Washington (CNN) - The Republicans got their "groove back" after the Democrats began to get "cracks in their foundation" following a year and a half of governing, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday in a highly-partisan speech at the Young Republicans Leadership Conference.
The Kentucky Republican said the "Democrats were flying high" in 2009 when President Obama was inaugurated and that "the American people were eager to see their plan for addressing the nation's problems."
Meanwhile, McConnell said his party was portrayed as "beaten down, demoralized, and despondent." He said Republicans "were more likely to be a late night punch line than a relevant part of Obama's Washington."
McConnell cited what he considered "cracks in [the Democrats'] foundation." He said the stimulus package was "shoved down the throats of the American people," the Democrats introduced a budget "that doubled the debt in 5 years and tripled it in 10," and also a health care bill, that "will bring us higher, not lower health care costs."
It's a message that Democrats disagree with. Speaking Thursday in Michigan, President Obama offered a preview of the Democratic message for the midterm election, saying it is "absolutely clear" the nation's economy is headed in the right direction, and that "the surest way out of the storms we've been in is to keep moving forward, not to go backward."
"There are some folks who want to go back - who think we should return to the policies that led to the recession," Obama said of Republican critics, accusing them of choosing political obstruction over working with Democrats for solutions.
But McConnell made the argument that the GOP began to rebound after losing the 2008 presidential election by looking outside Washington to find its voice.
"We shared your frustration. And we girded for the fight, confident that we had supporters behind us. We broke out of the Washington echo chamber and fought the government-driven solutions that Democrats were proposing. We got our groove back," said McConnell.
McConnell said today, just over a year and half after the Democrats took over Washington, "Americans have lost faith in the Democrat Leadership and in government period."
"We needed jobs, and they gave us a trillion dollar boondoggle they call a Stimulus. We needed lower health care costs, and we got a 2,000 page bill that's expected to increase them. We wanted to put an end the idea that some companies are too big to fail. Today they're trying to pass a bill that institutionalizes it. Arizona needed the federal government to secure its border. They got named in a federal lawsuit," said McConnell.