The Chatter: WAVE exposes Bevin at cockfighting rally, McConnell hit on jobs comments, Grimes finally weighs in on pipeline

04/25/2014 10:33 AM

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin is again struggling to explain his appearance at a cockfighting rally last month after a local news reporter aired Bevin’s remarks at the event in which Bevin had been asked specifically about cockfighting.

WAVE 3 News reporter John Boel went to the March 29 cockfighting rally undercover and got Bevin on video speaking at the rally. Bevin was asked a direct question by American Gamefowl Defense Director Dave Devereaux. Devereaux asked Bevin “Will you vote to support the effort to legalize gamecock fighting in the state of Kentucky?”

This is what Bevin said in response as transcribed from the WAVE 3 video:

“I support the people of Kentucky exercising their right, because it is our right to decide what it is that we want to do, and not the federal government’s. Criminalizing behavior, if it’s part of the heritage of this state, is in my opinion a bad idea. A bad idea. I will not support it,” Bevin said at the rally.

When Boel asked Bevin about those comments a few weeks later for the report that aired late Thursday night, Bevin said he was not listening to the speaker when he asked the question.

“What I stand behind is people’s ability to examine their First Amendment rights to speak about whatever they want to speak about,” Bevin told Boel when asked if he still stands behind his comments.

After the news story aired at 11 a.m., the McConnell campaign harshly criticized the way Bevin “pathologically lied” to Kentuckians about his presence at the event.

“Matt Bevin’s cockfighting episode will go down in history as one of the most disqualifying moments in Kentucky political history,” said McConnell campaign press secretary Allison Moore.

According to the WAVE 3 report, state Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Mt. Sterling, also attended the event and admitted he has “bet on chickens” in these types of fights.

“I must admit I’ve been to more than a few chicken fights. I must admit I liked them,” Henderson told the crowd.

When asked for a comment by Boel, Henderson refused. He says the media misconstrues everything he says.

McConnell under fire for comments about jobs in Kentucky

McConnell, meanwhile, also says his words are being misconstrued after a Beattyville newspaper reported that he diverted responsibility of job creation in the area as the job of Frankfort.

A story on the front page of the Beattyville Enterprise says that when asked what he is doing to bring jobs to Lee county, McConnell said that responsibility lies with the state government, not federal.

“Economic development is a Frankfort issue,” McConnell told a reporter for the paper. “That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet.”

But McConnell said in a statement obtained by the Huffington Post that the newspaper’s headline is misleading because that was not the message he was trying to convey.

“This April, I visited Lee County to talk about a top priority of mine: jobs,” McConnell said in the statement. “Unfortunately, my message got lost in transition, and I was surprised to see a headline about my visit that sent the exact opposite message to the one I was trying to convey.”

But Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes quickly jumped on McConnell’s comments, telling the Huffington Post in a phone interview that the only job McConnell cares about is his own.

Grimes getting pressure over Keystone XL pipeline

Grimes, however, is also being criticized this week after she was pressured to take a position on the Keystone XL pipeline and only released a statement after news that an anti-Keystone SuperPAC was getting involved on her behalf.

Republicans in the state sent out multiple press releases this week calling for Grimes to take a stance on the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry crude oil from Canada through parts of the United States.

Still, before Grimes expressed her opinion on the issue, WHAS 11 reporter Joe Arnold reported that CREDO Super PAC, an anti-Keystone group, announced on their website that they would get involved in key senate races with vulnerable Republican candidates. One of those races was the Kentucky U.S. Senate race.

Later that same day, Grimes told the Associated Press that she wants the Keystone pipeline approved.

“The administration should rule now and approve the project,” Grimes said. “Putting Americans back to work in good-paying jobs that strengthen the middle class is my top priority and it should be the federal government’s as well.”

The McConnell campaign criticized Grimes for taking nine months and endless political pressure to accept a project that is being blocked purely by environmental extremism.”

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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