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Paul sticks to big government criticism in GOP breakfast remarks

August 7, 2010

Rand Paul, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, stuck to his criticisms of big government during his remarks at the Graves County GOP breakfast this morning at Graves County High School in Mayfield.

Paul pegged top Democrats as advocates for expanding government’s role and reach in people’s lives.

“Their vision is that government is an answer,” Paul told the crowd of more than 300. “Our vision is that you’re the answer.”

Paul repeatedly criticized government waste, noting that millions were spent from the federal stimulus package to pay for signs promoting stimulus projects, and that federal employee salaries are higher on average than those in the private sector.

“The waste is everywhere,” Paul said. “The waste goes on from top to bottom in government.”

Paul is part of the tea party movement, and has actively campaigned for the movement’s supporters, but made no mention of the tea party during his comments.

The only mention came from U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican and House minority whip, who headlined the event.

Cantor, who also attended a separate event for U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield from Kentucky’s 1st District this morning,  said this country is witnessing “one of the largest and most stunning grassroots political push-backs in American history.”

President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were frequent targets for Paul, Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Paul repeated an earlier quip that Obama is the top recruiter for the Republican Party.

McConnell made mention of his meeting this week with Obama, which he said was the first one-on-one meeting between the two since Obama took office.

“I expect to be hearing more from him next year,” McConnell said to applause, implying gains for Republicans in Congress. “I’d like to turn the president into a born-again centrist.”

Now everyone’s heading over to the grounds of St. Jerome Parish for the official Fancy Farm picnic events. For those at home, you can watch coverage to this afternoon’s political speaking on KET or on C-SPAN.

At the GOP event, I noticed a much larger crowd of reporters, which speaks to the attention that this event and this year’s U.S. Senate race is generating.

Unfortunately, the fact that more people are watching, and recording, could mean a tamer version of Fancy Farm this year. Of course, last year’s big story was the “tough son of a bitch” comment from Democrat Jack Conway, candidate for the U.S. Senate, but something like that’s unlikely to happen this year. Conway attributed the comment to one made by former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford of Owensboro, who later said Conway had misquoted him, and that his quote was “tough son of a gun.”

As reporter Bill Bartleman with the Paducah Sun noted earlier this week, Paul has said he’ll stick to his scripted comments during his speech at Fancy Farm today. Conway will no doubt be looking to avoid any similar press about his comments this year.

When Conway was through Owensboro earlier this week, I asked him and Ford if Conway would be quoting Ford at this year’s picnic again, and he said no.

So stay tuned. I’ll be posting on Twitter this afternoon, and will try to offer real-time commentary that you can view via Cover It Live by clicking here.



Following the fun of Fancy Farm tomorrow

August 6, 2010

Follow along with my live-blogging coverage of the Fancy Farm Picnic tomorrow beginning at 1:30 p.m. The political speeches begin at 2 p.m., but the fun and good eatin’ begin much earlier.

You can follow my live-blog of the picnic tomorrow by clicking here. I’ll be using Cover It Live to provide real-time updates from the picnic. I’ll also be trying to provide updates via Twitter – @smeatherstavern – and here on the blog throughout the day.

Of course, this is all contingent on being able to get good cell phone service from Fancy Farm, which is a bit of a gamble. If memory serves, coverage is spotty at best, and I’ll be trying to post update via my iPhone, but I’m hopeful.  If you tune in and there are no updates, then chances are the technology has let me down.

Be sure to tune in!

Fancy Farm coverage from KET

August 6, 2010

Below is a look at coverage of this year’s Fancy Farm picnic from KET.

Here’s an overview from KET’s Bill Goodman and Renee Shaw of what’s coming –

• The Preview: Ferrell Wellman will host Comment on Kentucky live from Fancy Farm to preview the fall election with a panel of journalists. • Friday, Aug. 6 at 8/7 p.m. CT on KET

• The Main Event: KET will present Fancy Farm 2010: Pork, Pie and Politics, live for 2 1/2 hours on KET and online at KET Live Webcast. Among the political observers joining KET’s Bill Goodman and Renee Shaw will be former Sen. Wendell Ford. • Saturday, Aug. 7 at 2:30/1:30 p.m. CT on KET

• The Highlights: KET’s Bill Goodman and Renee Shaw will introduce excerpts from the speeches and give a little of the flavor that makes Fancy Farm unique in a one-hour version of Fancy Farm 2010: Pork, Pie and Politics. • Monday, Aug. 9 at 8/7/ p.m. CT on KET

Here’s the lineup for the political speeches. Speaking first in this order will be Gov. Steve Beshear, Democrat; Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican; Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, Democrat; and Secretary of State Trey Grayson, Republican.

A coin flip by the emcee, the Rev. Jeff Hoover of Jamestown, will determine the order of speakers in each of the following races.

  • U.S. Senate candidates
    Jack Conway, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
    Rand Paul, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate
  • 1st District U.S. House of Representatives candidates
    incumbent U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, Republican
    Charles Hatchett, Democrat
  • 1st District Kentucky Senate
    State Sen. Ken Winters, Republican
  • 2nd District Kentucky House of Representatives
    incumbent State Rep. Fred Nesler, Democrat (unopposed)
  • 2nd District Kentucky Senate candidates
    Mike East, Republican
    Rex Smith, Democrat
  • 1st District Kentucky House of Representatives candidates
    incumbent State Rep. Steven Rudy, Republican
    Mike Lawrence, Democrat

Heading to Fancy Farm

August 6, 2010

I’ll be heading down to far western Kentucky this afternoon for this year’s Fancy Farm picnic, the 130th in the event’s storied history.

