Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) kicked off advertising for his reelection campaign on Tuesday, releasing a lengthy web video seeking to knock down a number of prospective Democratic opponents, including actress Ashley Judd.
Using clips from President Barack Obama's speeches, the ad, titled "Obama's Kentucky Candidate," looks to cast doubt on the credentials of four candidates who have emerged as McConnell's most likely challengers. It devotes a large portion of the footage to cherry-picking quotes from Judd to portray her as a Hollywood liberal -- also from Tennessee -- who may or may not be unstable.
The ad also hits Ed Marksberry, a building contractor and former congressional candidate from Owensboro who announced his candidacy in December, depicting him as unserious and bumbling. Former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun, another name floated as a potential McConnell opponent, appears in full ceremonial regalia, presumably in attempt to paint him as out of touch. And Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has frequently discussed the idea of running for Senate, is depicted as presumptuous and arrogant.
Meanwhile, the ad notes that a number of prominent Kentucky Democrats have decided against a Senate run in 2014, suggesting that Obama couldn't bring them on board the effort to topple McConnell.
Judd's potential candidacy has remained in the picture following her earlier comments about examining the possibility. While she hasn't given any recent hints about her deliberations, Karl Rove and his American Crossroads super PAC have already jumped into the debate with an attack ad driving many of the same arguments presented in McConnell's video. Rove later said that they'd continue to "make fun" of Judd as long as she was part of the discussion.
Some Kentucky Democrats have expressed concern about the possibility of Judd jumping in the race, suggesting that her decision to do so could have negative ripple effects on state and local races. A recent poll showed Judd trailing McConnell by nine points.