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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21:  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at a press conference after the U.S. Senate passed the "nuclear option", a controversial rules change relating to filibusters, at the U.S. Capitol November 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 52-48 to change Senate rules on the filibusters for most presidential nominations with a simple majority vote.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
So TPM pointed out today that there are three topics Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY) doesn't want to talk about on the campaign trail:

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell addresses the media during a press conference following McConnell's victory in the republican primary Friday, May 23, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
1. Ryan budget? What Ryan budget?

McConnell has been an aggressive supporter of the controversial budget blueprints by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to slash taxes and privatize Medicare — he voted for them when they came up in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Recently Grimes attacked him in an ad claiming the 2011 version of Ryan's budget would raise a retiree's Medicare costs by $6,000. In response McConnell's campaign backed away from his previous alliance with Ryan's budget, telling, "There is no way to speculate if [McConnell] would have voted for final passage without having debated amendments." His campaign made a similar comment to a WFPL reporter.

To be sure, Grimes' attack was embellished — the $6,000 figure applied only to the 2011 Ryan budget, not the updated versions, and would impact those 55 and under at time of passage. But McConnell's campaign didn't argue that, nor did it respond to TPM's requests to explain what he'd want to change in the budget.

Instead he distanced himself from a proposal that is an article of faith in the GOP, which he strongly supported and united nearly every GOP senator behind.

2. Obamacare is unconnected to ... Obamacare

It is a cruel irony that McConnell, Obamacare's most formidable enemy, hails from a state where it is working considerably well. In May, faced with the fact that some 413,000 Kentuckians are benefiting from Obamacare via its popular state exchange Kynect, McConnell told home state reporters the two were "unconnected" when asked if he wanted to dismantle Kynect.

His campaign spokeswoman explained his position: "If Obamacare is repealed, Kentucky should decide for itself whether to keep Kynect or set up a different marketplace," said Allison Moore.

The stance is unconnected to Obamacare realities. Kynect is inoperable without the health care law which provides the subsidies, consumer protections and coverage mandates from which Kentuckians are benefit. Without Obamacare, Kynect is hollow. McConnell's comments would make more sense if he had an alternate plan to reconstruct Kynect in a world without Obamacare. But doesn't appear to have one. When TPM put that question to McConnell he responded, "Yeah, we've already addressed that issue, and I don't have anything to add."

3. Violence Against Women Act? I'm all for it!

Women voters are ordinarily a sore spot for McConnell, but more so this year as Grimes makes an aggressive pitch for them. Last August, McConnell held an event in Kentucky called "Women For Team Mitch" and distributed packets to reporters which, among other things, featured a constituent touting his ostensible support for the Violence Against Women Act, an anti-domestic-abuse law that Congress had renewed just months earlier.

The problem: McConnell has consistently voted against the act. Although he did cosponsor VAWA legislation in 1991, which his campaign testimonial touted, the packet neglected to mention that McConnell voted against passage of the bill when it originally came up in 1993. He also voted against reauthorizing it in 2012 and 2013, the only two times that Congress has held recorded votes to renew it.

McConnell's campaign wouldn't comment on the matter. During the VAWA debates in 2012 and 2013 he supported a scaled-back version which excluded protections for LGBT victims, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants. A bipartisan version which included those protections eventually became law. - TPM, 7/21/14

Yeah, it's understandable why McConnell doesn't want to talk about any of those issues.  But he has no problem hitting Obama over the current border crisis:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) thinks that President Barack Obama is advocating “throwing money at” the current immigration problems, and that spending nearly $4 billion won’t solve the issue.

“I got the impression that Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is for [securing the border], but he seems to have been overruled by the White House, which is apparently decided because we know the president requested almost $4 billion to throw money at the problem,” McConnell said Monday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “That isn’t going to solve it.”

Instead, McConnell suggested that in order to calm the chaotic situation that has thousands of adults and unaccompanied minors traveling from Central America and across the U.S.-Mexico border, the border needs to be secured.

“It’s very, very simple,” McConnell said. “If word got out that you’d be humanely detained and immediately returned, it would stop. It doesn’t require massive amounts of federal assistance that the president has asked for.” - Politico, 7/21/14

McConnell has to make everything and anything about Obama so he can try to win back voters but the Tea Party is angry at him again:

After serving on the Daviess County Republican Party's leadership team for almost three years, Owensboro native Barbara Knott had enough.

She resigned on July 10 and the reason was simple; Knott cannot support Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell this fall.

"I have resigned from the executive committee of the Republican Party because I will not support Mitch McConnell," Knott, chair of the Owensboro Tea Party, said in a telephone interview. "I have a big 4x8 sign in my front yard that says ‘Retire Mitch.’ It’s going to stay there through the election. I will not vote for that man."

Knott does plan to come out to support other Republican candidates. But in terms of McConnell she is "just fed up" despite voting for him in the past.

Other grassroots conservatives across Kentucky like Knott say their disdain for McConnell has grown in the two months since the GOP primary.

  Those activists said McConnell's involvement in the Mississippi Republican primary, specifically funding a controversial ad against the Tea Party challenger, further damages any chance at reconciliation ahead of his contest this fall with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In the Mississippi runoff, incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran defeated challenger Chris McDaniel by a razor-thin margin. Part of Cochran's victory was an appeal to Democrats, specifically African-Americans voters, who were allowed under Mississippi law to vote in the GOP primary as long they didn't vote in their own.

In the weeks leading up to the June 24 runoff, a group called Mississippi Conservatives ran attack ads suggesting McDaniel's victory would setback Mississippi race relations.

A review of campaign finance records released this week shows that same group received hefty donations from seven sitting GOP senators, including a $50,000 from McConnell's Bluegrass Committee.

Kentucky conservatives, like Tea Party groups nationwide, were watching the race closely.

"There are an awful lot of people that are not happy with McConnell at all over that," said United Kentucky Tea Party spokesman Scott Hofstra. "We're going to see a lot of our folks either not vote for senator, they'll vote for the down ticket races. They may go for the libertarian, but I don't see them voting for McConnell or for Grimes." - WFPL News 89.3, 7/21/14

It's going to be interesting to see what those Tea Party voters do but one thing's for sure, this is going to be an expensive race:

Alison Lundergan Grimes and Sen. Mitch McConnell both set fundraising records in the year's second quarter, all but ensuring assuring that their closely watched Senate race will be the most expensive ever in Kentucky.

Democrat Grimes reported Tuesday that she raised $4 million in the quarter ended June 30, crushing the previous mark of $2.9 million set by Republican McConnell in the months after he defeated Democrat Bruce Lunsford in 2008.

McConnell, meanwhile, set a personal record in the second quarter, reporting that he had raised $3.1 million and bested the record for total money raised in a Kentucky campaign, a mark that he held, by pushing his total to $25 million. That is more than twice Grimes' total of $11.3 million in the campaign thus far.

Some have predicted that more than $100 million will be spent on the race by the time November's election rolls around. - Louisville Courier-Journal, 7/20/14

Polls have been showing a close race between McConnell and Grimes and we have a real shot to retire Mitch.  We can't take anything for granted though.  Click here to donate and get involved with Grimes' campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 01:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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