Dukeghazi fallout: Mitch McConnell cancels on Matt Jones, gets ribbed by Jimmy Fallon (UPDATE)

Mitch Duke 2

Sen. Mitch McConnell has been dead silent when it comes to basketball over the last two days, and considering his daylong rake-in-the-face exhibition on Tuesday, we’ll give that campaign strategy a grade of A.

Then again, plenty of other people are continuing to talk about McConnell’s Duke/Randle flub on Tuesday, including Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon in last night’s monologue (at 2:27 in clip below):

Pretty funny, but not quite David Schankula of B&P’s creation this morning, picking up on Jon Stewart’s new #MitchTake suggestion to replace #McConnelling (Laettner trigger warning on this video, UK fans):

Then again, McConnell’s campaign has even been able to screw up the “shut your mouth” strategy since Tuesday’s Dukeghazi travesty. McConnell’s campaign told Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones — Lord of the most popular UK call-in show and website — that he would appear on his 10-noon radio show yesterday, but bailed late the night before due to a “scheduling conflict.”

“Mitch McConnell was going to come on the show today, I think he wanted to sort of do his mea culpa to the fan base, and I was excited to have him on,” said Jones on Wednesday’s broadcast. “He ended up canceling last night. He’s now canceled on us three or four times. So, you know, whatever.”

KSR’s website put up a rather brutal post on Tuesday — titled “Mitch McConnell celebrates Duke 2010 title win in new ad” — once the video was exposed, which amounted for a large chunk of the now over 74,000 views the video has received on YouTube.

LEO spoke with Matt Jones on Wednesday, who told us that while it would have been smart for McConnell to do damage control with UK fans on his program, he wasn’t going to flame him over the cancellation, “because that makes me look like Bill O’Reilly, that people must come on my show so I’m so important.”

LEO asked Jones what kind of impact this could have on McConnell with UK fan voters, as some have speculated that this is completely trivial and means nothing, while others say that a significant number of fans could take out their frustrations on McConnell in the ballot box — as “crazy” as that might sound.

“I think it’s somewhere in the middle,” said Jones. “The people who think it’s nothing, that’s not correct. I think it’s something. But I don’t think it has cost him the race. I think he was saved by two things. One, nothing came of the Randle (eligibility) thing. If anything had come of it, he would have been dead. Second, I do think he was helped by the fact that Mayor Fischer screwed up too yesterday (poking his finger in the eye of UK fans). Because a lot of fans think the Louisville mayor’s screw up was worse than his.”

“But I do think it matters. Is it going to be a huge difference? I don’t know. I think what will happen is that for people who already think he’s out of touch, this just confirms it.”

Jones says that while the inclusion of Duke’s 2010 title celebration was the most baffling/hilarious screw up of McConnell on Tuesday, the use of Julius Randle in the replacement video is what might upset UK fans the most.

“I think the Randle incident was probably a bigger deal than the Duke thing,” said Jones. “The Duke thing was a better story, but Kentucky fans are smart. As soon as they did that, every Kentucky fan immediately knew that was a violation. They knew that and were like, ‘Are you really so dumb that you made the school have to report a violation?’ The week of the U of L game, the compliance compartment spent the week talking to the NCAA.”

***** UPDATE *****

McConnell’s GOP primary opponent Matt Bevin has been completely absent from the TV airwaves only had limited TV ad time over the past few weeks with 15-second spots, but he has his first 30-second TV ad going up during the big UK-UL game tomorrow night (a $40,000 ad buy, according to the campaign)). And…. he went there:


I don’t know what to say, other than “You people are crazy!”

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