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President Obama Fundraising for Super PAC Linked to Kentucky Senate Race

Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009.

(Photo by Pete Souza)
Pete Souza
President Barack Obama is raising money for a political action committee that has been running attack ads in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race against Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.From the  Associated Press:

The White House says Obama will raise money for the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic group that takes unlimited donations. Obama's appearance will complete his gradual acceptance of the big-money groups he once opposed. ... Earlier this year, the White House said Obama would raise money for super PACs backing Democratic House and Senate candidates running in the midterm elections.

In recent weeks, Senate Majority PAC has launched an attack saying McConnell's three decades in Washington are too long, pledging to run ads until the fall election. Kentucky Republicans are hoping to connect Obama's appearance at the fundraiser to Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has tried mightily to keep the president at arm's length. Critics have slammed Grimes for her connections to national Democrats. Most recently, she took heavy fire for attending a Washington, D.C., fundraiser with Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid. At the fundraiser, Grimes failed to mention the needs of Kentucky's coal industry, despite previous promises to confront him on the issue. "Alison Lundergan Grimes may attempt to distance herself from the horribly unpopular president in Kentucky, but she can't run away from the fact that Barack Obama needs her in the senate so he can enact his liberal anti-coal, anti-Kentucky agenda," said Kentucky GOP spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper. "What better way to bring in the big bucks for his Kentucky candidate than to headline a fundraiser for the super PAC of Grimes' trusted leader'?" In the first TV ad of the general election Grimes said: "No matter who is president, I won't answer to them. I'll only answer to you." UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: The Grimes campaign isn't taking GOP attempts to link her to the super PAC lightly, noting they have called on McConnell to disavow all outside groups. "Weeks ago Alison Lundergan Grimes called for a People's Pledge to keep outside special interests out of the Commonwealth and ensure both campaigns can deliver their messages to Kentuckians unvarnished," said Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton. "Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell refused to join her and once again sided with his Washington and Wall Street friends over the best interests of Kentuckians." Norton said unlike the GOP-leaning super PACs, the Democratic groups are not running pro-Grimes ads but rather attacks on McConnell's record. "As we've seen from poll after poll showing Alison leading McConnell, Kentucky voters will not be bought in this election—a stark choice between someone who has a jobs plan to put Kentuckians back to work and a 30 year Washington insider who claims bringing jobs to Kentucky is not his responsibility."

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