Just days after a Democratic strategist embarrassed the party with racially charged tweets about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife, the Kentucky senator is blanketing the state with a radio ad that features his spouse.
Mr. McConnell’s wife, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, appears in the ad appealing to women voters in her husband’s hard-fought race against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.
“Have you ever noticed how some liberals feel entitled to speak on behalf of all women? As if every woman agrees with Barack Obama,” Ms. Chao says in the ad. “Alison Lundergan Grimes’ gender-based attacks are desperate and false.”
She concludes by addressing her message directly to Mr. McConnell’s opponent.
“Alison,” says Ms. Chao, “supporting the Obama agenda isn’t pro-woman — it’s anti-Kentucky.”
The McConnell campaign described the new radio spot as a significant six-figure ad buy.
Ms. Choa, who is Asian, suddenly became a figure in the increasingly nasty contest Saturday when she was the target of Ms. Groob’s tweets while accompanying Mr. McConnell at a political event.
In response to Mr. McConnell referring to his wife as “the only Kentucky woman who served in a president’s cabinet,” Kentucky Democratic political strategist Kathy Groob unleashed a torrent of anti-Asian attacks.
“Hey Mitch, nothing against your wife and spouses should be off limits; since you mentioned, she isn’t from KY, she is Asian,” wrote Ms. Groob, who has described herself as an advocate for women in politics.
“She’s his #wife. May explain why your job moved to #China!” she tweeted.
In response to the fierce backlash against her remarks, Ms. Groob deleted her Twitter account.
The Kentucky Democratic Party condemned Ms. Groob’s comments as “abhorrent” and having “no place in Kentucky politics.”
In the radio spot, Ms. Chao takes on the “war on women.”
Ms. Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state, leads Mr. McConnell among women voters in recent polls and has made women’s issues a focal point of her campaign. A recent Grimes campaign TV spot slams Mr. McConnell for voting twice against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
The radio ad featuring Ms. Chao addresses the charge, with the announcer reminding voters that “Mitch McConnell co-sponsored the original Violence Against Women Act — he’s always supported its purpose.”
Mr. McConnell did cosponsor the original bill but later joined other Republicans who opposed reauthorizing it with expanded protections for other groups, such as same-sex couples.