U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorses McConnell's campaign against regulations

03/14/2014 12:08 PM

LEXINGTON — U.S. Chamber of Commerce made official Friday what it’s been saying on Kentucky airwaves for months: It’s backing Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

McConnell accepted the endorsement in Lexington with his stump speech criticizing President Barack Obama, supporting coal and seeking to link Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes to national Democrats.

“My opponent will tell you she’s a new face, but she’s the new face for the status quo. She’s the new face for the same party leader of the Senate Harry Reid who said coal makes you sick,” McConnell said. “She’s the new face for the current majority in the Senate that guarantees the president never has a tough choice on anything.”

McConnell, though, said little about his own views on climate change while still making mention of Monday’s climate debate in the U.S. Senate.

“What good is it going to do if you believe that is an important issue for the globe for us to tie our hands behind our back while the Indians and the Chinese and even the Europeans are now having second thoughts. What foolishness,” McConnell said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s senior vice president for congressional and public affairs, Jack Howard, spoke on behalf of the chamber in the business group’s endorsement, calling McConnell a champion of free enterprise.

“No one understands better than Mitch McConnell that we need to get government out of the way so free enterprise can lead,” Howard said. “Senator McConnell is the only demonstrated leader in this race who has the courage and experience necessary to govern.”

Grimes’ fired back at the endorsement from the U.S. Chamber calling the group “the largest D.C. lobbying organization in the country.”

“It’s no surprise that Mitch McConnell called in the largest D.C. lobbying organization in the country for a photo op today. What is surprising is that they forgot to bring him a jobs plan,” Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton said. “Rather than fighting for Kentucky’s middle-class families, Mitch McConnell continues to protect D.C. special interests, just as he has for the last 30 years.”

McConnell spoke for only four minutes and 30 seconds to the RSVP only group of nearly 75 supporters and gathered media from around the state.

He declined to stop to answer follow up questions from reporters. Republicans criticized Grimes earlier in the race for similarly stopping to field questions from the media.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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