Caught On Tape: McConnell Aides Plotted Ashley Judd Attack

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s aides were reportedly building up an attack campaign against Judd that would go after her mental health and religion, according to tape leaked to Mother Jones on Tuesday.

UPDATE: Senator Mitch McConnell has asked the FBI to investigate the recording of a campaign strategy meeting in which the lawmaker and his staff made disparaging remarks about actress Ashley Judd. Ah yes, priorities.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s aides were reportedly building up an attack campaign against Judd that would go after her mental health and religion, according to tape leaked to Mother Jones on Tuesday. The actress had been mulling challenging McConnell in the 2014 election, a seat that Democrats consider vulnerable. “They want to fight? We’re ready,” McConnell says in the tape, despite having being silent in the media while Judd’s name was being floated. The meeting leader, who is unidentified, says Judd is “emotionally unbalanced.” The meeting attendees laughed at some recordings of Judd’s, including when she describes getting the most of her faith from a parable involving St. Francis, with one attendee mocking that as “my favorite line so far.”

Mother Jones:

But the McConnell gang explored going far beyond Judd's politics and policy preferences. This included her mental health. The meeting leader noted:

She's clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it's been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she's suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the '90s.

In her 2011 memoirs, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, Judd recounts her past bouts with depression, noting that she had considered suicide as a sixth-grader and that as an adult she had checked into a rehab center for depression. (The Jesse mentioned might have been Jesse Benton—the grandson of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and the nephew of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)—who was hired last year by McConnell to run his reelection effort. Three years ago, Benton worked on Rand Paul's successful tea-party-driven Senate primary campaign against a GOP establishment candidate handpicked by McConnell. Benton did not respond to a request for comment.)

It's certainly frightful to listen to McConnell's gang reveal themselves to be such bottom-feeding mental midgets. Their plan to defeat Ashley Judd if she had decided to run against McConnell was to mock and attack her for suffering with depression? I believe that Judd might well have handily trounced McConnell once he and his aides revealed themselves to be the sort who get their shits and giggles from a person's suffering with what can be a horribly debilitating illness. With one of of every ten Americans reporting depression, it's certainly no laughing matter.

More at Mother Jones, including several more audio recordings.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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