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Tags: Ashley Judd

Mother Jones Bugs a Lot of People.



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Mother Jones Bugs a Lot of People.

Don’t read the Morning Jolt out loud, because for all we know, David Corn and Mother Jones could be listening to us right now.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused opponents Tuesday of bugging his headquarters and asked for an FBI investigation after a recording from an internal campaign meeting surfaced in a magazine report.

The 12-minute audiotape released by Mother Jones magazine reveals McConnell and his campaign staff at a Feb. 2 meeting lampooning actress Ashley Judd — then a potential Senate candidate — and comparing her to “a haystack of needles” because of her potential political liabilities. Judd has since decided not to run.

“We’ve always said the left will stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Nixonian tactics to bug campaign headquarters is above and beyond,” campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement.

An FBI spokesman confirmed that the agency was investigating the incident following a report filed by McConnell’s office.

First of all, I had better audio quality holding up my cassette recorder to our home stereo to make mix tapes. In fact, I’m pretty sure Billy Joel is singing in the background.

I mean, right there on the tape, you can hear McConnell make really incriminating, scandalous statements, like, “Mmmrrrhg mmm rhgmmm rghmmm brmmm crm” and “mmmrgh hrrgnm mrrgh hrgmm rghghgrmm.”

David Corn posted this; he and Mother Jones posted the secretly-recorded video of Mitt Romney making his “47 percent” comment. Boy, he sure got past his Bush-era qualms about secret wiretapping, huh? Jeff Dunitz lays out Corn’s shock and horror at the violation of privacy presented by the government attempting to listen in on the conversations of terrorists… privacy that is apparently utterly irrelevant if you’re just some lawmaker that Mother Jones opposes speaking in a private meeting. Perhaps Corn resents the competition from the National Security Agency, or maybe he’s just jealous that they have better equipment. 

Of course, Mother Jones was particularly shocked and horrified that some unidentified presenter declared about Ashley Judd:

“She is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it’s been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.”

I’m sorry, is the argument from the shocked-and-horrified Mother Jones crowd that if a candidate had a mental breakdown, that was none of the electorate’s business?

Obvious joke: “Of course, it’s Congress, perhaps no one would notice.” Hey, a candidate’s mental illness never affects their ability to perform their duties, right? Just ask former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Congressman David Wu, do you have any thoughts on this?

“ROAR!”

Thank you, Congressman.

Kevin Williamson writes, “One sympathizes with people who suffer from mental illness. If you have ever been around somebody with psychological problems of the sort that necessitate hospitalization, you appreciate what a grim business that is. And if you breathe oxygen and possess a dozen or more functioning neurons, you also know that if Sarah Palin had spent a month and a half in a mental hospital, Mother Jones — which took a notably indulgent attitude toward Trig trutherism — would have led the chorus of jeers rather than write oh-so-sensitive headlines about the awfulness of using somebody’s mental health as “political ammo.” And as for the legitimacy of using somebody’s religious beliefs as a campaign issue, maybe we should ask Rick Santorum about that.”

But Judd isn’t running, so her mental health history and nuttier statements are all moot. Let’s hope she has a long, happy, and mentally healthy life, and that she and Morgan Freeman will finally uncover the conspiracy.

Our Dan Foster wonders what Mother Jones expected to hear at a strategy session, and puts the shoe on the other foot.

Where did Mother Jones get the tape? They’ll only say, “we were recently provided with the tape by a source who wishes to remain anonymous. We published the article on the tape due to its obvious newsworthiness. We were not involved in the making of the tape, but it is our understanding that the tape was not the product of any kind of bugging operation.”

My guess is that it was delivered to them by a woman named Lucy Ramirez,  who directed Bill Burkett to get them from a mysterious unidentified man at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Tags: Ashley Judd , David Wu , Mitch McConnell

Democrats’ Second Thoughts About Ashley Judd?



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From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Is Judd-gment Day Coming this Spring?

So, actress Ashley Judd is preparing to run for Senate . . . or perhaps not.

Actress Ashley Judd, who has reportedly been exploring a Senate run since last December, will announce her candidacy in the spring, MSNBC’s Howard Fineman reported Sunday. Her candidacy would pit her against Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.

The 44-year-old star of “Double Jeopardy” also has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University and has been a women’s rights activist for years. She had met with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to talk about women running for office more than a year ago, Fineman reported.

In a statement to The Huffington Post, Judd denied that she was planning on making announcements any time soon.

“I am not sure who is saying this stuff, but it is not I!” Judd said to the website. “I’d prefer as a fan of your journalism that you stay accurate and credible. We told everyone who called us yesterday these stories are fabrications.”

Are Washington Democrats suddenly nervous about Ashley Judd as their standard-bearer? A Louisville weekly is reporting that’s exactly the case:

LEO Weekly has learned from multiple Democratic sources that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is now applying the brakes to their once all-in support of Ashley Judd as the challenger of choice against Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014. While not ready to abandon Judd, they are now taking a serious second look at recruiting Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The change of heart came after a recent poll the DSCC conducted, but not because it showed Judd was incapable of competing with McConnell, rather that Grimes performed better than Judd and gave Democrats the best chance at victory.

As late as last week, the wheels were already very much in motion at the DSCC in planning a Judd Senate candidacy. While those plans have not been scrapped, there is definitely a re-evaluation happening. Our sources tell LEO that while the DSCC felt that Judd could compete with McConnell, one of Judd’s strongest assets would be her ability to raise money on par with McConnell and tie up Republican campaign spending (both McConnell’s and the NRSC’s) in that race. However, their recent polling suggests the 2014 race is very much winnable, with McConnell so vulnerable that Democrats need to make their priority finding the candidate with the best chance of winning.

