The simple question Alison Lundergan Grimes wouldn't answer - again

By: Stephanie Condon

CBS News

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Democrat challenging Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for his seat in the Senate, once again on Monday night refused to say who she voted for in the 2012 presidential election.

In a debate against McConnell, Grimes said she is refusing to answer the question as a "matter of principle."

"Our Constitution grants here in Kentucky the constitutional right for privacy at the ballot box, for a secret ballot," she told debate moderator Bill Goodman, host of "Kentucky Tonight." As Kentucky's secretary of state, Grimes said she is "tasked with overseeing and making sure we're enforcing all of our election laws... to ensure privacy at the ballot box... I'm not going to compromise a constitutional right provided here in Kentucky in order to curry favor on one or other side, or for members of the media."

Locked in a competitive race against McConnell, Grimes has gone out of her way to distance herself from the president. She first refused to say in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board whether she voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 and 2012, even though she was a delegate for Mr. Obama at the 2012 Democratic Convention.

When pressed on the issue, Grimes has emphasized her ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, who are considerably more popular than the president in the Bluegrass State.

In Monday's debate, Grimes explained that the difference between a "Clinton Democrat" and an "Obama Democrat" comes down to "growing the middle class," noting the strong economic growth during the Clinton years.

McConnell, meanwhile, said "there's not a dime's worth of difference" between Clinton Democrats and Obama Democrats."

He added that there's no "sacred right" to privacy at the ballot box. "I voted for Mitt Romney proudly," he said.

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