McConnell GOP Challenger: Rifle Moment Similar To Dukakis Tank Ad

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Republican primary challenger for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) compared him giving a rifle to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) at the Conservative Political Action Conference to Democratic President candidate Michael Dukakis’s infamous head 1988 tank ad.

“It reminded me of that,” Bevin told TPM on Friday. “Because stunts sometimes don’t go over as they were intended to.”

Bevin added “I think highly of Tom Coburn and I don’t think highly of the NRA and I don’t begrudge the premise behind it but it was a prop that was used for effect and time will tell how effective that prop will be.”

The ad featured Dukakis rising out of an M1 Abrams tank at a General Dynamics Land Systems plant in Michigan. Originally intended to bolster his perception as a future commander-in-chief, the campaign event backfired badly. Parts of the event were used in attack ads by George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign and were considered very effective.

A day earlier near the beginning of CPAC McConnell handed Coburn a rifle on the main stage. The rifle was reportedly a lifetime achievement award from the National Rifle Association.

Bevin’s comments follow criticism from McConnell’s likely general election challenger, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) who said that’s “not the way to hold a gun.”

This post was updated.

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