LEXINGTON, Ky. — Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said Friday that Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is deceiving voters by staying mum on whether she voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
McConnell's comments came one day after Grimes refused four times to answer the question in an interview with The Courier-Journal editorial board and one week after Grimes ignored similar questions from a reporter at an event in Lexington. She was a delegate for Obama to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Four years earlier, she was a delegate for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In a nationally watched race that has turned largely on the candidates' trustworthiness, McConnell has relentlessly argued that a vote for Grimes would be a vote for Obama's agenda. Obama is deeply unpopular in the state.
"I think what it underscores is that this entire campaign has been about trying to deceive the voters of Kentucky into thinking she's something she's not," McConnell said.
The Grimes campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Friday.
Democrats who are running in states Obama lost are trying mightily to distance themselves from him, much like Republicans did in 2006 when President George W. Bush's approval ratings were low. Grimes has touted her disagreements with Obama on his energy policies and some of his gun proposals. And she has run TV ads showing her shooting skeet before looking directly into the camera to say, "I'm not Barack Obama."
Democrats in such states as North Carolina and Georgia have acknowledged voting for Obama — and quickly added that they disagree with his decisions. Michelle Nunn, like Grimes a first-time Senate candidate, has welcomed first lady Michelle Obama to Georgia to campaign with her. And Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan met Obama at a North Carolina airport on a recent visit. Republicans seized upon the Hagan photo op and have used it in ads against her.
"I would guess (Grimes) didn't want to listen to another million and a half dollars of, 'She voted or Obama' on television," Kentucky Democratic political consultant Danny Briscoe said.