McConnell Pounces on Video of Bevin at Cockfighting Rally
Citing an explosive undercover video taken at a March 29 cockfighting rally that aired Thursday in a Louisville television station's investigative report, a spokesperson for Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Friday called his primary opponent, Matt Bevin, a pathological liar.
In a statement released by his campaign, McConnell's spokeswoman Allison Moore said "Matt Bevin’s cockfighting episode will go down in history as one of the most disqualifying moments in Kentucky political history. . . Twenty years from now, we will all remember the time when the East Coast con-man thought so little of Kentuckians that he pathologically lied to us about absolutely everything until an undercover camera caught him red-handed at a cockfighting rally."
Thursday night, WAVE producer/reporter John Boel reported that "I put on a cockfighting shirt and went in undercover" to video the March 29 'activist cockfighters' meeting held at the Corbin Arena "to legalize cockfighting."
Boel reported that "the second speaker, American Gamefowl Defense Director Dave Devereaux, spent several minutes explaining why we were here."
On the video, Devereaux can be heard saying the meeting was being held "for the sole purpose of legalizing gamecock fighting at the state level."
Boel reported that "[t]he next speaker, in front of more than 700 people, was Republican US Senate Candidate Matt Bevin. . . When he was finished, he was asked a direct question."
On the video, someone in the audience, identified by WAVE as Devereaux, asks Bevin "Will you vote to support the effort to legalize gamecock fighting in the state of Kentucky?"
Bevin responds, on the video:
I support the people of Kentucky exercising their right, because it is our right to decide what it is that we want to do, and not the federal government's. Criminalizing behavior, if it's part of the heritage of this state, is in my opinion a bad idea. A bad idea. I will not support it. (emphasis added)
Several days after the rally, Boel and a camera crew from WAVE interviewed Bevin. As Boel reported, "We caught up with Bevin at a Louisville campaign stop. He said he didn't know it was a cockfighting rally."
Here's the transcript of that encounter:
Bevin: I don't personally support cockfighting, never been to a cockfight in my life. If you were there, you can tell, when I was speaking, were you there when I spoke?
WAVE's Boel: I was there the whole time.
Bevin: I was there to speak about why I'm running for US Senate. That's the same thing I do everywhere I speak.
WAVE's Boel: When Dave Devereaux got up before you, he said we're here for the sole purpose of talking about legalizing cockfighting in Kentucky. What were you thinking when he said that?
Bevin: I honestly wasn't even paying attention. I was thinking about what I was going to say. I don't even remember him saying that.
Boel then reported "I read him back his comment from the rally: 'Criminalizing behavior, if it's part of the heritage of this state, is in my opinion a bad idea.' " The transcript of the April 18 interview with Bevin continues:
WAVE's Boel: You stand behind that?
Bevin: No, what I stand behind is people's ability to examine their First Amendment rights to speak about whatever they want to speak about
The McConnell campaign was quick to point out previous local news reports which appear to contradict Bevin's subsequent statements. "I was the first person to speak and then I left," had said of the cockfighting rally previously.
"This is just a rehash of an old story," Sarah Durand, a spokesperson for the Bevin campaign, told Breitbart News in an email Friday morning. "Primary voters will have a choice on May 20th between a veteran, small business owner, father of nine who will fight for our conservative values in Matt Bevin, or more of the same old liberal policies from Mitch McConnell. Since McConnell can't defend his record, all he can do is try to make his opponent look worse," she added."
"Instead," Durand concluded, "we should be addressing the core issue - that the federal government has gotten too big, too intrusive, and needs to be reined in."
When Breitbart News pointed out that the release of a never before seen video recording of what Matt Bevin actually said at the March 29 cockfighting rally was new information, and not a mere rehash of what had previously been reported on the story, Durand offered no response.
The story about the March 29 cockfighting rally was first reported in the press on March 30. At the time, no one reported the existence of any audio or video of the rally.
There was a high level of interest at the time in what Matt Bevin actually said at the rally, and any audio or video recordings released at the time would have been major news.
WAVE had the video of the rally on March 29, but waited until April 24, more than three weeks later to release it.
Breitbart News asked WAVE's John Boel on Friday why WAVE waited so long to release the video. Why not release it on March 30, we asked.
"The special report was not on Bevin. It was on cockfighting," WAVE's Boel told Breitbart News in an email on Friday morning. " Some of the leads we pursued have panned out, some did not, and some are still in the works," Boel added.
Bevin later released a statement apologizing.
"I am genuinely sorry that my attendance at an event which, other than my comments, appears to have primarily involved a discussion of cockfighting, has created concern on the part of many Kentucky voters. I understand that concern. I am not and have never been, a supporter of cockfighting or any other forms of animal cruelty," he said.