McConnell, Grimes use Fancy Farm to jab each other - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

McConnell, Grimes use Fancy Farm to jab each other

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FANCY FARM, KY (WAVE) – Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates went on the offensive Saturday in front of a record crowd at the state’s most high-profile political event.

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes combined for a mistake-free, raucous 15 minutes on the Fancy Farm stage.

McConnell poked Grimes for blunders she’s made on the campaign trail, while Grimes portrayed McConnell as an out-of-touch politician who doesn’t care about Kentuckians.

“If Mitch McConnell were a TV show, he’d be Mad Men,” Grimes jabbed. “Treating women unfairly, stuck in 1968, and ending this season.”

It was the first time in a year that Grimes and McConnell have been on the same stage together and, if they can’t agree to a debate, it will likely be the last time before the Nov. 4 election.

The candidates appeared unfazed by a record crowd of perhaps 20,000 people at the annual St. Jerome Picnic, thousands of which watched the political speeches at the parish’s pavilion.

McConnell relied on his main campaign strategy, tying Grimes with an unpopular President Barack Obama.

“Obama has been a disaster for our country,” McConnell said, beginning his comparison with Grimes. “If you think about it, that’s what you get for electing someone with no experience.”

Inside the pavilion, the crowd was nearly evenly split between McConnell supporters, who wore red, and Grimes backers dressed in blue. The audience often yelled, chanted and booed, but they didn’t drown out the speakers.

Picnic organizers had asked both campaigns and political parties to tone down the constant shouting, saying Fancy Farm had become a “scream-fest.”

Sen. Rand Paul spoke after McConnell and delivered one of the most spirited endorsements of the Senate majority leader to date. As he promised earlier in the day, Paul opened his speech by reading an anti-Grimes poem.

“One thing we know is true, one thing we know is guaranteed,” Paul read, “She’ll cast her first vote for Harry Reid.”

McConnell and Paul left the stage after Paul’s speech, leading two Democrats to joke about their departure in their own speeches.

In her remarks, Grimes challenged McConnell to debate her four times before Election Day. McConnell didn’t specifically respond in his own speech.

Gov. Steve Beshear began the series of political speeches by walking over and talking a photograph with McConnell.

“I’m sorry,” Beshear quipped to loud Democratic cheers. “I just had to get one last photo of the senator before Kentucky voters retire him in November.”

At least two dozen Kentucky politicians worked the crowd before the speeches, as people enjoyed barbeque on the St. Jerome Parish property.

State Agriculture Department Commissioner James Comer made the anticipated announcement from the stage that he would run for governor in 2015.

Louisville businessman Hal Heiner, a Republican, is already in the race, as is Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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