From a machinery plant outside Louisville to a hydraulic engine manufacturer in Lexington, McConnell's bus tour was filled with jabs at President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.)
"The eyes of the world are on this race," he told his supporters at Brandeis Machinery, just off the "Bluegrass Parkway", one of the dozens of streets and bridges in this area adorned with the name for blue-looking Poa grass that is famous here.
In nonstop campaign mode for almost a year, McConnell had a bit more optimism in his voice than usual, making fun of his local newspapers for their poll showing him pulling ahead in the final stretch -- a position that he contends he has held for a couple months.
The Bluegrass Poll, conducted by Survey USA for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Lexington Herald-Leader and some local TV stations, showed McConnell with support from 48 percent of voters, while Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes received 43 percent. A poll from American Crossroads, the GOP super PAC, found similar results earlier this week with McConnell leading 50 percent to 43 percent.
Grimes has run the most spirited race against McConnell in more than 20 years, pouring $20 million into the race and drawing more than a half dozen appearances by the Clinton family. On Thursday, former president Bill Clinton stumped for Grimes at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, eliciting comparisons to the city native's stunning "Rumble In The Jungle" upset over then-champion George Foreman 40 years ago this week.
On Saturday, Hillary Clinton will make one last appearance on behalf of Grimes, whose family has been close friends of the former first couple since the early 1990s.
McConnell relishes the Clinton appearances, regularly pointing to how he far outpaced Bill Clinton's performance in the state during his 1996 reelection, as well as winning Hazard County by a large margin in 2008 after Hillary Clinton stumped there against him in the final days.
"I'm proud of my enemies," McConnell said Friday.
His stump speech is now anchored around his own effort to win the majority leader post if he can win reelection and Republicans can get a net pickup of at least six seats in Tuesday's midterm election. With at least four Democratic seats seemingly likely to fall to GOP control, just a few more wins could lead to McConnell achieving his lifelong ambition of ascending to the top Senate job.
He tells his audience that he will go from being defensive coordinator, trying to block Obama and Reid, to offensive coordinator, orchestrating the agenda. "There's nobody that Barack Obama wants to beat more than the guy you're looking at," he said.
More so than just about any Senate incumbent, McConnell has run on his seniority and stature, linking it endlessly to the local coal-driven economy. Polls show him winning the critical eastern Kentucky corner of the state, where the coal industry has been gutted. McConnell, whose campaign is distributing "Friends of Coal" stickers at his rallies on the bus tour, mocked the West Wing's view of the world.
"They're a bunch of college professors and community organizers," he said. Obama's personal favorability now stands at just 27 percent, while 55 percent of Kentuckians hold unfavorable views of the president.
Grimes, 35, the Kentucky secretary of state, is running a strong anti-Washington, anti-seniority effort, using the phrase "30 years" repeatedly in each of its ads and in her stump speech to highlight how long McConnell has been in the Senate. One ad in heavy rotation notes that he voted six times to increase congressional salaries, yet opposes legislation that would increase the minimum wage.
She would be the first woman senator in Kentucky history, and she's highlighted issues like equal pay for women workers in a bid to drive home that message. However, the Bluegrass Poll showed her trailing among women, 47 percent of whom supported McConnell and 43 percent backing Grimes.
Despite his lengthy tenure, McConnell tries to use Obama's unpopularity in Kentucky as his way to suggest he's the agent of change, vowing to steer the country in a more conservative, business-friendly direction.
"Change is not about who you are. Change is about where you want to go," he said.