McConnell Campaign's Huge Duke Whopper

Mitch McConnell's Coakley-esque UK/Duke boo-boo: Will it stick?

Alex Wong/Getty

Mitch McConnell is out with a new ad, celebrating America and denouncing socialism and highlighting the variouis glorious aspects of Kentucky life and heritage. Quick images flash by: A young Cassius Clay showing off his gold medal (a man McConnell surely came to despise in the 1960s). A thoroughbred horse stampeding across the Churchill Downs turn. A Louisville hoopster slamming one home. And two UK Wildcats embracing as they win what was evidently a big game, cuz there are streamers in the background.

Problem: They weren't UK Wildcats.

Bigger problem: They were Duke Blue Devils.

Yep. Apparently so. The image is on screen for a second, probably less. The eye can make out two players in white uniforms with blue trim. And while it's kinda hard to say in less than a second, a screen shot leaves no doubt about it. The white uni features a wide, royal blue stripe down the side of the jersey. As any college hoops fan knows, that's Dook.

A man named Joe Sonka first caught it and tweeted it. Then Web Pro News picked it up, id'ing the two Blue Devils as Jon Scheyer and Lance Thomas, embracing after Duke beat Butler to win the 2010 National Championship. Then HuffPo. And then Kentucky Sports Radio. The ad was yanked.

With UK alive and fighting its way through the tournament (and Louisville too for that matter), hoops fever is high in Kentucky right now, making this the worst possible time for such an error. Can it stick? One thinks immediately of course of Martha Coakley's boner about Curt Schilling back in 2010.

Of course, Coakley spoke off the cuff and had no one else to blame. McConnell can presumably fob this off on his Beltway-brained consultants. But Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes can surely counter that it all just proves how Washington Mitch has become. Surely he reviews all his ads before they go up.

The real problem here, as compared to how damaging Coakley's remark was to her, is that McConnell isn't a woman. If he were, he'd never live this down. But maybe Grimes can drive it home. Check out this for uncanny prescience: At an early February event, she was extolling both of the state's teams and went into a riff about how whether you're Wildcat or Cardinal, surely all could agree that "when it comes to the job that Mitch McConnell has failed to do over the past 29 years, let's just face it. He is Duke."

Here's what we've learned so far about McConnell this campaign. 1) He made an idiot of himself hauling out that gun at CPAC, which he held as if contained the germs of leprosy. 2) When he tried to smile for the camera, he looks like your wicked Uncle Ernie. 3) He can't tell a Kentucky uniform from a Duke uniform. Great going!

UPDATE: Joe Sonka, of course, is news editor of LEO Weekly in Louisville and is also the reporter Mitch tired to have arrested last week for covering his press conference. So while I was correct that he is indeed "a man," he's not just any man.