POLITICS
10/22/2010 03:05 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Jack Conway Bears Aqua Buddha Blowback, Awaits Clinton Boost In November

Jack Conway is continuing his battle to remain strong Thursday in the face of intense backlash over a controversial attack ad focused on Republican Rand Paul's faith and college indiscretions that his campaign released earlier this week.

Just a day after Rand Paul and his wife held two conference calls to condemn the attack and the NRSC dropped a devastating response highlighting criticism of the spot, a large group of religious leaders joined in solidarity with the Tea Party-backed Senate candidate against the religiously themed ad. Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also released a radio ad set to air in Kentucky that calls on Conway to "repent from such a classless attack."

Meanwhile, Paul has not made any further decision about attending the final debate between the two candidates, a meeting that he at one point was considering skipping due to his indignation at Conway's campaign commercial.

Conway will be there, even if Paul isn't, his campaign said Thursday.

"Attorney General Jack Conway will be at the debate -- regardless of whether Rand Paul has the guts to answer basic questions about his own actions," Conway spokesman John Collins said in a statement. "Jack understands and will always stand up for the people of Kentucky. Rand should stop his huffing and puffing and start answering people's questions."

And while the latest polling shows Conway trailing Paul by a slim margin after tightening the race earlier in the week, Conway has sought to counteract Paul's rallying cries with a conference call of his own.

"I think Rand Paul's views and actions border on misogyny," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Flor.) on the conference call, according to Politico. "This is an individual who is engaged in some egregious, unacceptable behavior, and the ad calls him out on it."

Conway also received some good news Thursday when former President Bill Clinton announced that he'd make a second high-powered campaign appearance in Kentucky on the eve of the election.

Listen to Mike Huckabee's ad for Rand Paul: