McConnell Hits Democratic Opponent Over Obamacare After Conservatives Tie Him To It

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September 9, 2013 9:40 a.m.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a new ad attacking Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes (KY) as a lockstep supporter of Obamacare in the upcoming 2014 election. While the ad’s attacks are directed at Grimes, the aim is clearly meant to also insulate McConnell from recent conservative charges that he is an insufficient opponent of Obamacare.

“Alison Lundergan Grimes supports Obamacare,” the voiceover in the ad says. “Mitch McConnell has been the number one opponent of Obamacare from the start. McConnell supports bills to defund and repeal Obamacare.”

The ad then goes on to quote McConnell saying “Obamcare should be repealed root and branch.”

The ad is shaped as a counterpunch to Grimes and conservatives like Republican Matt Bevin, who is challenging McConnell in the Senate primary, and the Senate Conservatives Fund which has released numerous ads attacking McConnell on Obamacare. The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), argued that McConnell does not sufficiently support defunding Obamacare. The group wants McConnell to join an effort to only support budget resolutions if the health care law is defunded.

Both Bevin’s campaign and the Senate Conservatives Fund shrugged off McConnell’s new ad on Monday.

“Mitch McConnell is misleading voters by falsely claiming that he is doing all he can to stop Obamacare,” Bevin spokeswoman Sarah Durand said in an email to TPM. “In reality, McConnell has already surrendered to President Obama on this issue, and has been actively working to stop other Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee who are fighting to ensure Obamacare does not go into effect on October 1 by defunding it. Like Alison Grimes, McConnell claims there are some things in the law he likes. The only candidate in the race who is actually in favor of getting rid of Obamcare root and branch is Matt Bevin.”

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Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said McConnell’s support for the Fiscal Year 2013 continuing resolution showed that McConnell’s opposition to Obamacare is less than perfect.

“What the ad conveniently leaves out is the fact that Mitch McConnell also voted to fund Obamacare,” Hoskins told TPM in a separate email on Monday. “He can’t vote to fund Obamacare and then say he opposes it. That’s Washington double talk.”

Hoskins said McConnell could prove strong opposition to the health care law by opposing the next continuing resolution if it funds Obamacare.

“He voted for the FY2013 CR that included funding for Obamacare,” Hoskins continued. “He says one thing, but then does another. If he really opposed funding for Obamacare he would pledge to oppose the FY2014 CR if it funds Obamacare.”

McConnell faces a primary vote on May 20 of next year.

Watch the new McConnell ad below:

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