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McConnell, Grimes face off at Fancy Farm

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McConnell, Grimes face off at Fancy Farm

by Kelly Paul

Fancy Farm - Campaign signs, costumes, and loud opinions peppered the venue Saturday as the state's tight Senate race boiled down to two options-experience or change.

The much anticipated sparing between Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes drew in a record crowd at the 134th Annual Fancy Farm Picnic held at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Graves County.

Although boisterous, the crowd was not as raucous as it has been in years past, much to the prompting of church officials who organize the event.

"When you approve of something that someone says, cheer. When you don't like something that somebody says, boo," said event emcee Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham, "And then shut up and let them go on with their speech."

Governor Steve Beshear seemed to set the stage for the Democrat vs. Republican jab-fest when he took a selfie in front of Senator Mitch McConnell. "I just had to get one last photo of the Senator before Kentucky voters retire him in November and retire him they will," he said. "They're tired of obstructionism, and Senator Mitch McConnell has been chief obstructionist for the last 30 years."

Grimes assailed McConnell with a series of her policy positions prompting a unified crowd response of McConnell "doesn't care." She accused him of giving up on Kentucky after three decades in Washington. "You've just given up. You don't care about us anymore. Thanks to you, D.C. stands for "Doesn't Care," she chimed.

The democratic opponent slammed McConnell saying he doesn't care about women, seniors, students, jobs, and coal miners.

McConnell took a different route and continued in his campaign's primary strategy to tie Grimes to Barack Obama. He repeatedly compared Grimes, who was elected Kentucky Secretary of State in 2011, to the president.

"By any standard, Barack Obama has been a disaster for our country," McConnell said. "I guess that's what we get for electing someone with no experience. He was only two years into his first big job when he started campaigning for the next one. Sound familiar?"

McConnell matched Grimes' "McConnell doesn't care" by taking shots at Grimes via Obama's campaign in an effort to portray Grimes as a tool of national Democrats.

"There's only one thing Barack Obama needs to keep his grip on power. He needs the U.S. Senate," McConnell said. "They know that as long as they can hold the Senate with their Kentucky candidate, they can do anything they want.

Grimes came right back at McConnell saying, "Senator, you seem to think the president is on the ballot this year," she said. "He's not. This race is between me and you."

Junior Senator Rand Paul joined in the attack on Grimes by reciting a limerick he composed that painted Grimes as a puppet for Democratic leaders in Washington.

"One thing we know is guaranteed, she'd cast her first vote for Harry Reid," he said, referring the Senate majority leader.

Senator Stan Humphries of State District 2 took the podium to contrast the opponents as a "seasoned veteran" who could become majority leader and "a young lady who has never passed one single piece of legislation, who is a novice to foreign policy." His reference to Grimes as a "young lady," brought loud booing from the Democratic camp.

Aside from the jeers and cheers from both sides of the political fence, attendees of the annual picnic got a chance to eat barbeque (if they were lucky to get it before it all ran out), eat pie and ice cream, and play bingo. The annual Fancy Farm picnic serves as a fundraiser for St. Jerome Catholic Church.

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