ABC's Michael Falcone reports:
What's in a name?
Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Democrat who on Monday announced she will challenge five-term Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, has sometimes made her seven-syllable, tongue-twister of a name a punch line of her campaign ads and speeches.
But less than 24-hours after Grimes's announcement, the McConnell campaign is turning the tables on her by asking in their first web video since she entered the race: "What rhymes with Alison Lundergan grimes?"
Chances are the 34-year-old Kentucky Secretary of State is not going to like the answers the McConnell campaign has come up with, which include: "Not ready for prime time," "Sticks to party line," and "Left wing mime."
The video, an upbeat remix of some of her campaign speeches, mocks Grimes's tendency to refer to herself in the third person. (It also features Grimes's disembodied head pasted on Ellen DeGeneres's body dancing with President Obama).
The nearly two-minute farce also echoes a television ad produced by her own campaign during her successful 2011 bid for secretary of state that featured her grandmothers, Elsie and Thelma. "This is our granddaughter, Alison Lundergan Grimes," the women say in the ad. "It's a long name." At the end of the commercial, Elsie asks: "What rhymes with Alison Lundergran Grimes?"
The race between Grimes and McConnell is expected to be one of the most expensive and most-watched on the 2014 playing field, and during her remarks on Monday, Grimes cast herself as an "underdog" candidate who thought long and hard about whether to tangle with McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, who will be seeking a sixth term.
"Make no mistake, members of the media, this due diligence was not reluctance," she said, "it was not hesitancy, but rather a deliberate gathering of all the necessary facts to make a decision that should not be taken lightly."
McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton sees it differently.
"Alison Lundergan Grimes spent months agonizing over whether she was interested in a Senate run, but after doing her 'due diligence,' she failed to prepare any materials or message to announce her campaign. She had no signs, no website, no speech, no policy positions, nothing," Benton said in a statement. "We, at Team Mitch, are nothing if not magnanimous, so decided to welcome her to the race with what we imagine her campaign theme song might be."
Indeed, as of Tuesday afternoon Grimes did not yet appear to have an official campaign website up and running. Two addresses - http://grimesforsenate.com/ and http://alisonforsenate.com/ - simply direct people to a generic e-mail address.
Nevertheless, Grimes's decision to run had many Democrats breathing a sigh of relief now that McConnell has a credible challenger. Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement on Monday that her candidacy instantly turned the race into a "tossup."
"Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular incumbent in the entire country," Cecil said. "He is a relic of the past and a symbol of everything that is wrong with Washington. Kentuckians want a change."