Former Labor Secretary Chao Stumps for Husband McConnell

Image: Former Labor Secretary Chao Stumps for Husband McConnell Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. (Markku Ulander/ Getty Images)

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 10:25 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has dispatched an influential leader to take to the airwaves on his behalf: his wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, The Hill reported.

McConnell is in a tight race with his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. She is hammering the incumbent McConnell "for voting two times against the Violence Against Women Act," saying it illustrates that McConnell has forgotten that "over half the voters in Kentucky are women," FactCheck.org reported.

Robert Farley of FactCheck.org wrote McConnell "has never opposed the central purpose of the Violence Against Women Act" and actually co-sponsored the original bill in 1991 and has twice supported its reauthorization since then.

In the ads featuring Chao, she asks: "Have you ever noticed how some liberals feel entitled to speak on behalf of all women? As if every woman agrees with Barack Obama," before stating that Grimes’ "gender-based attacks are desperate and false."

The spot ends with Chao addressing Grimes directly.

"Alison, supporting the Obama agenda isn’t pro-woman, it’s anti-Kentucky."

The Washington Post has called Chao, who served as labor secretary under President George W. Bush, McConnell’s "most valuable surrogate."

"Not many male politicians have a spouse or significant other who is willing and able to play that role — let alone one as well-known as Chao," Post political writer Sean Sullivan wrote.

The New York Times in May wrote a lengthy piece on the Taiwanese-born, Ivy League-educated Chao and her political gravitas. The story quoted Kentucky’s junior Sen. Rand Paul, also a Republican.

"She is someone who I say is really great for Senator McConnell and needs to be out there really all the time … because I think we need more strong women who have been successful in their careers out there," Paul said.

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