Bill Clinton made his first appearance for Election 2014, and it was to help sell Alison Lundergan Grimes as the future senator for Kentucky.
Speaking in Louisville fundraiser, Clinton tried to paint Grimes as a spiritual heir to his self-proclaimed moderate approach of the 1990’s. Grimes, taking the hint, first told of her delivering a bouquet of roses to the Clintons at the base of the Lincoln Memorial when Clinton was inaugurated in 1993, then made an analogy between that time and now. She said, “The country, which you will recall, had taken some serious blows because of a recession. Sound familiar? The country was ready for a change. The country was ready for a new, fresh Southern face, versus the old Washington been-there-too-long part of the problem and institution — sound familiar?” She later added she would imitate Clinton, “as President Clinton did, to grow the middle class.”
There was a studied attempt to avoid mentioning the policies of Barack Obama, who lost Kentucky by 20 points in 2012. When Grimes was asked on MSNBC whether she’d want Obama’s help, Grimes begged off, saying, “This race is one that’s about putting the people of this state first and I speak for myself, and don’t need any other surrogate to do that.”
Clinton apparently does not count as a surrogate.
Grimes’s father, Jerry Lundergan, was a fundraiser and organizer for Clinton in Kentucky and also was the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s Kentucky campaign in 2008.
The fundraiser raised more than $600,000 for Grimes, the leading Democratic Senate candidate in raising funds. Clinton decried the GOP’s attacks on ObamaCare, uttering:
The other choice is to just pout. If your party is not in the White House, make as many problems as you can, stop anything good from happening, and if you can’t stop it at least badmouth and then … when there’s a problem, do everything you can to make sure the problem is never fixed … now it may work in an election to get everyone all torn up and upset and have everybody mad all the time, but it’s a dumb way to run a country, or a business, or a state, or a school, or a sports team or a family.
Clinton said he had read the entire Grimes’s jobs plan and saw as “an expression of trust in the people of Kentucky. This is an expression of a belief in you, in the dignity of work, in the right to work and recognizing that if everybody had a decent job, about 90 percent of our problems would be solved before talking about anything else.” He also denounced the “discouraging” effect of negative attacks.
Of course, Clinton’s rules don’t apply to Grimes, who called Mitch McConnell “hyperpartisan” and added “Mitch McConnell is out of touch, he is out of ideas, and come November, with your help and support, he will be out of time.”
Grimes, in the mold of Hillary Clinton, is attempting to gin up support by prioritizing her status as a woman candidate. The University of Kentucky’s female a cappella group “Paws and Listen” sang Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and Alicia Keys’s “Girl on Fire” and Grimes and Clinton appeared to Katy Perry’s similarly symbolic “Roar.”
Grimes cried, “I’m a Neil Diamond ‘Kentucky Woman’ through and through. But you will hear, over the course of this campaign, especially on behalf of the women of this state — 53 percent of the electorate — a little Katy Perry ‘Roar’! And by the end of this, by the end of this race, eight months from now, we’ll be bringing home our Kentucky girl Miley Cyrus with a little ‘Wrecking Ball’ straight to the guardian of gridlock.”