Actress Ashley Judd recently quashed the idea that she might run for the Senate in Kentucky to take out current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But the story doesn't end there.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones released audio from an internal strategy meeting of McConnell's re-election team, including his potential opponents and how to best defeat them. Judd was among them.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) talks to reporters with (L-R) Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) after the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol March 5. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
McConnell isn't taking the news of the Feb. 2 meeting recording lightly. He has brought in the FBI for an investigation into how the audio was taken without his or his staff's permission.
McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement his staff is working with the FBI because of the Watergate-style tactics that seem to have been used to bug the office.
Benton went on to say whoever planted a recording device to capture the conversation of the meeting "will be the subject of a criminal investigation.”
McConnell's official campaign Twitter account tweeted:
The liberal left is exposed for illegally wiretapping our campaign HQ. Stand with Sen. McConnell against this: teammitch.com/wiretap/?src=t…
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) April 9, 2013
As Politico noted, the authenticity of the tape is not in dispute but McConnell doesn't think it was an inside job:
Yesterday, his campaign offices were swept by a private security detail, which did not find a bug. Still, given that the meeting was attending by only a handful of longtime McConnell insiders, team McConnell is convinced it was not an internal leak. In an earlier statement, the McConnell campaign accused “the Left” of using “Nixonian tactics” and bugging the campaign’s headquarters.
In the recording, Mother Jones identifies McConnell in its transcript introducing the meeting saying:
If I could interject…I assume most of you have played the, the game Whac-A-Mole? [Laughter.] This is the Whac-A-Mole period of the campaign…when anybody sticks their head up, do them out, and we're even planning to do it with the Courier here shortly, so…
From there the meeting went on to talk about Judd, her political positions, religious beliefs and mental health.
Actress Ashley Judd attends the Premiere of FilmDistrict's "Olympus Has Fallen" on March 18. She recently announced she would not be running for Senate, needing to focus on her family. (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
"Clearly a theme that's easy to hit is that she's an out-of-touch, Hollywood liberal, and her grandmother, Polly Judd, referred to her as that," one of the meeting members identified by Mother Jones as "presenter" said in the recording, according to the transcript.
The presenter goes on to identify Judd as an anti-coal, pro-cap-and-trade "carpetbagger." Judd's infamous identifying Tennessee as her home line is called up as well, in addition to instances where she has shown that she considers herself a San Franciscan.
"I think too she's clearly sort of anti-sort-of-traditional American family," the presenter said later. "I think Jesse tracked this down. She described having children as selfish, and she thinks it's unconscionable to breed. So you put that with what we'll talk to you later about her sort of pro-choice stance and it's sort of a, you know, pretty extreme posture to take. She also is critical of, of fathers giving away their daughters in marriage ceremonies. She says it's a common vestige of male dominion over a women's reproductive status when her father gives her away at a wedding. And then she's clearly for pro-abortion."
The aide finishes his narrative about Judd with a discussion about past mental health issues.
"She's clearly - this sounds extreme - but she is emotionally unbalanced," the aide said. "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."
Other opponents mentioned in the transcript include Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, and Matthew Bevins who is labeled by the presenter as "Tea Party not afraid to turn on the government."
Here's the recording:
David Corn with Mother Jones in an article about the audio wrote that it was obtained from a source last week who wished to remain anonymous.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.