President Obama

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is distancing herself from President Barack Obama on the issues of coal and health care.

Grimes, who is seeking her party's nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in next year's election, told reporters Thursday that she disagrees with Obama's philosophy on coal. Griimes said she would work to protect coal jobs if elected.

Grimes also said there were many problems with the federal health care overhaul championed by the president. But she called efforts to repeal the health care law a waste of taxpayer money.

Grimes spoke to reporters in Louisville after giving a speech to a large gathering of county leaders from across Kentucky. She announced her candidacy earlier this month.

Kentucky Third District Congressman John Yarmuth says President Obama delivered a very aspirational speech Monday after his second inauguration. He says he was most impressed with Obama saying the most important question to ask is the responsibility of the federal government.

Yarmuth says gun control, climate change and immigration are all issues that must be addressed and he's expecting more details in the State of the Union speech. Yarmuth said there was a lot of excitement in the crowd with history being made and the atmosphere was much more festive than it was four years ago.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell issued a statement following the President's speech saying Obama's second term "represents a fresh start when it comes to dealing with the great challenges of our day, especially the transcendent challenge of unsustainable federal spending and debt."

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said he hopes a deal can be hatched to avoid the fiscal cliff,  but that talks so far have not gone well.

McConnell said President Barack Obama is asking for a new stimulus package -- the unlimited ability to raise the debt ceiling and more than $1 trillion in new tax revenues.

And those proposals are not something Republicans want to concede, McConnell said.

Still, McConnell said he's hopeful a deal can be reached to avert the tax increases and large budget reductions scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1.

Republican Congressional candidate Andy Barr focused on coal in his national debut at the Republican National Convention. Barr is running against Congressman Ben Chandler in Kentucky’s Sixth District, which covers much of the central part of the state.

A WKU political analyst says voters should brace themselves for a rough general election battle this fall. Political Science Professor Scott Lasley says with Rick Santorum out of the Republican primary, Mitt Romney and President Obama can focus on something they had already started to do—blaming the other person’s ideology for the current condition of the economy.