Transcript below the fold
Earlier Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to call into the live broadcast of Kentucky Sports Radio, a popular radio show catering to fans of the University of Kentucky that's syndicated across the state. With all due respect to the show's hosts, it really should have been a softball appearance for McConnell, but instead it turned into a embarrassing spectacle of spin and pettiness from the five-term incumbent.
During the interview (audio here), McConnell spent several minutes claiming he was as much a fan of University of Kentucky basketball as he was of Louisville basketball. Problem is: McConnell's claim was hardly credible, as he is well-known to bleed Cardinal red. Instead of just admitting that, he claimed to like both teams equally, making him sound exactly like the political hack that Alison Lundergan Grimes has been portraying him to be.
Making matters worse, McConnell was unnecessarily harsh and combative, even when talking about sports, a fact that wasn't lost on the show's hosts after the interview was over. You can hear their reactions in the clip at the top of the post, but some highlights: "Old boy came out a little defensive ... a little bit of jerk, maybe ... needlessly angry."
And it wasn't just sports where McConnell came off as an inartful dodger: He refused to explain why he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, refused to say whether or not he believes climate change is real, and wouldn't directly address the fact that his support for Obamacare repeal would take healthcare away from more than half a million Kentuckians.
The Grimes camp wasted no time in responding to McConnell's disastrous appearance, releasing a statement saying:
"His combative and hostile appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio only further solidified Kentuckians' view of him as a untrustworthy Washington insider, willing to play dirty tricks in an attempt to hold onto his personal power," Hurst said.
Hard to argue with that. Best case scenario for McConnell: That not many people in Kentucky hear the interview, because it's hard to image that he won over anyone who did.
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"Old boy came out a little defensive"
"Little--little bit of a jerk maybe, came across as"
"Is that fair?"
'I mean I don't want to say that because he's a Senator--"
"--but that was needlessly angry, to start"
"To call and give me ten minutes--and actually they wanted to give me no minutes because they called and wanted to come on immediately--look, y'know I don't think that's, y'know, that's not, uh the fair-- I mean if you understood how much I prepared for the Grimes thing."
"Look, from a strategic standpoint, they probably played it the right way. Don't give me a chance to prepare, call in, and then--I don't know if the smartest move is to come out as combative as that--he was pretty combative"
"And immediately wanted it known that he's a Kentucky fan."
"Y'know there is one piece of definite news that came out of that, he says he doesn't root for Louisville when Kentucky and Louisville play. First of all, I don't believe that."
"My biggest takeaway, was unnecessarily combative."
"I wish somebody impartial would write something to say how they think he did in that interview because, just to me, I don't think he helped himself. That's just me, nonpolitical guy, just hearing it I didn't think he helped him."
"I don't know why he had to be so angry. I really don't. That's the part--that's my takeaway."
"Y'know they brief him on the person who's gonna interview him, they don't come in there--"
"And so they said the way to handle him is to punch him in the face when you walk in?!"
"--I guarantee it. I guarantee it."