American Crossroads targets Ashley Judd

The conservative super PAC American Crossroads fired a pre-emptive shot on Wednesday at Hollywood star Ashley Judd, who has been openly flirting with a challenge to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

By the group’s lavish spending standards in the 2012 campaign, it’s a tiny buy—$10,000 of digital advertising, enough to run for two weeks in Kentucky—but media interest in the possibility that Judd, a Democrat, might take on McConnell virtually guarantees broad exposure (yes, including here).

As with virtually all Crossroads ads, the chief weapon here is humor. It mockingly describes Judd as “an independent voice...for Obama” and “a leader who knows how to follow,” and it shows her proudly declaring “Tennessee is home.” Another segment truncates a speech she gave denouncing the coal-mining practice of mountain-top removal, showing her saying, “I don’t know a lot of hillbillies who golf.” (That speech was poorly received in Kentucky, but not because of her “hillbillies” comment—because coal is such a major industry in the state. In that same speech, she declared, “I love, and am proud of, being a hillbilly.”)

Does this mean that Judd, who lived most of her childhood years in Kentucky and is an avid University of Kentucky basketball fan, poses a threat to McConnell? He largely dismissed that notion in an exclusive interview with Yahoo News last week.