Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo, the polls aren't wrong — but you have to know what to look for How to shut down fake Republican outrage over 'spying' on Trump More than 200,000 Wisconsin voters will be removed from the rolls MORE is expected to take some hard shots at Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment CNN's Cuomo promotes 'Dirty Donald' hashtag, hits GOP for 'loyalty oath' to Trump MORE when she campaigns with his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, in Kentucky on Wednesday.

But when she traveled to the state four years ago, she struck a much softer tone when speaking about the Republican incumbent whom Democrats paint as the “obstructionist in chief.”


Clinton, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, praised McConnell effusively when she spoke at the University of Louisville in April 2010 while serving as secretary of State

McConnell invited her to discuss nuclear nonproliferation at the McConnell Center’s spring lecture series.

At the time she hailed McConnell’s cooperation with the Obama administration on an array of foreign policy issues.

“During the eight years that I served in the Senate with Mitch, I was fortunate to find common cause and work with him on a number of foreign policy issues: human rights in Burma; legislation to support small businesses and micro-credit lending in Kosovo; promoting women and civil society leaders in Afghanistan; strengthening the rule of law in parts of the Islamic world,” she said, according to a transcript posted on the State Department’s website.  

“And I’ve appreciated working with him in my new capacity upon becoming secretary of State,” Clinton added.

The glowing remarks somewhat undercut Grimes’s campaign narrative that he is an unrepentant obstructionist.

"Sen. McConnell's 30-year record? It's gridlock. It's obstruction. It's extreme partisanship," Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of State, said at a debate Monday night.

Clinton acknowledged that she and McConnell often clashed fiercely on domestic policy but touted him as a helpful partner on national security issues where they found common ground.

“Back in Washington these days, our policy discussions can get pretty lively. We can both vouch for that, both Sen. McConnell and I, because anybody who’s turned TV during the last few months will remember some of the heated exchanges,” she said. “But in foreign policy, we have a long tradition of coming together across party lines to face America’s toughest national security challenges.”

Grimes’s allies argue that Clinton’s remarks highlighting areas where she worked together with McConnell do not in any way conflict with her advocacy for his defeat.

Merely praising the GOP leader’s record on human rights in Burma does not imply an endorsement of his other positions or broader record in the Senate, they say.

“There’s nothing wrong with being collegial and working together. Secretary Clinton felt at the time that Sen. McConnell brought positive aspects to his job as they worked together, but overall she thinks Sen. Grimes would be better for the United States and for Kentucky,” said Bob Gunnell, a Democratic strategist based in Kentucky.

Clinton is scheduled to appear with Grimes on Wednesday evening at the Kentucky International Convention Center. It will be her first campaign appearance with Grimes in Kentucky.

Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonCNN's Cuomo promotes 'Dirty Donald' hashtag, hits GOP for 'loyalty oath' to Trump Whether a rule is cruel or kind, regulatory analysis shines a light Moderate or left of center — which is better for Democrats in 2020? MORE has already traveled to the state to help Grimes.