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McConnell responds to Chandler's comments

August 26, 2003|HERB BROCK

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell calls it an "amusing" and "curious" strategy for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Chandler to continually link his Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher, to McConnell on the campaign stump. He says he also can't understand Chandler's attacks against McConnell and President Bush.

Chandler repeatedly has charged in campaign speeches that McConnell put up Ernie Fletcher to run for governor, sometimes mocking Fletcher as "Mitch's boy." During a visit to Jennie Rogers Elementary School in Danville Monday morning, McConnell, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, was asked by a reporter to respond to Chandler's comments about the McConnell-Fletcher connection and his attacks on McConnell and Bush.

"I find it very amusing that Chandler not only is attacking me but also the president in this campaign," McConnell said. "Here we have President Bush sitting at a 70 percent approval rating in Kentucky and me, who last year carried 113 out of 120 counties in my re-election bid, and Chandler feels he can make political hay by attacking us.

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"Ernie does not need me to win this campaign. He can do that on his own," he said. "But I do find that it's a very curious strategy for a Democrat in a state that is going increasingly Republican to attack two leading Republicans who happen to be pretty popular in the state."

McConnell scoffed at the "Mitch's boy" label that Chandler has applied to Fletcher.

"I have worked with Ernie on legislation that has involved Kentucky, I know him and I like him, and I support his candidacy for governor 100 percent," he said. "But Ernie's not my 'boy.' He's his own man."



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