September 8th, 2010
05:59 PM ET
8 years ago

McConnell: GOP will be 'very competitive' in November

 McConnell predicts that the GOP will make gains in the November midterm elections.

McConnell predicts that the GOP will make gains in the November midterm elections.

(CNN) – Minority leader Mitch McConnell is cautiously optimistic that he will lead a "larger group" than he does now after the November midterm elections, but stopped short of saying the Republicans will definitely win back the majority in an interview that will air on CNN's John King, USA at 7 p.m. EST.

"I think we can safely say is the wind is at our back and we're going to be very, very competitive," McConnell told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

"Number one, we will not lose a single Republican incumbent senator in November. Number two, we have five open Republican seats, including here in Kentucky. We will win all those. And, we are competitive in the following places where there are Democratic Senators: California, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Dakota, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and probably in Connecticut and maybe West Virginia. …And we will win a number of them, and we will be a more influential group in the next congress," McConnell predicted.

But McConnell acknowledged that the makeup of the Republican Party in the next Congress will be diverse, especially if many of the conservative-leaning Tea Party candidates who have won state primaries make it to Washington.

Many Tea Party candidates – including Rand Paul of McConnell's home state of Kentucky – have built their campaigns on distancing themselves from Washington, and their own party's establishment. But that sets up potential dissonance among Republicans in the next Congress.

When asked by King in an interview if he would vote for McConnell for leader, Alaska Senate nominee Joe Miller replied "let's just wait and see what happens." Miller beat the party-backed incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary last month.

McConnell is taking a diplomatic approach to his party's newest members, telling King that the current Republican Party already has a broad "ideological diversity," and that any Republican gains would be positive.

"Look, I'm for Joe Miller whether he's for me or not. I already have enough votes to be reelected leader, and I will be, and we'll work with him no matter what his view may be," McConnell said.

McConnell also said that while he isn't satisfied with the economic proposals Obama introduced this week, he is willing to work with the President.

"What I'm hoping is that he becomes a born-again moderate, moves to the center as he campaigned in 2008, and if he does that, we'd be happy to meet him there."

In a speech in Cleveland, Ohio Wednesday, Obama outlined a new $350 billion plan to boost the economy. The proposal includes $200 billion in tax cuts for businesses to purchase new equipment and write off 100 percent of new investments through the end of 2011.

"We're always happy to talk to him about what can be done. It sounds to be like it's sort of Election Eve conversion here. We'll take a look at what he's got to offer but I think a lot better way to go would not be raising taxes in the middle of what most Americans think is a recession," McConnnell said.

Obama also announced in the speech that he plans to stand by his plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for people making over $250,000, while extending the cuts for those making less, a move that Republicans have fiercely opposed.

Nonetheless, McConnell suggested that his working relationship with the Obama Administration might improve after the November elections.

"Look, I don't want the president to fail. I want the president to change. He needs to move dramatically away from this leftward drift that tried to turn America into a western European-type country, and come back to the middle," McConnell said. "There are a number of things that we can do where there are similar interests. It's just that he hasn't chosen to do any of those things in his first two years.

Filed under: 2010 • JKUSA • John King USA • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Shelly

    Which sane and decent American will vote for the Republican party? THEY are the ones who drove us into this ditch!!! THEY spent 8 years destroying this country, and others. They ran out the back door in 2008 leaving this country with a 1.3 trillion deficit and 800,000 job loss each month. And today the Republicans have stalled the tax cut for businesses. A few weeks ago they blocked jobless benefits. THEY only want power to take this country BACK--WARDS!!!!!

    September 8, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  2. pat

    the republicans had since January 2009 to work w/ the president. They had chosen not to. If you go back and listen to the ideas being floated about solutions, both sides were agreeing on most items w/ a few changes. Somehow, though, when it came to putting your money where your mouth is they backed away from even their own ideas. That was the starting point of the divide that can't be put back in the bottle.

    The sad part about all the political battles is that the American people are the ones who suffered, not the politicians.

    September 8, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Ted

    Hey McConnell – the wind at your back is from you Repukelicans passing gas every time you say NO to everything Obama wants to do. I bet you miss being able to say YES which is the only thing you did when Bush was in office and started all the wars, deregulated everything and put the economy in a ditch.

    September 8, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    The 2010 campaign has officially started today according to Kaine. It's now Democrats versus Republicans versus Others(Tea Party?). Of course certain leaders of their particular party are going to say they are winning. I wouldn't put too much faith in those polls everybody seems to be worshipping these days. In the end, we will know who will prevail after the general election and not before. I believe their will be many surprises in store. The Democrats are just getting started and the Republicans are still stuck on their 'tired' old rhetoric and nothing much else. Boehner said he'll have a more substantiative plan by the end of the month. Well, I guess we'll have to wait.

    September 8, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Justin

    It is difficult to work with a party that tells you No all the time.

