Mitch McConnell Uses Opposition To Syria Strikes As Campaign Cash Pitch

After McConnell announces opposition, campaign manager writes supporters, arguing “Mitch made it very clear to me from the beginning that he does not politicize issues of national security … we need to keep Mitch fighting for us in the United States Senate. Anything that you can contribute will go a long way.”

Jose Luis Magaua / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign Tuesday used his opposition to military strikes against Syria as part of fundraising pitch, his announcement is a “ringing example of why we need to keep Mitch fighting for us in the United States Senate.”

Earlier in the day McConnell took to the Senate floor to announce his opposition, arguing that “being credible on Syria requires presenting a credible response, and having a credible strategy. And for all the reasons I’ve indicated, this proposal just doesn’t pass muster.”

Then, McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton sent out a fundraising email to supporters with the subject line “Syria.”

In the email, Benton argues that “Mitch made it very clear to me from the beginning that he does not politicize issues of national security. He believes that America’s strength in the world should not be subject to the political theatre that so often takes hold of Washington these days.”

Benton goes on to praise McConnell’s speech, saying it “showed the kind of leadership and statesmanship that is so often lacking in politics” before ultimately making a pitch for campaign cash.

“Mitch truly is Kentucky’s champion, and he stands head and shoulders above his opponents with his statesmanship and breadth of knowledge. Today was a ringing example of why we need to keep Mitch fighting for us in the United States Senate. Anything that you can contribute will go a long way towards our goal,” Benton wrote with a link to a donation page for McConnell’s campaign.

McConnell’s campaign dismissed the pitch as nothing out of the ordinary. “Team Mitch takes great pride in keeping our supporters up to date on the latest happenings and tonight’s email from our campaign manager highlighted an extraordinarily well-articulated position by Senator McConnell on the issue of Syria,” McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said.

“Like every email, we encourage interaction between supporters and the campaign but how people choose to take action is entirely up to them. That’s the beauty of an interactive relationship between our campaign and our incredible supporters.”

McConnell was the last Republican leader on Capitol Hill to announce his position on a resolution authorizing strikes against Syria. While Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor were quick to back Obama, McConnell waited until Tuesday morning, after a Russian compromise had begun to diffuse a standoff in Congress that had split both parties sharply.

UPDATE: Charly Norton, spokeswoman for Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, slammed McConnell. “Sen. McConnell’s fundraising email is outrageous and shameful. It is politics at its worst. Sen. McConnell is exploiting the tragedy in Syria for his own political gain. It took him weeks to tell Kentuckians where he stood, yet only seconds to fundraise off of this humanitarian crisis,” Norton said.

At the same time, National Republicans Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring notes Democrats have their own history of using military actions as part of fundraising pitches. “We look forward to Democratic critiques of Barack Obama, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and countless other liberals who set a precedent that they now claim to find so abhorrent,” Dayspring said.

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