(CBS News) Actress and Democrat Ashley Judd hasn't decided if she'll run for Republican Mitch McConnell's Senate seat in Kentucky. But a conservative super PAC isn't waiting for her answer.
Karl Rove's American Crossroads posted an online ad on Wednesday targeting Judd. The web-only ad covers a number of hot-button issues, according to CBS News political director John Dickerson. He said, "From 'liberal' to Obamacare to Nancy Pelosi, this ad does a number of things: one, conservatives complain about this media working against them. This uses the media in their cause, this ad's going to get a lot of coverage, even though it's just a web ad, because she's a celebrity. So for American Crossroads it improves their reputation. There's a button to donate at the end of the ad -- it might bring in some money.
"But then also for Mitch McConnell, the Republican senator in Kentucky, this is a preemptive strike to knock back a possible opponent who would have -- create a stir in the race, maybe makes her think twice about running," he said.
A run against Judd wouldn't be advantageous for McConnell, Dickerson said. "There's an old cliche: you run unopposed or you run scared," he said. "So why is he taking on Ashley Judd? He may be able to win against her, but it would be an expensive and distracting race, and very unpredictable. They want to keep that from happening because Republicans have a chance to pick up the Senate with a lot of vulnerable Democratic candidates, so this kind of clears her."
Dickerson added, "In terms of a Republican candidate who might run against McConnell, there's been a little rumblings of that. Nothing more than a web ad from the right attacking McConnell for negotiating with Obama on the debt limit deal. He's also hired Rand Paul's campaign manager in Kentucky. ... So McConnell loves politics. He's not letting anything go to chance here. On the larger point of Karl Rove, yes, there's a question about how to get candidates who can actually win in these races. Republicans feel like they have control of the Senate if they'd run smarter races."
For John Dickerson's full analysis, watch the video in the player above.