McConnell: 2012 will be a 'referendum'
October 23rd, 2011
10:56 AM ET
3 years ago

McConnell: 2012 will be a 'referendum'

(CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell disagreed Sunday with Vice President Joe Biden’s hypothesis that the 2012 election will be a choice between Democrats and Republicans, and instead labeled it a “referendum” on President Barack Obama.

"The vice president said this election will be a choice. It will be a referendum, a referendum on the president and his performance," McConnell said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "Their policies are in place and they are demonstrably not working."

Appearing earlier on the same program, Biden said voters in the next election will see a clear distinction between policies of Democrats and those of Republicans who, he said, are advocating for the same proposals that contributed to the economic decline.

However, McConnell said the White House is looking for someone to blame to score political points when, in his opinion, the current administration is culpable.

The lack of a public signing ceremony for the trade agreements that recently passed in Congress with bipartisan support was evidence, McConnell said, that the White House is "ashamed to mention any of the things that they do with Republicans because it steps on their storyline."

"Their storyline is that there must be some villain out there who's keeping this administration from succeeding," the Kentucky senator told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

On Thursday, the White House canceled a previously scheduled signing ceremony and remarks by the president but still allowed photographers to be present at the signings on Friday. A White House official said it "was simply a schedule change" and that the president has touted the passage of the agreements, including in Detroit the day after they passed.

The official also said the president's announcement on withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq was added to his schedule Friday.

- CNN Correspondent Athena Jones contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Mitch McConnell • President Obama • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The beauty of wingnuts is that they never see the landslide onto their heads coming.

    October 23, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. MAC

    For all you democrats America needs to remeber your party has had the spending purse since 2006 with a democrat Senate and House. Frank and Dodd protected Fannie and Freddie who caused the housing bubble and the poor economy. What Obama and the House and Senatae democrats do not realize is that private sector jobs pay the taxes to run the government and that the debt will eventually need to be paid back. I guess they think screw our kids and grandkids and future generations, they can pay for our welfare state!

    October 23, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Lynn

    Does McConnell EVER answer a question that is asked directly of him? He has his "talking points" and "key words and phrases", and whether it fits with the query or not, that is what he will say. The man is the most tiresome politician to watch of anyone!

    October 23, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Mindie in Indie

    For the first time in a number of years I am very proud of my fellow Americans who have woken up to the fact that the GOP represents the rich and corporate and the Democratic Party fights for the common struggling American. We can all see the difference now. GOP=Cheers Death, Boos US Serviceman, tax break after tax break for rich to create jobs for Struggling Americans yet won't even discuss JOBS FOR AMERICANS, Your GOP Congress Rick, won't even talk about a jobs bill. And yet Obama is the bad guy?

    The GOP blaming Obama and ridiculous denials of what they have done, will be their final demise in 2012. We see who/what the GOP represents.

    October 23, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. Sevag

    “Their policies are in place and they are demonstrably not working.”...they're not working because McConnell has obstructed and done anything within his powers to block progress, and anything that would better the economy. Why? Because he's ON THE RECORD as saying his #1 priority is to make President Obama a one term President. McConnell is a cancer to the Senate and our America.

    October 23, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    If President Obama was a Republican and on the Republican ticket and had the accomplishments President Obama has right now – Republicans will sing to the tune of:

    ♫Hail, Hail, the gang's all here♫
    We stand behind you Obama
    And backing you is our karma

    ♫Yes, yes – bin Laden is dead♫
    We praise Obama for the victory
    He has the “greatest” foreign policies

    ♫Obama, Obama – Yes We Can!♫
    Back you up on your Jobs Bill
    Because it’s something we need to fulfill

    Yes, if President Obama was a Republican, the song will be sung totally different!!! There is NOTHING left but the economy and jobs and the REAL REPUBLICANS are trying very hard to prevent that from getting better……………THINK ABOUT IT!!!

    Obama – the Democrat – 2012!!

    October 23, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. emma

    Senator, your broad, sweeping generalizations are not convincing.

