Democrats, Republicans and national media prepare for Clinton's 1st 2014 stop with Grimes

02/24/2014 07:42 PM

Bill Clinton and Kentucky — together again. The former president chose the Bluegrass State for another symbolic visit Tuesday as he raises money for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in Louisville on Tuesday.

It’s his first campaign stop for a Democratic candidate this year. He is helping Grimes in her bid to unseat Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell even before coming to the aid of U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor in his home state of Arkansas.

Clinton, who will speak to donors at the Galt House in Louisville, provides Grimes with her biggest name to headline an event yet. U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said Monday the event will not only help energize Kentucky Democrats but also help Grimes raise several hundred thousand dollars, which she will need to keep up with McConnell’s millions.

And Clinton is no stranger to Kentucky having carried the state both times he ran, including after making Paducah his final stop before the 1992 election.

It also is giving the national media another excuse to feature Kentucky’s U.S. Senate contest.

MSNBC’s Perry Bacon Jr., who grew up in Louisville, is among the national reporters who have been closely monitoring the race and is in Kentucky to cover the Clinton event.

He said the message Clinton’s visit sends is not only important to Democrats in Kentucky but nationally:

In a preemptive response, Kentucky Republicans have latched onto U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s comments he first made on NBC’s Meet the Press last month in which he criticized Clinton for “taking advantage of a 20-year-old girl” in relation to Monica Lewinski.

Paul said Monday he isn’t going out of his way to bash Clinton — just answering questions from the media. But he added that he doesn’t believe Clinton represents “Kentucky values” and questioned whether his appearance undermines Grimes’ appeal to women voters.

State House Democrats, meanwhile, are preparing in a different way. Leaders moved to Monday an Appropriations and Revenue committee meeting and two budget panels scheduled for 10 a.m. and noon, respectively, which fell around the time of the Clinton event. Three other House committees scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. are still on.

Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson criticized the scheduling change calling it “misplaced priorities.

(Correction: an earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that House budget committees were canceled when in fact they were moved to Monday. Also, the election in which Clinton visited Kentucky before the vote was corrected.)


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