OPINION: Distance from Obama is a smart move by Grimes

It’s no secret President Obama isn’t the most popular person in Kentucky, and Democratic Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is doing everything possible to distance herself from the Commander in Chief.

Her latest move came yesterday when Grimes urged President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a project the administration has been battling for years due to environmental concerns.

“The administration should rule now and approve the project,” said Grimes in a statement on Wednesday. “Putting Americans back to work in good-paying jobs that strengthen the middle class is my top priority and it should be the federal government’s as well.”

However, this isn’t the first way Grimes has put ground between herself and the Obama Administration. Last November, she showed her support for gun owner rights by posting this tweet, inviting current Senator Mitch McConnell to go shoot with her.

Grimes has also earned the support of former President Bill Clinton, who carried the state in the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections and is still widely popular in the Commonwealth.

The Kentucky Secretary of State has also been less voluble on more liberal issues such as marriage equality, a smart move for an upcoming Democrat looking to win a Senate seat in a traditionally red state.

Still, McConnell has launched several ad campaigns linking Lundergan Grimes to Obama, which has kept an unpopular minority leader in the running for a tight race. The latest New York Times poll has McConnell leading Grimes by 1%, a toss up in perhaps the most important political race of the year.