    October 23, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. sensible

    It will be a referendum.....on the no-jobs republican house of reps.
    I thought they were put in office to bring jobs, not light bulbs!!!

    October 23, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Annie, Atlanta

    Hopefully it will be a referendum on his party. Does he honestly think we're buying it when he stands on the floor of the sentate and insists that the President come back to DC and work out bipartisan agreements with the GOP. Maybe his constituents are that stupid, but we're not all his constitutents. This man is a disgrace. He and his party exhibit no common decency nor any statesmanship. The political discourse is toxic, we're all divided, because the GOP controls the messaging and the message is they want the President to fail, no matter who they tear apart in the process. Yes, McConell, we're starting to open our eyes. And with any luck, the referendum will be on your party, the guys who are trying to destroy us in order to win the next election, and the next, and so on.

    October 23, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. a in austin

    Wasn't the "referendum" for 2010 JOBS? So the vote went republican. Where are the jobs? McConnell? The gotp are playing with everyday peoples lives. I don't think everyday people will turn the referendum now to Obama. It has been the party of no to have the credit standard for the US downgraded, to stall for jobs, etc. Vote them out in 2012 including Mcconnell.

    October 23, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    @Rick McDaniel – do yourself a favor, and diversify your news sources. Don't you understand these are old worn out talking points that just don't stand up to scrutiny. Aren't you guys at least creative enough to come up with something new every once in a while, at least? Please!

    October 23, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. terje

    McConnell ignores one key piece of reality when he claims “Their policies are in place and they are demonstrably not working.”

    The simple fact is that, because of Republican obstructionism, President Obama hasn't been able to put his policies in place. Instead McConnell has used minority rule in the Senate, coupled with extremist minority who have taken control of the Republican party in the House, to block significant portions of the President's policies.

    McConnell pledged that he would use every tool he had to block the President's agenda, and that his motivation for doing so was to prevent Obama from being re-elected. He and his lock-step allies in the Senate have made good on that threat.

    Whether it is jobs legislation, tax policy, appropriations, judicial appointments, environmental policies, deficit reduction, or even the full enactment of health financing reform, the Republicans have stood in the way of allowing Obama to govern the way he seeks to. While that is their right under the constitutional system, it also means that they can't accurately claim that the President's policies aren't working, because the President's policies haven't been implemented.

    If McConnell wants to make the 2012 campaign a referendum on the success or failure of Obama's policies, he and Boehner and their tea party allies need to put an end to their destructive blockade of any proposal that has Obama's name on it (including many that were originally Republican proposals, but which they now oppose because the President favours them). Allow Obama's policies to actually be enacted, and then go out and conduct a campaign claiming they aren't working – and see who the public agrees with.

    Because of their heavy-handed uncooperative tactics, the Republicans in the House and Senate are every bit as responsible for the country's situation as the President is. And McConnell dearly prays that the election doesn't become a referendum on their willingness to sabotage the nation's well being for their hopes of partisan political gain.

    October 23, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. Jeetu

    We will see if the republican party prevails in the house or the senate. The referendum will be on the house and thes senate as these have done nothing to help the general public in USA. Republicans have been totally onstreuctionist and hence have blocked all actions that would result in economy beocming a little better and help those on need. Republicans are more worried about thelping their richest friends (as if they would crubble if they pay 5.6% more tax than now (which is lowest in decades)) at the cost of poor dying and hurting. So, yes, 2012 could be a referendum, but in all likelihood, it will be one on the house and senate republcans.

    Oh! one more thing: republicans lie all the time and then blame others. Stop these techniques that take America down and lower its values.

    October 23, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. no1atall

    Man are you repubs gonna be shocked and awed after this election. You really believe the average voter is going to vote to terminate democracy and accept corporate dictatorship. Yeah; good luck with that.

    October 23, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. steven harnack

    No Mitch not "must be some villain out there", there ARE villains out there and they said 2 1/2 years ago that the country came a distant second or not at all and that they were going to focus on destroying the President of the United States of America.

