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FANCY FARM, Ky. (WDRB) -- Political introductions, partisan jabs, pulled pork and a disappearing act highlighted this year's Fancy Farm picnic.
At its core, Fancy Farm is a fundraising picnic for St. Jerome Catholic Church, with fun and food. But the sharpest knives come out on the stage, when political candidates signal the official kickoff to the fall campaign.
Democratic Senate front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes has portrayed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as being a chief Republican obstructionist as the rivals shared the spotlight at Kentucky's premier political event.
"If the doctors told Senator McConnell he had a kidney stone, he would refuse to pass it," Grimes told the crowd of political supporters and foes.
McConnell, who brought bus loads of supporters wearing red "Team Mitch" t-shirts, touted his Senate leadership and ignored Grimes (never mentioning her by name) -- instead aiming his criticism at President Barack Obama. Both candidates in next year's Senate race spoke at the Fancy Farm picnic on Saturday in western Kentucky.
McConnell told a raucous crowd that President Obama's healthcare law is a "disaster" and accused the Democratic president of waging war on coal. He took aim at Harry Reid instead of Grimes.
"Do you want the Senate run by a Nevada yes man for Barack Obama or the guy you are looking at?" McConnell asked the crowd.
Grimes, the state's Secretary of State, accused McConnell of playing a key role in the "disease of dysfunction" in Washington.
But McConnell ducked out of the picnic before his potential GOP rival, Matt Bevin, took the stand, prompting Bevin to give a speech asking "Where's Mitch?"
Others, like State Auditor Adam Edelen, took advantage of the Kentucky U.S. Senator's early departure to say: "We have two types of Senators in Kentucky, one who is out of time, the other who is out of town."
As big as Fancy Farm was this year, next year may be even bigger, with the Senate race entering the home stretch and the governor's race at the starting gate.