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Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes refused multiple times to say whether she voted for President Obama during a Thursday interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board.

{mosads}”You know, this election isn’t about the president,” she said in response to a question on whether she voted for the president in 2008 and 2012.

“It’s about making sure we get Kentuckians back to work,” she went on to say before being interrupted by the interviewer.

When asked a third time, Grimes said she was a delegate for failed Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton in 2008 — but neglected to say she was a delegate for Obama in 2012.

“I think that Kentuckians know I’m a Clinton Democrat through and through,” she added. “I respect the sanctity of the ballot box and I know that the members of this editorial board do as well.”

The interviewer, resigned, responded: “So you’re not gonna answer,” and Grimes again distanced herself from Obama, declaring he’s not on the ballot this fall.

“It’s my name, and it’s gonna be me who’s holding him accountable for the failed decisions and votes that he has made against the people of Kentucky,” she said.

Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) campaign immediately pounced on the comments, blasting them out to reporters and on social media.

The potential damage for Grimes is layered: the interview allowed Republicans again to highlight the Democrat’s previous support for Obama, who remains deeply unpopular in the state, and they’re calling it evidence that Grimes has nothing substantive to offer as a candidate.

“@AlisonForKY is literally unable to discuss issues. Every answer is recitation of same canned talking points regardless of question,” tweeted McConnell campaign adviser Josh Holmes.

Grimes has taken flak for frequently refusing to give direct answers to unscripted questions on policy issues and news events, and occasionally offering a confused comment when she has weighed in on contentious issues.

McConnell, meanwhile, drew negative headlines with his own botched interview this week. He engaged in a combative back-and-forth with a local Kentucky sports radio host that drew a record audience and prompted a producer of the radio show to call him a “jerk.”

The two remain locked in a tight race for the seat, with most recent polling giving McConnell the edge, though Grimes took the lead in an independent survey out this week.

The fumbled interviews are sure to raise the stakes for their upcoming debate on Monday night.  

Tags 2014 Kentucky Senate Race Alison Lundergan Grimes Mitch McConnell

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