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June 13, 2014 3:18 PM Sad Thad

By Ed Kilgore

I mentioned this at Lunch Buffet, but you really ought to watch yourself as six-term U.S. Senator Thad Cochran—on Fox News, no less—admits he didn’t know about Eric Cantor’s defeat after a 48-hour period when it’s pretty much all that anyone in American politics talked about:

You can almost feel the presence of off-camera Cochran staffers freaking out here, or perhaps strangling whoever was responsible for The Boss’ daily briefing and figured he didn’t have to be told about Cantor. This is not what you want when you’re locked in an uphill battle to save your four-decade career in DC against an opponent who suggests you’re not exactly hip and with-it these days.

If this is a problem (I’m guessing Team Cochran will spin it as their guy being so totally focused on Mississippi and its needs that he doesn’t bother to keep up with what’s going way over in Virginia), it’s hard to know what to say about this Cochran utterance, reported without comment by the Hattiesburg American:

Cochran was campaigning Tuesday in McDaniel’s stronghold of the Pine Belt, which gave McDaniel, who lives in nearby Ellisville, large margins in last week’s vote. But Cochran in a speech at Forrest General said his family has strong ties to the area, and he grew up visiting his father’s family often in nearby Richton. He joked that he grew up playing in the country, picking pecans and doing “all kinds of indecent things with animals” in the area.

A joke, eh? I suspect the business groups pouring money into ol’ Thad’s rescue effort aren’t laughing.

UPDATE: Turns out the “indecent things with animals” line wasn’t the only “joke” Cochran was telling this week. Now his staff claims his professed ignorance about the Cantor loss was also a “joke.” Funny guy, that Thad Cochran.

UPDATE II: The Daily Beast’s Ben Jacobs backs up the Cochran campaign’s claims that the senator had earlier answered questions about the Cantor loss, and was being not out-of-it but “cranky” or “peevish” in pretending not to know about it. I’m not sure how much better this explanation ultimately is for Cochran.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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