In new campaign ad, McConnell touts role in passage of 'biggest economic rescue package in history'
WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is seeking to turn the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill responding to the coronavirus to his political advantage with a new campaign ad that touts his role in passage of "the biggest economic rescue package in history."
The 30-second spot, airing in support of McConnell's reelection bid in Kentucky, says that "in times of crisis, we look to leaders" and features images of him striding through the Capitol and standing behind President Donald Trump as he signed the measure into law last week.
The fact that a Republican incumbent is touting his role in passing such a massive spending bill underscores how dramatically the coronavirus outbreak has reshaped this election season and adds to the drama the issue has injected into the Kentucky race.
In 2009, McConnell joined most Republicans in voting against the $787 stimulus billion passed during the Obama administration in response to the economic crisis. At the time Republicans argued that it was too large and not focused enough on creating jobs.
In his new ad, McConnell says the $2.2 trillion bill provides "urgent help" for families, small businesses and "our health care heroes" and specifically mentions a provision extending unemployment benefits.
The legislation, which passed the Senate after intense negotiations between the White House and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., aims to deliver a tidal wave of cash to individual Americans, businesses and health-care facilities all reeling from the coronavirus outbreak.
Just two weeks ago, McConnell lashed out at one of his Democratic opponents in Kentucky, Amy McGrath, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and combat pilot, for airing ads critical of him during the crisis. In a statement, McConnell's campaign manager called McGrath's decision to continue airing ads "tasteless and shameful," adding that "the last thing [Kentuckians] need to see on TV is negative political advertising."
More recently, McConnell has aired an ad attacking McGrath for what he characterized as "spreading lies" about his early response to the pandemic at a time when he was working in Washington to craft a response.
Among other things, McGrath has criticized McConnell for attending a judge's swearing-in ceremony in Louisville on March 13 with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanugh while the Senate was waiting for an earlier relief bill to be acted upon by the House.
In one of her recent ads airing in Kentucky, titled "Cooped Up," McGrath is shown in her living room as her husband and three young children play in the background. She says that her campaign is now focused on the coronavirus response and makes no mention of McConnell, who has represented Kentucky in the Senate since 1985.
The well-funded McGrath still faces a Democratic primary. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Andy Beshear, D, moved the contest back from May 19 to June 23.