McConnell, Grimes spar at Kentucky farm forum

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What was supposed to be a forum on agriculture turned into a political slugfest as the candidates in a key Senate race traded verbal blows on everything from attendance in committee meetings to allegations of improper campaign finance.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, questioned Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's effectiveness. She highlighted McConnell's prolonged absence from Agriculture Committee meetings and blamed him for a lapse in the federal farm bill that provided crop insurance for farmers.

During the candidates' first joint public appearance, McConnell said his role as the Republican Senate leader caused him to miss some meetings and said the farm bill he helped negotiate saved crop insurance for Kentucky's tobacco farmers. He then ridiculed Grimes for getting a good deal by renting a campaign bus from her father's company.

Grimes called the bus criticism a desperate attack.