David Corn of Mother Jones suggested Wednesday that the reason Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the most unpopular senator in the country, accused the “political left” of bugging his office was to curry favor with Kentucky voters, who remain deeply skeptical of the senior senator ahead of his 2014 re-election fight.
A secret audio tape, obtained by an anonymous source and reported by Corn on Tuesday, revealed McConnell and senior aides discussing actress Ashley Judd’s history with depression as a potential candidate in a February meeting. Judd ultimately opted against a bid.
“He has tremendous troubles in Kentucky with conservatives, so if he can make himself the target of a left wing hit job, it’s going to help him get out of this very difficult situation,” Corn said on MSNBC.
McConnell remains extremely unpopular in his home state. Just 36 percent of Kentucky voters approve of his job perfomance, while 54 percent disapprove, a recent PPP poll showed.
The episode isn’t the first time McConnell has launched a rapid counter-offensive, fundraising off his opponents’ tactics. A left-wing group in Kentucky launched a series of attacks invoking the ethnicity of his Taiwanese wife last month.
“Last week they were attacking my wife’s ethnicity, and apparently also bugging my headquarters, much like Nixon and Watergate,” McConnell reporters on Wednesday. “That’s what the political left does in Kentucky.”