For what it’s worth, Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Tweeted, “In my time with the DSCC, I think 85 percent of all recruitment theories and stories have been wrong. It’ll make for a good story when I’m done next November.”

A bit of DSCC caution makes sense, no? Kentucky Democrats are a different breed. With one interruption — Ernie Fletcher from 2003 to 2007 — Democrats have occupied the governor’s mansion since 1971. But in the senatorial races, where national issues are more likely to predominate the campaigns, Republicans have won every race since 1992. Right now, five of the six U.S. House members from the state are Republicans. So you would think Democrats would want someone who could run the “I’m nothing like Obama” type campaign that works for Democrats in places like West Virginia and Utah. One look at the American Crossroads web ad knocking Judd and you know you’re dealing with a potential candidate who will be extremely popular with Democrats outside of Kentucky . . . but inside the state, perhaps not so much.

Tags: Ashley Judd , Mitch McConnell

American Crossroads Salutes Ashley Judd



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American Crossroads engages in a bit of “battlespace preparation” by running a faux ad saluting actress Ashley Judd, who’s rumored to be considering a bid for Senate in Kentucky . . . even though she currently lives in Tennessee.

American Crossroads says the ad is “backed by $10,000 in paid digital advertising, starting today and running two weeks in Kentucky.”

Tags: American Crossroads , Ashley Judd , Kentucky , Mitch McConnell

‘Strip-Mining Opponent Ashley Judd . . .’



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You knew Ashley Judd was considering running for Senate in Kentucky in 2014.

Actress and activist Ashley Judd said Saturday she is “taking a close look” at running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the 2014 race.

Judd would not say whether she had decided to mount a campaign, but her brief comments in an interview with The Courier-Journal and Politico were the strongest indication yet that she may be a serious candidate.

“The people of Kentucky need a fighter,” Judd said as she walked through a Washington hotel lobby on her way to the Kentucky Society of Washington’s Bluegrass Ball. “And certainly going back 10 generations, I’ve got some fighters from those hills in my family.”

I’m intrigued by the way the Courier-Journal environmental columnist, James Bruggers, labels Judd on first reference:

Strip mining opponent Ashley Judd finally spoke up on the speculation she’s helped foster regarding a possible Senate run against Mitch McConnell.

He goes on to point out:

Since I’ve been in the state, anyway, and that is about 13 years, I cannot think of one candidate who successfully ran for a statewide audience who hasn’t, essentially, pledged allegiance to the coal industry and supported surfacing mining in the mountains.

Tags: Ashley Judd , Mitch McConnell

Will Kentucky Face Judd-gment Day?



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The midweek edition of the Morning Jolt features a look at Dick Armey’s sudden departure from FreedomWorks, some dire pizza news, and then this bit of campaign news . . .

Judd-gment Day

By 2030, our political system will just be dueling celebrities:

Ashley Judd vs. Mitch McConnell?

It might not be as far-fetched as you think.

The Hollywood movie star and eighth-generation Kentuckian is seriously exploring a 2014 run for the Senate to take on the powerful Republican leader, four people familiar with the matter tell POLITICO. In recent weeks, Judd has spoken with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) about the possibility of a run, has discussed a potential bid with a Democratic pollster and has begun to conduct opposition research on herself to see where she’s most vulnerable in the Bluegrass State, sources say.

Whether Judd jumps into the race remains far from certain. She’s reportedly also weighing whether to wait until 2016 to instead take on freshman Sen. Rand Paul, sources say.

But if Judd does become a candidate, she would be the biggest celebrity to run for the Senate since Al Franken’s successful 2008 bid for the Minnesota seat. And her entrance would add a level of star power to a race that was already poised to be the highest-profile in the country with the Senate Republican leader up for a sixth term in 2014. “She is doing all the things that a serious candidate exploring a race should do,” Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) told POLITICO after speaking with her. “I think there are a lot of people, and I was one of them, who wanted to let her know that her candidacy would be an exciting prospect for us. That’s what I wanted her to know. A lot of the labor unions, they were telling me that too.”

So, I suppose we’ve well-established that anybody can be a U.S. Senator, but . . . aren’t you supposed to have done something in the realm of public policy before you get to be a senator? Even maybe a town council or something like that? To paraphrase Rep. Bobby Rush’s criticism of his Democratic primary challenger in 2000, “What’s she done? I mean . . . just what has she done?”

As the Politico article eventually notes, “Yet other Democrats are nervous about her prospective candidacy: She’d be pegged as a liberal, out of touch with conservative Kentucky; she has no experience running for office; and she now lives outside her home state.”

The best part of Ashley Judd’s Senate bid will be when she teams up with Morgan Freeman to uncover the conspiracy.

Jim Hoft reminds us, “Judd is a big anti-gun lib. She cut ads for some wackadoodle leftist group against Sarah Palin in 2008.”

Doug Powers: “Hopefully Judd waits until 2016, because I would pay to watch Rand Paul dismantle her in a debate. Presumably Judd would poll poorly among the Kentucky coal miner demographic.”

Doug Adams, NBC producer, warns “Democrats pining for Ashley Judd should remember this: 1) she lives in Tennessee 2) McConnell is tenacious 3) celebs make lousy candidates.”

“So what?” said former New York Senator Hillary Clinton to the first.

“So what?” said Rep. Patrick Murphy, fresh off defeating Allen West, to the second.

“So what?” said Senator Al Franken to the third.

Tags: Ashley Judd , Mitch McConnell

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