FRANKFORT — A liberal non-profit group is attacking U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in a TV ad that links him to an American al-Qaida spokesman describing how to obtain guns in America.
Americans United for Change, based in Washington, is spending $5,000 to air the ad in Lexington.
McConnell re-election campaign spokesman Jesse Benton called the ad "deplorable" and labeled it as another attack from a liberal group like the one apparently involved in a secret recording of a McConnell campaign strategy session in February.
"These rabid partisan extremists have no interest in promoting what's right for Kentucky, and they'll stop at nothing to attack its biggest advocate," Benton said.
He said that Progress Kentucky, an independent super PAC, attacked the ethnicity of McConnell's wife, former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, earlier this year and is linked to the Feb. 2 secret taping of the McConnell campaign strategy session that the FBI is investigating.
"Today, a left-wing group is running commercials connecting the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate to an Al-Qaida terrorist. To say these attacks are desperate and extreme would be an understatement. They are deplorable," Benton said.
"The political left has proven they'll stop at nothing to target people who disagree with them. Racist attacks on Mitch's family, illegal bugging and connecting him with terrorists won't stop him from fighting for the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Kentuckians."
A narrator in the ad asks, "Most Kentucky residents want background checks for gun sales, but Republican leader Mitch McConnell is against them. So who does agree with Mitch?"
A clip from the al-Qaida video produced in 2011 shows California native Adam Yahiye Gadahn saying: "You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?"
CNN said the video is in error because it is against the law to buy a fully automatic weapon in the United States unless the buyer is a strictly licensed and regulated federal firearms dealer with special permission.
Some types of guns can be sold at gun shows or through private sales without a background check. Some lawmakers want to change that.
The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to proceed with debate on gun legislation. The Senate plans next week to consider some of the most far-reaching gun-control measures that Congress has debated in more than a decade.