Liberal group under fire from conservatives for tweet

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 9:19am

(CNN) -- A liberal group in Kentucky is under fire from conservatives for a tweet it posted nearly two weeks ago which alludes to the race of Sen. Mitch McConnell's wife.

"This woman has the ear of @McConnellPress -- she's his #wife," the February 14 tweet from Progress Kentucky reads, referencing the Kentucky Republican by his official twitter account. "May explain why your job moved to #China!"

McConnell's wife is former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, the first female Asian-American to hold a Cabinet post.

The five-term senator is up for re-election in 2014. His campaign manager, Jesse Benton, blasted the group, which has been active on Twitter but has a blank website and has filed no Federal Election Commission reports since its founding document in mid-December.

"It is unconscionable that anyone would use blatant race-baiting for political gain," Benton said in a statement. "Progress Kentucky should be ashamed of themselves. We hope all Americans can agree that these disgusting tactics have no place in American politics as we try to bring people together to solve our difficult problems."

Progress Kentucky fired back that they had not engaged in race-baiting.

"Progress Kentucky strongly denies that the organization has engaged in any such thing," Shawn Reilly, executive director of Progress Kentucky, said in a statement. "Benton's statements are an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Mitch McConnell has engaged in the selling of the American middle class overseas for decades."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group committed to electing Republicans to Congress, fired off against the group as well.

"This is disgusting and must be condemned immediately by top Democrats across the board, including Jim Messina, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DSCC Chairman Bennet, and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel - not to mention Senator Schumer and Senator Reid," the statement from Brad Dayspring, the group's strategist, read.

Actress Ashley Judd has said she is considering running on the Democratic ticket for the seat, and said in her own tweet on Tuesday: "Whatever the intention, whatever the venue, whomever the person, attacks or comments on anyone's ethnicity are wrong & patently unacceptable."

The tweet remained on the group's page on Wednesday afternoon. When asked if the group planned to take down the post, Progress Kentucky's treasurer said he had no comment.

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