The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Mitch McConnell responds to Alison Lundergan Grimes’ gun ad in devastating fashion

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at CPAC in 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

This post has been updated.

So the Kentucky Senate race, as Fixer Aaron Blake noted on Twitter, appears to have devolved into a contest over who is holding a gun and how. In his latest salvo, however, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) has pretty convincingly won the debate.

You may recall/do recall/should recall that on Monday, his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) suggested that McConnell wasn't a real Kentuckian because he once held an antique rifle in the air. (See above.) The spot featured Grimes shooting skeet while talking about her campaign platform and how she is different than President Obama.

Then McConnell responded Tuesday.

That reference to Obama's weird 2012 look-I've-used-a-gun moment is brutal. And if you somehow didn't notice it, here, allow us to have it loop in perpetuity.

McConnell's assertions in the ad that Grimes has repeatedly sided with the president on unpopular-in-Kentucky issues doesn't offer any context, but none is really needed. McConnell's point is that Grimes is an Obama clone, and his point is made very effectively -- even making sure the two Democrats' weapons are pointing in the same direction.

Grimes consistently trails in the polling, in part because McConnell has effectively made the race about Obama. Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst offered the Post a statement that addressed that, in part. "In a sign of weakness, Mitch McConnell’s campaign scurried to respond directly to our latest strong ad underscoring just how worried Mitch McConnell is seven weeks from Election Day," Hurst said. So,y eah, on the surface, this is a race about guns and gun use. But it's really about whether or not Grimes is an Obama clone, thanks to McConnell's very effective framing. Meaning that by releasing her gun ad, Grimes basically walked right into McConnell's strategy.

That GIF up there is what it looks like when a trap is sprung.