In response to those who have called him “insensitive to Americans suffering from depression or mental illness,” McConnell says in the op-ed, published in the Lexington Herald-Leader, that ”nothing could be further from the truth," citing his legislative record, including his support for a 2004 youth suicide prevention bill, the creation in 2000 of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and a 2008 bill to improve mental health care for veterans, among others.

The op-ed is his first direct response to criticism of his reaction during a private conversation with aides about potential campaign attacks against Judd, when she was considering running for Senate.

That private conversation became public after an unauthorized taping of the meeting leaked, and McConnell has since largely responded to the taping by denouncing what he's called "Nixonian" tactics. He again noted the comparison to the Watergate burglars in the op-ed.

But some critics have called for him to apologize to Judd and other sufferers of mental illness because he remained silent during the meeting as an aide outlined her battles with depression, as chronicled in her autobiography.

McConnell, in the op-ed, says that he's "happy to stack my record up against anyone's when it comes to promoting Kentucky and Kentucky interests."

"By contrast, the far-left partisans who have proven there isn't a boundary of decency they won't cross in order to attack me aren't seeking to build Kentucky up. They're not interested in helping anyone. They're interested in tearing me and my work on behalf of the commonwealth down," he adds.

It's a veiled reference to the Democratic group Progress Kentucky, whose founders McConnell has accused in the taping. In all of his responses to the recording, McConnell has knocked those "far-left partisans," accusing them of trying to tear him down through inappropriate tactics.