UnCommonwealth: A look at how Ky. and some of its own fared during the election

ctruman@herald-leader.comNovember 11, 2012 

Kentuckians saw a lively, if somewhat battering, election week in the media.

Let's recap the highs and lows:

■ Actress Ashley Judd became the go-to glamor candidate in speculation for Kentucky races, replacing Heather French Henry, Miss America 2000 and wife of former lieutenant governor Steve Henry. Judd has become the talk-about candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate minority leader, in 2014.

She played the deranged mother in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. He's one of the most powerful men in Washington. What's not to love in a race like that?

Huffington Post political analyst Howard Fineman launched this volley across the Republican bow in an appearance with MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "They want her. I know they want her. The money people in Kentucky want Ashley Judd."

The speculative Judd candidacy wound up getting a lot of ink, Web and print, by the end of the week, although Judd said such speculation was unwarranted right after the election.

Kentucky public radio Frankfort reporter Kenny Colston tweeted a plea to compile five reasons why University of Kentucky graduate and rabid UK men's basketball fan Judd would not run against McConnell.

Michael Cass at The Tennessean in Nashville launched into the debate with this incendiary proclamation: "Judd, 44, grew up in Kentucky and went to school at its flagship university, whose so-so basketball team she continues to very publicly support."

Cass notes in the next sentence that he is kidding about the team.

■ And speaking of McConnell, he took a drubbing on the funny faux news site Theonion.com, which ran an article suggesting that McConnell's life of obstructionism retained its meaning because, rather than in spite of, an Obama victory.

The fake McConnell quote: "Tomorrow, I will go to the Capitol building and immediately say that Republicans are unable to work with the president if he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy. That's a life worth living."

■ Kentucky native Diane Sawyer was the subject of rumors in the Twitterverse that suggested she was drunk during a loosey-goosey performance as anchor of ABC's election coverage. The allegation appeared to have gained steam with the resurrection of a 1989 video clip of Sawyer during a commercial break taking two sips out of a wine glass.

Sawyer herself had tweeted a photo of her beverages from that night which showed she was having the Kentucky Woman's Power Dinner: Starbucks, Diet Coke and water.

■ "The first calls were no-brainers — Kentucky for Romney, Vermont for Obama," reported Oliver Burkman of the election for The Guardian in Great Britain. For those who want to know how Kentucky's political bent is perceived abroad, color us red in the seat of Big Blue Nation.

■ Our friends at Floatingsheep.org, the geographic trends analysts, posted a map last week of racist tweets in response to Obama's re-election. Kentucky is right in the middle of the Hate Belt and ranked 11th among states.

■ On a non-election note, George Clooney's older sister, Adelia Zeidler of Augusta, was interviewed by the New York Daily News about her famous brother. In the accompanying picture Zeid ler is wearing perhaps the best shirt of all to prove that she cares not for fashion whims: a University of Kentucky football sweatshirt.

Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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