Mitch McConnell Aide 'Holding His Nose'

Campaign manager Jesse Benton caught bashing boss on tape
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2013 8:44 AM CDT

Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign manager doesn't sound like the biggest fan of Mitch McConnell. The libertarian Economic Policy Journal has posted a recording of a Jan. 9 phone call between Jesse Benton and fellow Ron Paul campaign veteran Dennis Fusaro, in which Benton sounds less-than-pleased about his job. "Between you and me, I'm sorta holding my nose for two years," he says. "Cause what we're doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in '16."

The fallout:

  • Benton tells the AP that he's "not 100% positive" he said that. "I'm not confirming that, but I'm not denying it either," he said. McConnell's campaign then released a statement from Benton in which he called it "truly sick that someone would record a private phone conversation I had … and use it to try to hurt me. I believe in Sen. McConnell."
  • Fusaro tells the Weekly Standard that he released the recording because Benton is "incapable of doing the right thing" with regards to an alleged bribe a Paul staffer gave to Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson years ago. Most of the call revolves around Fusaro confronting Benton on the matter.
  • McConnell's Tea Party primary challenger, Matt Bevin, has started running Google Ads proclaiming that "McConnell Stinks – Even his campaign manager nose it."
  • McConnell's camp also tried to make light of the incident, tweeting a photo of Benton standing beside McConnell and holding his nose, with the caption, "Nothing smells worse than #Obamacare! #NoseGate"
  • McConnell hired Benton to try to link arms with the Tea Party, and now he's kind of stuck with him, another ex-Paulite tells the New Republic. "I've been telling everybody ... that when that relationship blows up, it's going to be funny," he says. "If he fires him, who does he hire? He doesn't hire a Tea Party guy, and that throws the Tea Party out the window."
(Read more Jesse Benton stories.)

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