campaign filed a Freedom of Information Act request "through a third party" in hopes of digging up dirt on the prospective challenger.

"The best hit we have on her is her blatantly endorsing the 2008 Democratic national platform," the aide says.

The McConnell campaign goes on to say that Lundergan Grimes's use of the third person in speech makes her vulnerable to attacks as "a very sort of self-centered, sort of egotistical" person.

Last year, Mother Jones memorably released a secret recording of a fundraiser by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in which he is heard describing "47 percent" of the country as dependent on the federal government. Romney subsequently apologized, but Obama aides said the video was instrumental to the president's reelection effort.