Bunning calls draw interest as election nears

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning offers a jovial "good morning everyone" before describing legislation he's pushing to help families of sick nuclear weapons workers to receive government benefits.

"Because of government bureaucrats," he charges, "our Cold War heroes are dying before their claims are processed, leaving their families with no compensation."

That's only the latest topic addressed by the northern Kentucky Republican in his weekly telephone news conferences with Kentucky
reporters. Bunning has discussed hundreds of issues in the Tuesday
morning chats that he has devoutly held since being elected to the Senate in 1998.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
The calls have become popular now that the 77-year-old sports icon faces potentially strong challengers in next year's election. Bunning spokesman Mike Reynard said he's turned away Washington newspapers and political blogs that have asked to be included alongside the regulars from Morehead, Bowling Green, Fort Mitchell,
Frankfort, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisville, Murray, Nicholasville, Owensboro and Paducah.

David Adams, a Kentucky political blogger who covers the teleconferences, said he's not surprised they've grown so popular.

"It's kinda like a box of chocolates," he said. "You never know what you're going to get. Jim Bunning makes news every time he

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