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politics lead

August 8th, 2013
05:24 PM ET

Secret telephone recording roils McConnell campaign

Washington (CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, stressed his loyalty to the Kentucky Republican Thursday just hours after a recording surfaced of Benton expressing half-hearted support for McConnell.

Benton made the off-message comments in a January telephone conversation with conservative activist Dennis Fusaro, a former colleague from Texas Rep. Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign.

"Between you and me I'm sort of holding my nose for two years, because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit for Rand [Paul] in '16," Benton said in the recording. "That's my long vision."

Benton did not know Fusaro was recording the conversation, which was posted on the libertarian website EconomicPolicyJournal.com. CNN has authenticated the recording.

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