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Accusations Fly After McConnell Strategy Tape Surfaces

An audio recording has surfaced of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and some of his campaign aides seeming to discuss whether they would use actress Ashley Judd's past bouts with depression against her if she challenged McConnell in 2014.

As our colleagues at WFPL explain, the liberal leaning news magazine Mother Jones "obtained audio of a private meeting between McConnell and aides where much of the conversation focused on potential Democratic opponents." The magazine reports that a McConnell aide is heard saying of Judd:

"This sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. ... I mean it's been documented."

Mother Jones notes that "in her 2011 memoirs, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, Judd recounts her past bouts with depression, noting that she had considered suicide as a sixth-grader and that as an adult she had checked into a rehab center for depression."

The actress recently announced that she would not seek the Democratic nomination and would not mount a challenge to McConnell, the Senate's minority leader.

Mother Jones' David Corn, who broke the news about the McConnell recordings, is also the reporter who brought Republican nominee Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comments to light during the 2012 presidential campaign. He writes that McConnell's aides "raised the possibility of doing more than calling attention to Judd's well-known history; they discussed how they could make her seem a true weirdo."

WFPL asked McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton about the recordings. The station reports Benton responded with a statement that didn't address the content, but did attack the leak:

"It is Watergate-style bugging. We always knew the far left would stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but even I am shocked by these Nixonian tactics."

Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. McConnell Campaign Contacts The FBI:

"Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign has contacted the FBI after a recording of a private strategy meeting was published Tuesday in a liberal publication," Fox News reports. It adds that "McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said Tuesday that the senator's office is 'working with the FBI' on the issue and has notified the U.S. attorney in Louisiana at the FBI's request."

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