Mitch McConnell

Jesse Benton Responds to Taped Phone Conversation That Seems to Question his Dedication to Sen. Mitch McConnell [UPDATED]

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As a sort of addendum to a scandal being dribbled out over the past few days at Iowa Republican arguing that Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson was paid off by people working for the Ron Paul campaign (without Ron Paul's knowledge) to switch his endorsement from Michele Bachmann (a move that, as I argued back in January 2012, may well have ended up hurting Paul in the beauty contest vote by helping Rick Santorum), Iowa activist (and former Paul campaign and Right to Work campaign worker) Dennis Fusaro released a tape of a conversation he had with Benton in which Benton seems to question the depth of his devotion to McConnell: "I am, well between you and me, I'm sort of holding my nose for two years, 'cause what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand in 16 so.  That's my long vision."

Full story from Iowa Republican.

An emailed reaction from Benton that I received this afternoon says: "It is truly sick that someone would record a private phone conversation I had out of kindness and use it to try to hurt me. I believe in Senator McConnell and am 100 percent committed to his re-election. Being selected to lead his campaign is one of the great honors of my life and I look forward to victory in November of 2014."

Washington Post on this story today.

Sorenson was also apparently being paid by Bachmann for his earlier efforts on her behalf, in possible violation of Senate ethics rules.

I blogged last week on Benton, McConnell, and the meaning of a former Paul campaign boss working for McConnell last month.

UPDATE: Sen. McConnell appears to be taking this pretty lightly, from this Instagram image tweeted by @team_mitch today, which shows Benton and Sen. McConnell together, holding their noses and smiling

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  1. “It is truly sick that someone would record a private phone conversation I had out of kindness and use it to try to hurt me.

    Jesse, Jesse, Jesse. Your ineptitude at the game is truly shocking. You should have never had that conversation on the phone to begin with.

    Why do politicians have so many face to face meetings with people? It reduces the chances of their conversations being recorded.

  2. I am fine doubting his commitment to Mitch McConnell. But I won’t be able to tolerate doubting his commitment to Sparkle Motion.

  3. I know there were rumors about him Benton being more power-hungry than dedicated during Paul’s last campaign.

    Maybe he’s both.

  4. It’s so tragicomical that humanity defers so to these high-school student government rejects.

    Jesse Benton is trying to “infiltrate” a hostile establishment, and he is shocked they knife him in the back?

    What’s next, he joins the army and is suprised that the enemy sends infiltrators to set up ambushes on the supply routes?

  5. Professional marketers do not necessarily have a devout personal attachment to the products they promote?

    Fetch my smelling salts, Ruggles!

  6. I’m sure McConnell is holding his nose too, but that’s okay, because Benton’s assessment is right. Both Kentucky senators will benefit from this cross-pollination. But Benton is still skeezy.

  7. Is this shocking to anybody? Is McConnell going to be surprised? Maybe this costs Benton his job, but let’s say it had been leaked directly to McConnell and never reached the press. I imagine McConnell would say, “that’s what I figured. Keep your enemies closer.” Now, if Benton failed to keep this quiet, he’s not to be trusted with McConnell’s strategy, either. That’s the reason to fire him: not disloyalty.

  8. Ooohh, courtly intrigue. How…boring.

    1. You’re boring!

        1. Wanna get high?

  9. In college, my friends on the hockey team, many of whom had spent time in the Canadian junior leagues, used to talk about how the Canadiens would draft good young players who had no real hope of making the Big Team, just to keep them out of the clutches of teams they could help.

    I suspect McConnell, as much as anything, wants to keep Benton from assistyinbg some Tea Party bombthrower who wants to go up against him in the primary.

    1. GO HABS!

  10. assistyinbg

    Stupid keyboard.

  11. …in which Benton seems to question the depth of his devotion to McConnell

    And then I overheard as he asked himself, “Benton, just what is the depth of your devotion to McConnell?”, to which he replied to himself with giggles.

    1. “Is this how you play the long game?”

      “Yes it is, other Jesse, yes it is.”

  12. I’ve never heard of this sort of “taped phone call being leaked” thing before in the few years I’ve been paying attention to politics. Is it that rare for political insiders to switch teams, or have I just not noticed it before?

    Also why would a Paul supporter leak this if Benton really is working for the long-term success of the Pauls?

    Also will anyone in the mainstream care about the ratfuckers fighting amongst themselves?

  13. Sorenson was also apparently being paid by Bachmann for his earlier efforts on her behalf, in possible violation of Senate ethics rules.

    No way! You think that might be a possible violation?

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