Elaine Chao

9:55 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell's Wife Slams Progress Kentucky in First TV Ad

Credit YouTube.com

In the first TV ad of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, Republican Mitch McConnell's wife jabs a liberal super PAC for attacking her ethnicity.

As WFPL reported last month, Progress Kentucky sent out a number of messages via Twitter attacking former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

The national backlash forced the group to eventually apologize, and in the 30-second spot Chao says that represents the overall tone of the campaign.

"You've seen the ads attacking my husband.  As Mitch McConnell's wife, I have come to expect them," Chao says in the ad.  "Now, far left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity, even attacking Mitch's patriotism because he's married to me. That's how low some people will stoop."


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3:58 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Democratic Supporters Pulling Back From Progress Kentucky

Credit progresskentucky.com

The liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky is moving forward with a planned fundraiser despite a national backlash over controversial attacks on the ethnicity of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell's wife.

However, many Democratic lawmakers who were once behind the group are either pulling their support or questioning if they will continue to back them.

WFPL first reported on Progress's online messages accusing former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, of moving American jobs to China. The group also Tweeted that Chao's "Chinese (money)" was buying state elections.

Progress executive director Shawn Reilly apologized to Chao late Tuesday evening, and told WFPL the group is going ahead with its first fundraiser scheduled for March 7. The event lists Democratic city officials and state lawmakers as hosts, but at least two are pulling their support altogether.

"Throughout my career I've always stood strong against discrimination. I'm appalled at any person or group who unleash attacks based on religion, ethnics, sexual orientation or gender," says Democratic state Rep. Joni Jenkins of Louisville. "These statements are not only unacceptable they are a distraction from the real issues that face Kentuckians. My name will be taken off the fundraiser for Progress Kentucky."

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8:51 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Progress Kentucky Apologizes to Mitch McConnell's Wife Over 'Chinese' Twitter Messages

Credit progresskentucky.com

Hours after being roundly condemned by Democrats and Republicans, a liberal super PAC is apologizing to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's wife for a series of controversial Twitter messages.

The group's Tweets accused former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, of moving American jobs to China and that her "Chinese (money)" was buying state elections.

Critics slammed the comments as racially offensive, and a national backlash against the group was ignited.

Progress Kentucky executive director Shawn Reilly says they remain dedicated to educating voters about McConnell's record, but their messages "included an inappropriate comment on the ethnicity" of the former labor secretary.

"We apologize to the secretary for that unnecessary comment and have deleted the tweets in question. In addition, we have put a review process in place to ensure tweets and other social media communications from Progress Kentucky are reviewed and approved prior to posting," he says.

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1:03 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Liberal Super PAC Goes After Mitch McConnell's 'Chinese' Wife

Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao
Credit The Heritage Foundation

UPDATE: Progress Kentucky has issued an apology over the incident.

A Democratic group is under sharp criticism for controversial online messages about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife.

For months, the liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky has attacked McConnell and held demonstrations at his offices and home.

Recently, the group turned its attention to McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

In a Feb. 14 Twitter message, Progress says: "This woman has the ear of (Sen. McConnell)—she's his wife. May explain why your job moved to China!"

The Tweet links to a website run by conspiracy theorist and radio host Jeff Rense, alleging Chao, who was born in Taiwan, discriminated against American workers during her tenure.

Progress Kentucky spokesman Curtis Morrison says the group's leaders do not review every Tweet and initially denied any had mentioned Chao superficially. But he later told WFPL that a group volunteer had sent out the messages targeting the former secretary.

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