Political foes take aim at McConnell for CPAC rifle moment

03/10/2014 10:27 AM

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell walked onto the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week holding a flintlock musket over his head has seemed to give ammunition to Democrats and McConnell’s Republican primary foe.

Both U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Kentucky’s lone Democratic Congressman, and GOP U.S. Senate challenger Matt Bevin have sought to declare the moment a gaffe.

Calling McConnell’s entrance “pathetic,” Yarmuth tried to add a political and historical interpretation of the moment.

“If you had a caption that you would run under that picture it would just say desperation,” Yarmuth said of McConnell. “He understandably feels like he’s Custer at Little Big Horn these days.”

McConnell brought the gun on stage as a gift for U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and the awkward exchange was called “perhaps the oddest moment of the convention” from Washington Post blog ‘The Fix.’

Watch the Post’s video of McConnell’s entrance:

Bevin’s campaign, borrowed a line from Courier-Journal columnist Joe Gerth’s March 9 column comparing McConnell’s entrance to “Michael Dukakis riding in a tank.”

The Hill ran a story based on a Facebook post from Bevin’s campaign comparing Dukakis and McConnell in a meme captioned “sometimes career politicians try too hard.”

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s other U.S. Sen. Rand Paul ran away with top honors winning the presidential straw poll with a huge margin.

Back in Kentucky, McConnell’s campaign literature reflects the support of Paul with a prominently placed “Rand Paul endorsed” seal on direct mailing sent out this month.

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