Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called in to a Kentucky sports radio station Wednesday to say it’s “OK” to root for the sports teams of both the University of Kentucky and its hated rival, the University of Louisville. McConnell’s Democratic opponent for re-election in November, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, made a McConnell gaffe about Kentucky sports an issue in one of her campaign ads.
McConnell explained that he went to Louisville as an undergraduate and to UK for law school, and that he doesn’t root for either team when they face each other. The senate minority leader also knocked Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones for being an “Obama enthusiast.”
“It is OK, I know it’s not acceptable to you as an Obama enthusiast, but it’s OK to be for both Louisville and Kentucky,” McConnell said in the interview, which you can listen to below in its entirety. “I got three daughters. I love them all equal and I don’t pick between my two schools when they play each other and I think that’s not unusual.” When asked what being an Obama supporter has to do with that logic, McConnell said, “it’s just something you and I don’t agree on. I’m a big fan of UK, I’m not a big fan of Obama and I know you are.”
A McConnell campaign ad that intended to highlight the school’s storied basketball tradition mistakenly used footage of Duke University’s team. Both team’s uniforms are blue and white. Grimes, who was earlier interviewed by Jones, pointed out the gaffe in her own ad.
Kentucky last won an NCAA basketball championship in 2012, and the White House ceremony to celebrate the team team was the first thing McConnell mentioned that he agreed with Obama on, followed by the president’s use of airstrikes against the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, in Syria.
“There are, occasionally, things,” where he agrees with the president, McConnell said.
On the issues, McConnell said he was against raising the minimum wage, citing an independent studied that he said showed 17,000 Kentucky jobs would be lost if the minimum wage was raised. He also said he would repeal Obamacare if he was re-elected and the Republicans gained control of the Senate.
On coal, McConnell dismissed the idea that he’s the reason why the industry is in decline in Kentucky. He blamed that on Obama, not Congress, saying the president is using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to bring about “an Obama-induced coal depression.”
A debate is scheduled between McConnell and Grimes on Monday; the race is considered a toss-up by Real Clear Politics, with McConnell leading by an average of 4 percentage points in the latest polls. The senate minority leader encouraged Jones to tune in to the debate, but he passed.
“I have other things to do Monday night. I think wrestling’s on that night, too,” Jones said.
Listen to the whole interview: