Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, the Super PAC allied with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, plans to begin running a new radio ad Monday that attempts to paint likely Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes as a willing would-be puppet of President Barack Obama.
The $90,000 ad purchase, which doesn't include the Louisville market, also mentions Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as it focuses on the issue of coal and includes the ominous voice of a narrator warning Kentuckians, "Obama says he needs more allies in Congress to finish forcing his liberal agenda on our country."
The spot, scheduled to run through Dec. 17, represents the heart of McConnell's strategy against Grimes, if he is able to fend off Republican challenger Matt Bevin in the May primary.
McConnell hasn't been shy about his game plan, saying he wants to make the race a referendum on Obama, who remains unpopular in much of the state. Grimes has largely avoided saying the president's name in recent months, presumably because it would appear in an ad against her almost immediately.
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In the radio ad, Grimes is heard saying, "We need to have someone who is not just attacking the president."
"Really?" the narrator follows. "Obama's reckless regulations are killing Kentucky jobs and devastating communities. But Alison Lundergan Grimes keeps on supporting him."
The ad tries to establish the link that McConnell hopes voters will see by pointing out that Grimes was a delegate to last year's Democratic National Convention. She cast a vote for Obama to be the Democratic nominee, even though he is "killing Kentucky jobs and devastating communities," the ad alleges.
Grimes, meanwhile, has attempted to move to the right of McConnell on coal issues, at one point laying the blame for dramatic job losses in Eastern Kentucky at McConnell's feet and assailing Obama for "reckless regulations" that she said are killing coal.
But Grimes has so far declined to discuss in detail her thoughts on global warming, how much of a contributing factor coal might be to that issue and how she reconciles her positions with the environmentalist base of the Democratic Party.
The ad describes Reid, who has helped Grimes raise money, as "an Obama liberal who claims coal makes us sick."
The ad is ominous in its delivery, but the content is notable for its unlikely politeness.
"Say 'no thank you' to Alison Lundergan Grimes," the narrator says in closing. "She's on Obama's side, not ours."