Is Alison Lundergan Grimes Ready For Prime Time?

July 30, 2014

Weekly Standard
By Michael Warren

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and Kentucky's secretary of state, is turning heads with her confusing answer to a question about the military conflict between Israel and the Hamas-led government in Gaza. Asked by the Lexington Herald-Leader about American support for Israel's "Iron Dome" missile-defense system, Grimes had this to say:

Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself...But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.

As the Washington Free Beacon has pointed out, Grimes's statement shows a completemisunderstanding of the Iron Dome by conflating the issue of the missile-defense system with that of Palestinians in Gaza constructing underground tunnels in order to subvert the Israeli-backed blockade and bring in weapons from outside the territory.

It isn't the first time in the campaign that Grimes, who is hoping to unseat Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell, has demonstrated a lack of understanding about some issues she may find herself dealing with in the U.S. Senate. In August 2013, as the Syrian civil war raged and the United States began considering military action in that country, Grimes was asked what should be done about the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime on its own people. The Democrat gave a vague, rambling answer in which she said she was "monitoring" Secretary of State John Kerry's position on Syria.

“Well, I’ll tell you, we have a lot of problems to take care of right here in Kentucky’s own backyard and that’s where my priority and focus has been," Grimes said to reporters on August 27. "But we also have to be cognizant of the impact that we have across the nation. But my priority is making sure we’re tackling the problems here at home, while making sure that the efforts we get involved with abroad, that we are not needlessly taking thousands of Kentuckians who have the privilege and honor to get to know and get to meet in the Middle East and involving them in conflicts that are open-ended. Thoughts and prayers go out to those, not just in Syria, but in Egypt as well and mindful and watchful of Secretary Kerry’s efforts to involve the United States.”

More recently, Grimes struggled to answer questions about the border crisis and whether she supported the president's emergency funding proposal. She criticized McConnell for voting against the Gang of 8 immigration bill, but was asked four times about the specific funding supplement without giving an answer, saying finally that she would "continue to monitor" the proposal. Watch the video below:

The race between Grimes and McConnell, who is running for a sixth term in the Senate, is currently a toss-up, and the last few polls have shown McConnell with a slight lead.

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