By Dylan T. Lovan
The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE - Democrat Dan Mongiardo attacked U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning as "out of touch" Friday, a day after Bunning said he hadn't heard of a recent national news story from Iraq involving a Kentucky soldier.
"The least we can expect from our U.S. Senator is that he knows what's going on," Mongiardo, a state senator, said during a rally in front of a veterans' memorial in downtown Louisville.
Bunning's campaign manager, David Young, said Mongiardo and Democratic Sen. John Kerry are "out of touch."
"Daniel Mongiardo supports John Kerry, who voted against funding to protect our troops in the war on terrorism," Young said.
"You just can't get any more out of touch than Kerry and Mongiardo."
In recent days, Bunning has accused his opponent of spreading false rumors questioning the senator's mental competency, but also has sought to assure voters that he is sharp and healthy.
Answering a reporter's question Thursday, he said he doesn't read newspapers and wasn't aware that a group of Army reservists had made national headlines when they refused an order to transport supplies from an air base to a city north of Baghdad.
One of the reservists, 22-year-old Justin Rogers, is from Louisville.
"I don't know anything about that," Bunning said after a speech before a Rotary club meeting in downtown Louisville.
Told that the story was broadcast on the national news this week, Bunning said he didn't see the report on Fox News, his preferred news outlet.
"Let me explain something: I don't watch the national news, and I don't read the paper. I haven't done that for the last six weeks. I watch Fox News to get my information," he said.
When asked if that made him out of touch with recent events, Bunning calmly replied, "Of course not."
"Why do you do that?" he asked.
"That's unfair. You know it is," Bunning said. "Of course I'm not out of touch."
The Hall of Fame former baseball pitcher added that he is "sharp, healthy, mentally awake and competent."
Some in the Army platoon that is part of the 343rd Quartermaster Company told relatives they refused to deliver tainted helicopter fuel because they would be traveling on a dangerous supply route without an armed escort.
The Army is investigating the incident.
Mongiardo, speaking in front of about 50 people Friday, said Bunning's comment that he wasn't aware of the Iraq story was a "stunning admission."
Bunning last week released letters from two doctors stating he is in "excellent health," but three days later the Courier-Journal of Louisville questioned whether he had a "serious health concern" in an editorial titled "Bunning's fitness."
'Challengers' to keep eye on voters
Guess who's back? Edwards, Cheney, Bush rally in Ohio
Despite suit, lawyer denied chance to vote
Veteran, novice face off in 53rd
Police investigate break-in at Bush campaign office
Butler challenger took 'appeal' to ballot box
Experience, GOP dominance at issue in county clerk race
'99 Drake levy push in question
Evendale officials ask for more taxes
Prosecutor's campaign new
Efficiency, access to data at issue in race for recorder
Debate stresses differences in deficit, Iraq, Medicaid
Supreme Court pits tried, true vs. fresh, new
Voter: No to Talawanda tax
Absentee requests increase
Actors, athletes add luster to House races
Students bring election to class
Secretary of state: Vote should be smooth
Mongiardo, Bunning camps trade barbs
Dems bet against Bunning
To vote for them, you'll need a pencil
Suspect in kids' killing asks to die
'Teardown' on the table for Blue Ash
Psychic to help in Oxford case
IN THE TRISTATE
Pair charged in '97 death of Ohio man
Alaskan schools, Princeton sharing
Police records join statewide network
Princeton High School plans musical events
Man guilty of shooting into cop's car
Public safety briefs
Local news briefs
Good Things Happening
Faith Matters: Lorene Wall still loves teaching kids
Robert Marrs was funny, sunny
Program shows car seat safety
Cov. students taste success
N. Ky. news briefs