Donald Trump: Let's face it, Ashley Judd's going to be a great candidate

As with Trump himself, I think her most winning quality is how easy she is to relate to.

Will he end up donating to her campaign? Maybe we’ll find out when he addresses CPAC on Friday.

“All reports indicate Ashley Judd will be running for Sen. McConnell’s seat,” Trump wrote. “She’s going to be a great candidate. …Re: Ashley Judd: Keep @KarlRove away. He already made her a viable candidate.”

Asked to clarify the remarks, Trump told POLITICO in a statement: “Ashley Judd’s candidacy was created by Karl Rove’s terrible ads; even before she thought seriously about running. The ads made her look great and now she probably will run.”

Lots more on this at the boss emeritus’s site, Twitchy. Here’s Rove’s ad in case you missed it last month. It’s perfectly fine; every Republican attack ad against her for the rest of the campaign will run along the same lines. And if Trump’s right that the early Crossroads attack on Judd baited her into running, so much the better: She’s not the strongest potential opponent for McConnell in Kentucky. But Rove-bashing is key to Trump’s conservative cred at the moment, even if it means touting a hard-left liberal as a pretext for doing it, so there you go. Expect lots, lots more on Rove in his CPAC speech, I’ll bet.

Meanwhile, back in reality, Kentucky Democrats stare into the abyss and wonder, “Are we really about to do this?” Maybe not:

“She’s gonna have a tough row to hoe,” said Jim Cauley, who ran Gov. Steve Beshear’s 2007 campaign and also worked on President Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign. “She doesn’t fit the damn state. That’s her problem. I don’t think she fits the voters of the state of Kentucky.”…

“I’m in this to win it, and I don’t believe Ashley Judd is in it to win it,” said Nathan Smith, a leading Kentucky Democratic donor, who is also the head of the Manufactured Housing Institute. Smith helped raise money for Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Beshear. He’s hosted Hillary Rodham Clinton at his house. He said he called Judd about 10 days ago, prepared to give his advice to the actress, but hasn’t heard back.

“If she was to call me tonight, I would give her some advice and I doubt that she’d be excited to come back for round two of that conversation. I don’t care how many movies she’s made.” Smith said…

“Electing Ashley Judd gets a Republican Legislature elected. That’s what I see at stake here. Your perspective is different if you’re in New York or Los Angeles. They don’t live here. We do. Judd’s candidacy makes it seamlessly easy to Obama-ize this election,” one Kentucky Democratic strategist said.

At Mediaite, Noah Rothman wonders if Judd is the Democratic Todd Akin insofar as the base wants her to run while the party establishment is terrified. Does the progressive base want her to run? There’s knee-jerk support for her on lefty blogs when our side makes fun of her but I don’t know if they’re clamoring to take their best shot at Mitch McConnell with a deep blue candidate in a reddish state. Just today, Steve Kornacki’s got a piece up at Salon reminding progressives that a hyperliberal is, perhaps, not the shrewdest choice for nominee in this case. Nate Cohn argues similarly at TNR. The left will back her dutifully if she’s the nominee but don’t be surprised if they’re less than dutiful before then, even if Judd ends up in a primary.

Oh, almost forgot — per National Review, Trump is slated to have slightly more speaking time at CPAC than Rubio, Rand Paul, Jindal, or Paul Ryan. Exit question: Maybe … Trump’s trying to bait her into running too because he knows she’ll be easier for McConnell to beat? Maybe?