Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had an unusually confrontational interview on Wednesday with Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones, who later described him as “needlessly angry” and “the consummate politician.”
Early in the interview, McConnell emphasized that he supports sports teams from both the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky, telling Jones that that’s “probably not acceptable to you, as an Obama enthusiast.” He defended his fandom by pointing out that he’d attended both institutions, Louisville for his undergraduate degree and Kentucky for law school.
At another point, quizzed on the impacts of repealing Obamacare on Kentuckians, where the law has been wildly successful, McConnell interrupted and said, “Yeah, can I finish my answer?”
The aspiring majority leader, whom the host said gave just 10 minutes notice before calling into the show, was grilled on a variety of issues including Obamacare (he called for repealing it “root and branch”), coal (he vowed to fight President Obama’s agenda to reduce coal emissions), same-sex marriage (“I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman”) and whether he accepts climate change (“I’m not a scientist.”).
The full interview is available below.
After McConnell hung up, Jones and his producers discussed their thoughts.
“Why can’t people give you answers … Just answer!” Jones said, also criticizing McConnell’s Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes, who appeared on the show recently, for refusing to give straight answers. “I’m not a scientist. What does that mean? You’re against gay marriage? That’s fine? Well why? Just ’cause. ‘Cause is not an answer!”
One producer said the Republican leader “came out a little defensive. Little ballsy I think. … Very uncomfortable.” Another said, “I think he came in with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. I mean, he came in swinging. Little bit of a jerk.”
Jones added, “I think he thought that I was just going to jump him and so he was jumping me first.”
McConnell is facing one of the toughest races of his 30-year career as a senator. A Bluegrass Poll released this week found him trailing Grimes by two points, within the margin of error, Many prior polls found him leading her narrowly.