Jesse Benton says job with McConnell's 2014 campaign 'made so much sense'

09/14/2012 10:03 AM

Jesse Benton, who is making the switch from Ron Paul strategist to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s top campaign aide in 2014, said taking the job might not have seemed like an obvious fit from the beginning, but assuring McConnell’s re-election is important to all Republicans.

Benton said on Pure Politics on Thursday — the day his hire was announced — that he respects those outspoken supporters of Ron Paul and understands some are frustrated that they feel he has “sold out,” as some commenters on the Ron Paul Forums site have said.

“We just have a difference of opinion how we move forward on common goals,” Benton said (3:30). “… They see fighting outside the system as being the optimum way to go. I believe that it’s OK to work with willing coalition partners.”

The talks between McConnell’s camp and Benton about joining forces began “several months ago.” Benton said.

“I never expected to be asked. I was honored to be asked. And when the conversation started, I was flattered obviously to be able to work for someone of Sen. McConnell’s stature. Conversations went forward and what may not have appeared to be such a common sense fit at first glance really made so much sense after we all looked at it,” Benton said (1:10).

Benton said he wasn’t uncomfortable joining up with McConnell, who is seen by many in the tea party and Ron Paul movement as an “establishment Republican” who is not always on the same page with them.

Benton also talked about whether he expects McConnell to avoid a Republican primary, what kind of Democratic candidate he expects McConnell to draw and what issues McConnell has taken a stand on that would bring together some Democrats and Ron Paul supporters as well.

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