    October 23, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. John

    The President performance Is because the Republican have not even try he help this man at all. They are willing to let the American people America keep going the way It Is right now ,just so they can try and make the president a one term president. This come right out of Mitch McConnell mouth himself and more than Once. This mean the Republican and the Tea Party care more about there Party than they do than the American People or America. They do Protect the Rich and big Business , and they don't worry about the rest of us. So If It come down to who I rather run this Country a Republican Or a Democrats. It would be a Democrats. The Republican all ready prove they know how to destroy this Country and I'M not give them another chance to make It worse.

    October 23, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Free Texas

    Mitch – Responding to the survey indicating that small biz is rather complaining about Poor sales, not Taxes or Regulations, says poor sales is because of unemployment. Well Mitch, with the Jobs bill, won't sales then improve as people get jobs and take care of that concern?
    Won't small biz benefit from improved infrastructure to run their operations? You want the middle class and below to pay for those indisputably needed improvements for you?
    Mitch claims 300 thousand small biz would be catastrophically affected by higher taxes. The taxes are in proportion to success; the ones with less success will be proportionally fine.

    October 23, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Amy

    I'll be VOTING AGAINST REPUBLICANS IN 2012............Mitch doesn't seem to realize teachers, police, firefighters, and the hard working middle class ARE JOBS.............the Republicans matra.......if it lines the pockets of our wealthy donors we are all in for it...........if it doesn't FURTHER ADVANTAGE our wealthy donors........we don't recognize it exists!

    MITCH...........the surprise in 2012 is going to be the U.S. citizens VOTING AGAINST REPUBICANS!

    October 23, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    well let's see now so far the American people have been in favor of
    closing corporate tax loopholes
    raising tax rates on the wealthy
    many divisions of the Obama jobs bill including putting teachers, first responders, policeman back to work
    and now
    ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home
    ALL OF WHICH THE GOP IS AGAINST..with the latter one about Iraq really taking the cake.
    Ol' Mitch and his cronies are in a bubble when it comes to doing the will of the American people. Hopefully many of them will be in the unemployment line come 2013.

    October 23, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. BJ Bell

    If you're rich - vote Republican, if you're a member of the middle classs - vote Democrat, the choices have never been more clear. The Repulicans aren't interested in helping create jobs - they're just interested in defeating President Obama so they'll "Stonewall" any attempts to create jobs never mind that millions are out of work.

    October 23, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. BJ Bell

    McConnell looks like the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz", at least the Scarecrow finally "Got a brain".

    October 23, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Gloria in NW

    However the vote turns out, it will only be legitimate if GOP attempts to suppress voters' rights can be stopped. Look it up. They are attempting in many state to limit access to the ballot box by people they don't like - the poor, the old, and people of color. Also, we should be raising more of a ruckus about voting machines, some of which can be easily hacked. The fix may be in, and we will be too late to stop it if we do not wake up.

    October 23, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    This creep wants it to be a referendum on the president, but that is not going to happen. Voters know the Republicans are only for the rich. The Tea Party has told small businesses not to hire to further damage the economy with the hopes of defeating Obama. What a pathetic bunch of losers with McConnell being up to his neck in destroying America.

    October 23, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Katy

    I intend to vote for our brilliant President, Barack Obama. Why? Because I am not stupid like poor Rick. The GOP will turn us into a third world country, with no middle class. No unions to protect our teachers, police, firemen, etc. And anyone who buys what McConnell is selling (unless of course they are making in access of $200,000 a year) is just plain dumb.

    October 23, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Canadian Jim

    I thought 2008 was a referendum, a referendum the REpublican party lost big time – but did they then bow to the wishes of the American people? No, they waged a war of "No." No to anything that was on the table that the majority of American people wanted. No to anything proposed by Obama, no to anything proposed by the Democrats. I don't think Republicans understand the words, referendum, democracy, or patriotism. They regularly routed for America to fail big time, so that they could blame it on Obama. That shows no respect for the results of a democrcy, a referendum, nor is it patriotis – they reveal themselves to be self-serving hypocrits

    October 23, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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