    September 8, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Last Week CNN and the Rest of The Media Called For A Republican "Tsunami" because Gallup Poll gave Them a 10 Point Lead . . . Now The Lead is . . .


    -Sounds of Media Crickets_

    Whatsamatter CNN, new polling doesn't fit your Narrative?

    September 8, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Keith in Austin

    Extend the Bush tax cuts or the economy and unemployment will worsen.

    September 8, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Naqib

    40 seats in the house
    10 seats in the senate

    Yup.... I'd call that VERY, VERY, VERY, Competitive

    September 8, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Hunter of the lib hunter

    I think democrats will turn that smug turtle face to a big frown in November.

    September 8, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Hard to fathom how you can be "more influential" than using your 41 votes to shut down the government in 2007, 2008 and 2010 and channeling Goebles in one of the most effective misinformation/demagoguery/lie campaigns yet seen on this planet during 2009. Hard to fathom how you're doing any good being that "influential" in that manner, but it's still influence.

    September 8, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Keep on talking and acting arrogant Mitch. Golly gee I can't wait to hear what Mitch and Boener will do if they take over Congress again. zzzzzz

    September 8, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. Tom

    Is "The Turtle" predicting a "Slam Dunk"?
    I think he and Boner need to tone it back a bit.
    It ain't over until it's over. Being from Kentucky, he should recognize it's the horse ahead at the wire; not at the half.

    September 8, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. Former Republican, now an Independent

    I would sure like to see this do nothing senator out of Washington!

    September 8, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  14. NC Ex-Pub

    John, can you not get any one but antique Re-Pubs on your show? I watched it once... no more!

    September 8, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. King

    Mr mccolloney you need to keep staying out of the spot light like youve been doing. You are one of the sorriest senator that ever held office. For two years you stood on the side line and watch the democrats struggled putting back an econmy you guys distroyed, and when they asked for help you rallied your compadres to not only not help them but critisize them as well. You sir is not a leader but a divider, your not a problem solver but an obstructinist. Youll come up with a plan and as soon as the dems adapts to it youll say no.

    September 8, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. vic

    He won’t be Majority leaders Tea party candidates won’t vote for him

    September 8, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. BJ in NC

    This guy talks out of both sides of his mouth. Lies, lies, lies. What does he mean that his relationship with President Obama "might" improve after November??? Give me a man with a strong defined chin everytime. Most of the Republicans are certainly lacking that right now as well as an independent mind to think what is best for this country. President Obama has done everything to bring them on board with him to get this country back on track and none of them have operated with their constituents that sent them there to work for the good of the people.

    September 8, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. vic

    I am watching his interview he has to stop dreaming try to save senate seat from Kentucky

    September 8, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  19. Anne P CA

    Very embarrassing for us Californians. Whitman and Fiorina would further crush this state. We know Fiorina's history as a failed and fired CEO of a once great company. Whitman, raised two loser sons and is trying to buy her way into office. Very sad indeed. I know a lot of folks, former HP folks like me, who give thumbs down to both.

    September 8, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. D. Bunker

    Putting aside the historical fact that the party out of power almost always gains seats in these elections, the GOBP is hardly "competitive" as that would imply a set of ideas to contrast with the Dems. Instead, all they have are propaganda, lies and the same old failed agenda of deregulation and tax cuts for the ultra rich. It is the all out backing of their corporate master and their "liberal media" enablers that is creating the "competition", not ideas.

    September 8, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Peter s

    "McConnell: GOP will be 'very competitive' in November"
    Like you have been proposing ideas!!! unless we the American people are stupid enough not to realize that, under your watch our country lost its competitive advantage through offshoring our jobs! oops I almost forget about the kick backs you Republicans we receiving as political donations by the same organizations which offshored our jobs and yet you have the guts of asking where are the jobs? who are you kidding with? sorry sir, I forgot about the power of the subconscious minds of those programmed to think in terms of "us" and "them"

    September 8, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. CBR

    I am sure the GOP will be very competitive this during this election season. The question is which Republicans will show up – the TEA Party candidates with their own agenda or members of the GOP.
    Anyone can run for office and be elected. However, not everyone can be a team player. It will be interesting to see Mitch McConnell and John Boehner trying to bring these very independent people into their fold. There just might be three parties, D,R. and TEA Party.

    September 8, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Clwyd

    Mitch the republicans may be competitive, but you still sound like some backwoods hillbilly who can't talk educated or intelligently. Sad how the Party of No has to pick such poor choices to lead. Remember that come November voters! then again we have Boehner (Boner) who sadly represents the Party of No and he has no personality

    September 8, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. 8 Years of having a drunken driver at the wheel put America in the ditch, why would working Americans return the keys to the crowd drinking at the same bar?

    "election eve conversion"?

    NOW, this turtle gnome states he does not want President Obama to "fail"?

    Election eve conversion, indeed.

    September 8, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  25. faux news lamebrain

    Mitch....give me ONE good idea your party has come up with???????

    Dismantle the GOP!!!!!

    September 8, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
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