Politics can be a dirty business, which Ashley Judd no doubt knows from experience.
While the 44-year-old actress and activist decided not to run for U.S. Senate in her native Kentucky, it didn't stop her would-be potential opponent's camp from brainstorming ways to drag her name through the mud if she did in fact seek office.
Less than two weeks after the "Missing" star announced she wouldn't be making a bid for senate – choosing instead to keep her responsibilities "focused on my family" – political website Mother Jones released a recording of Judd's would-be opponent Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's team discussing how to discredit her in the political arena by calling into question her mental health and religious beliefs.
"She's clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced," a McConnell aide is heard saying on the recording. "I mean, it's been documented. Jesse [Benton, McConnell's campaign manager] can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she's suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the '90s."
One aide also said Judd is "critical ... of traditional Christianity," noting, "She sort of views it as sort of a vestige of patriarchy. She says Christianity gives a God like a man, presented and discussed exclusively with male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power, the intention to dominate even if that intention is nowhere visible."
While the aides seemed to enjoy discussing their plan to discredit the star – they laughed on several occasions during the recording, according to Mother Jones – Judd didn't find it funny at all.
"This is yet another example of the politics of personal destruction that embody Mitch McConnell and are pervasive in Washington DC," a rep for Judd said in a statement to omg!. "We expected nothing less from Mitch McConnell and his camp than to take a personal struggle such as depression, which many Americans cope with on a daily basis, and turn it into a laughing matter. Every day it becomes clearer how much we need change in Washington from this kind of rhetoric and actions.”
The recordings – and how they were obtained – are now under investigation by the FBI. McConnell, who didn't deny that his aides were plotting to discredit Judd, claims that his campaign headquarters was bugged by a left-wing political group in Kentucky.
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