McConnell Has Contentious Interview With Kentucky Sports Radio
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the host of Kentucky Sports Radio had a series of sharp exchanges Wednesday in a broadcast interview that tackled topics ranging from same-sex marriage to global climate change.
McConnell called in to Kentucky Sports Radio and spoke for over 10 minutes with host Matt Jones, who has made repeated pleas for an interview. McConnell's Democratic opponent in the November election, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, spoke with Jones and KSR in September.
Jones is known for his dedication to Kentucky Wildcats athletics, but he's also spoken previously of his support for liberal causes, which McConnell alluded to at the onset of the interview. Their exchange began with a discussion of sports, but quickly veered into a conversation about political issues.
“Do you believe, sir, in global warming?” Jones asked.
McConnell answered: “What I have said repeatedly is I’m not a scientist, but what I can tell you is even if you thought that was important—and there’s some scientists that do, and some scientists who don’t—but even if you thought that was important, the United States doing this by itself is going to have zero impact—”
“So, do you—but senator, that’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. Do you believe in global warming?”
“No it isn’t a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question," McConnell said. "It is not a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. I am not a scientist. I know there are scientist who think it’s a problem, and scientists who think it isn’t a problem. And I know that George Will wrote recently that back in the ’70s we thought we were heading into the ice age. So there are differences of opinion among scientists. My job is to try to protect jobs in Kentucky—now. Not speculate about science in the future.”
When Grimes appeared on Jones’ show, she was asked the same question:
“Do you believe in climate change?”
“I do. You know, Mitch McConnell and I differ on this. He still wants to argue with the scientists. I do believe it exists, but I think that we have to address, especially, leaving this world in a better place in a balanced manner. We’ve got to keep the jobs that we have here in this state, especially our good coal jobs, fight for them. But we have to diversify our economies in Eastern and Western Kentucky.”
There are scientists who don’t believe climate change is a problem, but an overwhelming majority (97 percent) of climate scientists agree that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity are changing the climate. China recently surpassed the United States in carbon dioxide emissions, but an estimate of 2013 emissions put the U.S. at the second highest carbon emissions per capita (after Australia), and estimated it contributes about 15 percent of global emissions—not an insignificant amount.
McConnell also declined Wednesday to explain his position on same-sex marriage.
This week, the Supreme Court refused to hear any petitions this term on the same-sex marriage question, leading to appeals court rulings against marriage bans to take effect.
Jones asked McConnell whether same-sex marriage should be a right in the U.S.
McConnell responded: “I can tell you my opinion is that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The courts are dealing with this issue and you’re citing things that are the result of court decisions. I’m giving you my opinion, and my opinion is marriage should be between one man or one woman.”
Jones pressed further, asking McConnell to elaborate on how he came about his opinion. McConnell only restated that he believed marriage should be between "one man and one woman."
In her September appearance on Jones' show, Grimes responded that she supported same-sex marriage rights.
“I respect churches and their teachings," Grimes told Jones, "and I don’t expect any church to adhere to something that’s not in keeping with their teachings, but my husband and I … we’ve been married for eight years, and I think that others across this nation and here in Kentucky deserve that same ability to make that same commitment.”
A federal judge struck down Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban earlier this year, but the state appealed the case. Oral arguments were held in August, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has not issued an opinion on the same-sex marriage case from Kentucky or other states.
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