Charleston, West Virginia (CNN) -– In an interview earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called for “a humble, grateful response” to the upcoming midterm elections.
McConnell admitted to the National Journal that the Republican brand isn’t exactly stellar and said his party must recognize that “we do not control the government and cannot control the government when the president holds the veto pen.”
But judging by his sharply partisan performance at a GOP event on Friday, McConnell is putting those warm sentiments on hold until after November 2.
The Republican leader offered a stinging critique of President Obama at a fundraiser for the West Virginia Republican Party, accusing the administration of “trying to turn us into a Western European country as rapidly as they can.”
“What we can fairly conclude, even before the votes are counted on November 2, is that America is not interested in becoming France,” McConnell told the audience.
He mocked Obama for claiming at an event in Seattle this week that that he was never able to properly sell his agenda to the American public because he was so busy concentrating on getting “the policy right.”
“This isn’t a sales pitch problem, it’s a substance problem,” McConnell quipped, after criticizing every major piece of legislation passed by Democrats over the past two years.
He reserved much of his scorn for a Democratic-backed cap-and-trade proposal that passed the House last year but never came up for a vote in the Senate, calling it a threat that “goes right to the heart of the economies of Kentucky and West Virginia.”
McConnell appeared with West Virginia GOP Senate nominee John Raese, currently battling Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin in a too-close-to-call race that will help determine which party controls the Senate.
“There is one candidate in this race that I guarantee you can be completely confident will go to Washington and help stop the Obama administration for the last two years of what I hope is his only term, and that is John Raese,” McConnell said.
He was careful, though, not to predict a GOP takeover of the Senate.
“We could have a really, really good day, a medium-sized good day, or just a good day,” McConnell said of Election Day. “I am going to be the leader of a larger number. The question is how many.”
Raese, appearing before a state party that has been out of power for much of the last century, offered a sports analogy, comparing a Senate win on Nov. 2 to the West Virginia University basketball team’s march to the Final Four last year.
A GOP victory in West Virginia “would register all across the United States,” Raese announced.
“We are in the position in West Virginia right now to go to the Final Four aren’t we?” he asked. “But this time, not fourth place. This time, first place. We win. You lose,” he said of the Democrats.
Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, the pro-Tea Party group, also spoke at the fundraising dinner in Charleston.