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Bill Clinton tries to boost McConnell challenger
Question of the Day
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s opposition to raising the minimum wage is reason enough for Kentuckians to replace the five-term incumbent with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, a longtime Clinton family friend.
“She’s got some ideas to actually do something,” the former president told about 1,200 people gathered in a Louisville hotel. “May not make a juicy 30-second ad, doesn’t have anything bad about her opponent, but it will make a big difference to America.”
Clinton, who twice carried Kentucky as a presidential candidate, was doing more than lending political muscle to Grimes and other Democratic candidates as the party defends its Senate majority. The former president’s support could also pay political dividends in two years, should his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, make her own White House bid.
“Every time he’s come it’s been really good for me,” McConnell told reporters in Washington, pointing out that he handily defeated his Democratic rivals in each of his last two campaigns, even though Clinton had made appearances for them.
Tuesday’s event in Louisville was the first of several Clinton plans to make on behalf of Democrats running in states where President Barack Obama and his health care law are unpopular. The former president did not mention Obama, but he did praise Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act.
Grimes, the daughter of longtime Clinton friend Jerry Lundergan, introduced the former president by retelling the story of attending Clinton’s inauguration at the age of 14 and giving the new president flowers.
Back then, she said, “the country was ready for a new, fresh Southern face vs. the old Washington one there too long part of the problem and institution,” she told the crowd of more than 1,200 at the Galt House, a downtown hotel. “Sound familiar?”
“What this is about is whether you want somebody who puts people first, who cares about rebuilding the middle class, who wants poor people to have a chance to work their way into the middle class and who believes we should cooperate with anybody that’s got a good idea to move forward,” Clinton told the crowd.
“Or,” he continued, “we should stay with this model of constant conflict which will generate unlimited amounts of special interest money to keep people stuck in their ideological ruts.”
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