Former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford of Owensboro makes a point while addressing the crowd at the 120th Fancy Farm Picnic, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2000 in Fancy Farm, Ky. (AP Photo)

Tune in tonight to KET’s Comment on Kentucky with host Ferrell Wellman to kick off the weekend’s events. I’ll be a guest on the program joined by Bill Bartleman with the Paducah Sun, and I believe Ronnie Ellis with CNHI News Service.  We’ll be looking back at last year’s event, which offered some insight into this year’s U.S. Senate race, and looking ahead to the speaking tomorrow, which kicks off at 2 p.m. Central. Comment airs at 7 p.m. Central, and will be broadcast from the picnic grounds in Fancy Farm.

Got anything you’d like to let me know before tonight’s program? Shoot my an e-mail at or give me a ring at (270) 691-7296.

I’ll also be updating this blog and my Twitter account – @smeatherstavern – throughout the day tomorrow, and will have a column on the day’s events in Sunday’s Messenger-Inquirer.

Senate President David Williams: With the right running mate, run for governor could be “wonderful time”

August 5, 2010

Kentucky Senate President David Williams, a Burkesville Republican

Senate President David Williams told the Messenger-Inquirer’s editorial board today that with the right running mate, a bid for governor in 2011 could make for a “wonderful time.”

Williams, a Burkesville Republican, said polling has shown that when he’s paired with Agricultural Commissioner Richie Farmer in the number two slot, a Williams-Farmer ticket would run even with a Democratic ticket of Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

“If I get the right running mate, it’ll be a wonderful time,” Williams said.

Williams was in Owensboro today to participate in an announcement that the Owensboro Cancer Research Program would receive $4.5 million in funding from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the state Bucks for Brains program.

Williams has previously responded positively to speculation that he’s considering a run for governor next year. A veteran of more than two decades in the Kentucky General Assembly, Williams said he would be able to work with the legislature in a way that Beshear has been unable to, and would be a more active governor than Beshear.

“The governor is risk averse,” Williams told the editorial board. “He’s timid when he ought to be aggressive, and aggressive when it won’t do him any good.”

While some have said that Williams’ negatives are too high with the voting public, Williams said that’s not the case. A spokesman for Farmer told the Lexington Herald-Leader late last month that Farmer’s decision about his future will be made “sooner rather than later.”

The Republican field saw its first entry last week when Louisville businessman Phil Moffett announced he will be seeking the office, with state Rep. Mike Harmon as his running mate. Moffett has said he hopes to win the support of the tea party movement in his bid for the governor’s office.

Williams stopped in Owensboro on his way to Saturday’s Fancy Farm political picnic, and said while he will be attending Republican events on Friday night and Saturday morning, he’ll miss the main political speaking Saturday afternoon.


How Kentucky’s congressional delegation voted

August 3, 2010

Here’s the weekly update on how Kentucky’s representatives and senators voted on issues before them last week.

The updates are provided by, and anyone can sign up to receive them by heading to their Web site, which can also be accessed under the “Opinion” tab at

Editor’s Note: The House is in recess and is scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday, September 14. The Senate is in session this week.

Recent Senate Votes Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act – Vote Rejected (57-41, 2 Not Voting)

The Senate rejected ending debate on this campaign finance disclosure legislation. The bill will likely not return to the Senate floor until September.

Sen. Mitch McConnell voted NO……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Jim Bunning voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010 – Vote Rejected (58-42)

The Senate rejected ending debate on this bill that aims to expand the availability of credit to small businesses. The Senate may work more on the bill this week.

Sen. Mitch McConnell voted NO……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Jim Bunning voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Recent House Votes Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 – Vote Passed (308-114, 10 Not Voting)

The House passed this $58.8 billion bill funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and providing for additional funding for foreign aid and disaster assistance. The bill then went to the president, who signed it into law on Thursday.

Rep. Ed Whitfield voted YES……send e-mail or see bio
Rep. Brett Guthrie voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2011 – Vote Passed (411-6, 15 Not Voting)

The House approved this $141.1 billion bill funding military construction projects and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Ed Whitfield voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Rep. Brett Guthrie voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2011 – Vote Passed (251-167, 14 Not Voting)

The House approved this $126.3 billion legislation funding the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Ed Whitfield voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Rep. Brett Guthrie voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Upcoming Votes FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act – H.R.1586

The Senate is scheduled to vote on this bill that is being used as the legislative vehicle for state education and Medicaid funding.

Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010 – H.R.5297

The Senate may continue work on this bill that aims to expand the availability of credit to small businesses.

Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States – PN1768

The Senate is expected to vote on the nomination on Elena Kagan, of Massachusetts, to be a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A weekly chat with columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.

July 30, 2010

I just noticed in reading an upcoming column by Leonard Pitts Jr. that the Miami Herald columnist participates in a weekly chat with his readers.

Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.

Pitts, who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004, is online each Wednesday between noon and 1 p.m. Central to chat with readers via his page on

Pitts also responds to reader-submitted questions throughout the week – Click here to submit a question to Pitts and read Q&As from the past.

Columns by Pitts typically run in the Messenger-Inquirer on Tuesday, Friday or both days.