Ky. GOP seeks Democratic lawmakers to back McConnell over Judd using Judd's quotes as fodder

03/04/2013 11:23 PM

Democratic state lawmakers will receive letters Tuesday from the Kentucky Republican Party outlining past statements by potential U.S. Senate contender Ashley Judd and suggesting that the lawmakers back U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

“Before you are pressured to offer your support for Ms. Judd’s potential candidacy, I wanted to make sure you have a partial list of some of Ms. Judd’s views,” said the letter from Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson. “This may help you consider whether her candidacy would best represent your constituents.”

Robertson went on to write that the GOP will “be building a large coalition of Republicans, Democrats and independents for McConnell” and is encouraging the lawmakers and their constituents to join.

Judd’s publicist said the actress had no comment on the GOP’s opposition research.

An attachment to the letter, obtained by cn|2, includes Judd’s views on issues, such as mountaintop removal mining, as well as Christianity and her perspective on women’s issues, such as having children and whether having fathers walk their daughters down the aisle at weddings represents male domination of women.

The quotes come from a mix of sources: past interviews, her tweets and a 2006 lecture that is posted on her website

Click here to see the attachment to the GOP Letter to Democrats.pdf

The first quote outlined in the GOP memo came from a 2006 article in the Sunday Mail from Glasgow, Scotland, in which Judd said: “It’s unconscionable to breed … with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.”

Her larger point, outlined in her 2011 memoir, was that she doesn’t feel compelled to add new children to the world just to have her “own” when so many are suffering and need care. The conservative Daily Caller wrote about that last week as well.

Her public comments about coal also have been well-documented. And some House Democrats have expressed concern about her candidacy because of that. Although, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said last week he would encourage Judd to run and he, himself, viewed mountaintop removal as a “dinosaur.”

The Republicans’ document also describes some of Judd’s other remarks as being “against traditional Christianity.”

Specifically, it cites a passage from remarks she made Nov. 2, 2006, at the University of Kentucky. She posted the text of the lecture on her site.

The Republican document focused on this passage:
“Patriarchal societies are organized in terms of the experience of men as they have been able to define and elaborate on it. Patriarchal religions, of which Christianity is one, gives us a God that is like a man, a God presented and discussed exclusively in male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power. It is the intention to dominate, even if the intention to dominate is no where visible.”

That part of Judd’s lecture focused on what she called a culturally-embedded effort to control women’s reproductive rights.

“Our child bearing capacity became commodified, considered an asset to be traded forward in marriage in which the girls being given, bought, and sold had, until very recently, no choice and no voice,” she said in the lecture. And she went on to say that she believed such a system “gives boys and men just as raw a deal as it does girls and women, even as it gives them power, legitimacy, entitlement, and authority.”

As part of that same lecture, Judd also said subversive traditions continue today.

That, too, made it into the Republicans’ memo under the heading that she “objects to fathers walking their daughters down the aisle.” Here’s the passage the GOP cited:

“The complete reification our reproductivity was in place and it became institutionalized for all of us to live this way. To this day, a common vestige of male dominion over a woman’s reproductive status is her father ‘giving’ away her away to her husband at their wedding, and the ongoing practice of women giving up their last names in order to assume the name of their husband’s families, into which they have effectively been traded, in an interesting twist, cancelling out their own lineage, even though it is their father’s name with which they most likely have been raised.”

And tucked in the middle of the lecture was a line underscoring her recognition that what she had said — and how she had said it — could be used against her politically.

“You know, I am asked a lot if I will someday run for office, often enough, in fact, that if I had a nickel for each time I’ve been asked, I could fund a campaign,” she said. “But a speech like this, such an unguarded chunk of my truth is very likely to completely disqualify me.”

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • Cat Balz wrote on March 05, 2013 01:21 PM :

    The last sentence of your story, Ryan, says it all. Now, if Ashley gave that Women’s Studies lecture in French, butt naked, it could be that some good ol boys might throw in more than a nickel to her campaign fund. As for the idea that Americans knocking boots and breeding and such contributes to poverty in India and Africa, well, I’m going to have to ponder that just a bit. In the meantime, I just heard on the radio that American women outlive American men by nearly seven years. That’s un-fair. That’s not equal. There ought to be a law.

  • Bill Paxton wrote on March 05, 2013 02:50 PM :

    It sounds to me like the GOP is afraid of Ashley! I would like to see and hear anyone debate womens’ issues with her. If she does run it will take a superstrong Democratic candidate to keep me from voting for ASHLEY JUDD FOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY!

  • JD wrote on March 05, 2013 03:07 PM :

    Let us remember the Devil can quote scripture to suit his needs. The GOP picks and chooses these quotes out of context to suit their needs. Actually, I have long considered Mitch McConnell and the Devil to be one and the same. Finally, there is nothing there that doesn’t reflect an educated world-view.

  • Craig wrote on March 05, 2013 08:41 PM :

    Step up to the plate, Ashley. Such a cute nose to bloody.

  • Dee W wrote on March 06, 2013 12:24 AM :

    “Let us remember the Devil can quote scripture to suit his needs. The GOP picks and chooses these quotes out of context to suit their needs.”

    The problem with your argument is that none of them were out of context. They are exactly what she said.

    “It sounds to me like the GOP is afraid of Ashley!”

    Actually it sounds like they have her number and already have their ducks in a row and are going to exploit her possible candidacy to split the Democrats.

  • Brenda Jones wrote on March 08, 2013 12:20 AM :

    I think any Democratic political figure who backs McConnell should be evicted from the party. To me, voting Democrat means a vote for the people and not for corporations.The issue is what has McConnell ever done for Kentucky-not what remartks Ms. Judd has said. It’s time we had someone who wants to do what is best for all of us, not a career politician. I will gladly support Ashley Judd -her comments are honest and refreshing.

  • waybert17 wrote on March 10, 2013 12:49 AM :

    Corporate money, along with all special interest money, needs to be banned from all political campaigns. Individuals, and individuals alone, should be the only ones to be able to contribute to campaigns…and that at a set amount. Some Kentuckians need to educate themselves on this issue, and realize just how silly and out of touch they sound when they say “only Republicans receive corporate money for their campaigns.”

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