Begala: Why Democrats shouldn't 'mis-underestimate' Mitch McConnell

05/04/2013 07:28 PM

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes would make a “formidable” U.S. Senate candidate but needs space to decide whether to take on a tough and “mean” campaigner like U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, said Democratic strategist Paul Begala.

“Only a fool would, as George W. Bush might say, mis-underestimate Mitch McConnell. He’s a formadible guy … He’s tough, he’s mean and he’s usually sucessful,” Begala told Pure Politics at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

But he said Grimes has a lot going for her:

A poll last month by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm showed 54 percent of Kentucky voters surveyed disapproved of the job McConnell is doing while 36 percent approve.

Begala echoed one of Kentucky Democrats’ favorite lines that McConnell “represents a lot of what’s wrong with Washington right now.”

Grimes, who is 34 and halfway through her first term as secretary of state, offers a sharp contrast with McConnell, who is 71 and has served in the Senate for five terms.

Begala said Grimes would be a “formidable candidate” but needs time to make her decision.

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