The audio recording of the February strategy session was obtained by David Corn of Mother Jones from an unnamed source and published Tuesday morning. In the audio recording, participants in the session discussed Judd's mental health history and referred to her as being "emotionally unbalanced." (Judd ultimately decided not to challenge McConnell.)
Pressed by a reporter on whether it's fair to question someone's mental health or religious sensibilities, McConnell fell back on the same line.
"Yeah, as I indicated, last month they were attacking my wife's ethnicity, and also unbeknownst to us at the time they were bugging our headquarters -- quite Nixonian move," he said. "This is what you get from the political left."
The Republican leader was pressed a third time, and retreated yet again to the same line.
"Last week they were attacking my wife's ethnicity, and apparently also bugging my headquarters, much like Nixon and Watergate," McConnell said. "That's what the political left does in Kentucky."
The left-wing group McConnell was referring to was ProgressKY, which launched a series of attacks invoking the Taiwanese ethnicity of his wife, Elaine Chao, last month. Amid some confusion over his remarks, McConnell's spokesman clarified that he wasn't accusing ProgressKY of bugging his headquarters.
"He said political left," Don Stewart, the minority leader's spokesman, said in an email. "I don't think he said the words 'ProgressKY.'"