Mitch McConnell’s Non-Flub Flub

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 27 2014 1:58 PM

Mitch McConnell’s Non-Flub Flub

150881821-sen-minority-leader-mitch-mcconnell-gives-a-statement
Not exactly discussing sales numbers at the "T&R Sales Meeting."

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sixty-one percent of Kentuckians support raising the federal minimum wage, but the state’s senior senator and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is tired of voting on this “gosh darn” proposal, he told those gathered at American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society, a strategy meeting organized by the Koch brothers held June 15. (The event was apparently codenamed “T&R Sales Meeting” to keep it secret). McConnell has voted against raising the minimum wage 17 times, says a new ad from his Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes released last week.

Student loan reforms “will make things worse,” McConnell went on to his audience. “These people”—presumably not those of the Koch-minded variety gathered before him—“believe in all the wrong things.” On Tuesday, The Nation posted audio of McConnell’s remarks. In the recording, the Republican is heard pledging to pass spending that will hamper health care service, environmental regulation, and finance regulation:

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Saying things to please donors that are unpopular with voters has gotten candidates in trouble before: Months after his infamous “47 percent”  remark, Mitt Romney was still trying to insist that he “didn’t say that” and was misperceived. (Incidentally, Romney will be flying into Kentucky in October to campaign for McConnell.) But the disdain McConnell expresses for lifting wages may not make much of a splash in the race as it currently stands. “The only thing we’ve really been hearing about in these campaigns is how much both candidates love coal,” says Jasmine Farrier, a political scientist at the University of Louisville. “The only difference is that Grimes loves coal miners and McConnell loves coal companies.” Kentucky politicos gripe that neither candidate has engaged in substantive policy debate: On Monday, it was announced that a debate scheduled for next week at Centre College has been canceled. McConnell leads Grimes in the most recent polls by 3 points. 

Boer Deng is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter

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