Grimes reneges on promise to stand up to Harry Reid for coal

Did Alison Lundergan Grimes have “strong words” for Harry Reid over the new EPA rules that will cripple Kentucky’s coal industry? After promising to stand up for Kentucky at a key fundraiser, Grimes instead completely ignored the coal issue at the splashy DC event, according to Politico’s Manu Raju and Burgess Everett. Instead, she promised to promote the Democratic Party agenda:

Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign insisted last week that she’d use a high-dollar fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as a forum to promote Kentucky’s coal industry and demand action to protect the use of fossil fuel.

That didn’t happen, according to an audio recording of the 45-minute affair obtained by POLITICO through a source at the event.

Instead, when the Kentucky Democrat spoke at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill last Thursday, she stuck to a partisan script, railing against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s record on jobs, the minimum wage and women’s issues.

The one word she didn’t say during her 11-minute speech: “coal.”

“Make no mistake, the hill that we are climbing … it is steep, but I will continue to run circles in my heels around Mitch McConnell,” Grimes told the donors, who paid as much as $2,600 a plate to attend. “It is going to take a nation to help Kentucky rise up to do this, and Alison’s army. And as I look out today, amongst the quality that is here, Leader Reid, I know this is the army that will help to get it done.”

The hometown Herald-Leader took notice of the omission, too:

In an audio recording of the speech obtained by Politico, Grimes instead criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s record on jobs, the minimum wage and women’s issues, prompting McConnell’s campaign to accuse Grimes of misleading Kentucky voters.

“Alison Lundergan Grimes just did exactly what every Kentuckian knew she would — tell them one thing and do another with Harry Reid,” McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore said. “If there was any question about what she would do as a senator, this tape erased all doubt.”

Grimes later said she raised the objection to Reid in “a private conversation,” but Reid arrived late and left early. They later specified that the conversation took place by phone after the fundraiser was over. Even if that’s the case, what happened to Grimes’ pledge to publicly push back against the Obama administration’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry?

CNN’s John King was less than impressed with Grimes’ backbone:

Once again, this raises the problem of authenticity for Grimes, which came up in a more comical manner with her ad featuring a European model posed as a Kentucky coal miner. Needless to say, Barack Obama is not a popular figure in Kentucky, and Harry Reid is probably even less well liked. Voters in this midterm election aren’t looking for a rubber stamp for Obama and someone to wrap her arms around “Leader Reid”; they want someone who will stand up to both to protect Kentucky jobs rather than Beltway agendas. That would be a long shot for even the most talented Democratic politicians, to pull off a Joe Manchin-like campaign as a way to win under those circumstances. Clearly, Alison Lundergan Grimes does not possess Manchin-like talent.