Democrats skipping top political event

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Top Democrats will skip Kentucky's premier political event this weekend, leaving no one to defend against Republican criticism of President Barack Obama's policies.

Gov. Steve Beshear is out of the country on an economic development mission that will cause him to miss the always raucous political picnic in the tiny western Kentucky town of Fancy Farm. Other Democratic leaders have cited an assortment of reasons, including birthday and anniversary parties, for their absences.

Mark Wilson, an organizer of the annual get-together that has drawn politicians from across Kentucky for more than 130 years, said he's disappointed by the absences.

For generations of politicians, the Fancy Farm picnic has been an annual rite that serves as the unofficial kickoff of general election season.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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