Kentucky fans are crying foul over a campaign ad run by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who is running for re-election.
At first glance the youtube video seemed like any other typical political ad. After phrases like “a nation built on principles” and “constructed on values”, a montage of footage features proud Americans, farmers tilling fields, the American flag fluttering in the wind and Senator McConnell hugging supporters.
The scuttlebutt is over what happens in the video at 1:09 and lasts for less than a second, but that blip has gone viral. It was supposed to show the Kentucky Wildcats winning the NCAA Championship in 2012 and followed the phrase “rebuilding America begins in Kentucky.” Instead, confetti flies as Duke Teammates hug after their 2010 Championship win.
McConnell’s spokesperson Allison Moore told WUKY, the campaign was “horrified by the error.” Team McConnell quickly tried to re-edit the ad that was endorsed by McConnell and paid for by the McConnell Senate Committee. It was finally removed from youtube, but not before the error had already spread on-line.
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell’s likely opponent in the upcoming Senate race tweeted “KY, as your next Senator, I promise to never glorify a Duke championship in a campaign ad like @TeamMitch.” Grimes herself has gotten flack for picking Wichita State over Kentucky in her NCAA bracket.
We also asked McConell's spokesperson if his camp had gotten NCAA approval to air the basketball footage. Moore said she would get back with us. The updated ad was soon pulled and we learned the University of Kentucky had sent a cease and desist letter. A statement from UK read that "Although the use of the student-athlete's image in the advertisement is not permissible, because it was done without the knowledge or permission of the university or the student athlete, it is not an NCAA violation."
A second release by Moore apologized for the usage of the material and stated that they had also reached out to the University of Louisville.
View the video by clicking link to Joe Sonka's youtube page below.