McConnell Aide: I'm "Holding My Nose" While Doing Job

Aug 8, 2013

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager says in a telephone conversation taped earlier this year that he is “holding my nose” while doing the job, a less-than-flattering remark about a powerful GOP establishment figure struggling to shore up tea party support at home in Kentucky.

Benton said during the phone call that he thought helping McConnell's 2014 re-election effort would be "a big benefit" to Senator Rand Paul in 2016.

Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, is often mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate.

You can hear the audio of the phone call here.

In a brief telephone interview Thursday, Jesse Benton didn’t dispute the authenticity of the taping, saying he wasn’t confirming it was him, but wasn’t denying it either.

Separately, in a statement emailed to reporters, he said he believes in McConnell and is 100 percent committed to his re-election.

An audio of the Jan. 9 conversation was posted online by Economic Policy Journal. It said the call was placed to Benton by Dennis Fusaro, a one-time aide in former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign.