It’s no surprise that Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway of Kentucky drew fire from opponent Rand Paul for a campaign ad based on allegations that the Republican—who was reportedly a member of a secret society while a student at Baylor University—kidnapped a woman in college and forced her to worship a false idol.
But Conway is also drawing questions from within his own party.
In an appearance today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said that Conway’s ad—which she called “dangerous”—might hurt him because it reaches back to Paul’s college days to make the attack.
“Candidates who are behind at the end reach, and sometimes they overreach,” McCaskill said, pointing to what she called “unbelievably unfair” statements against her and her family during a 2006 race. “I think the ad came close to the line.”
But the prominent Democrat then focused her criticism on Paul. She said his response to the ad—refusing to shake Conway’s hand during their Sunday debate and chastising him for the attack—showed that the Republican can’t handle high-profile politics.
“I think it shows how thin-skinned and how unready he is for the kind of give-and-take that you’ve got to be willing to endure if you’re going to be at the top levels of discourse of politics in this country,” McCaskill said. “The idea that he wouldn’t shake his opponent’s hand is wrong, under any circumstances.”
This article appears in the October 18, 2010, edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.