February 28th, 2010
10:25 AM ET
11 years ago

McConnell on midterms: 'Obviously, we're optimistic'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/28/art.mitch0228.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. McConnell pointed to recent GOP victories in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts as reasons for optimism about his party's prospects in November."]
Washington (CNN) – The top Republican in the Senate suggested Sunday that his party will likely face a favorable political environment in November’s midterm elections.

“Obviously we’re optimistic,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union when asked whether he thought his party would pick up Senate seats later this year. “I think the elections in Virginia and New Jersey and particularly Massachusetts were encouraging. But, in the meantime, we need to be doing the people’s business and not trying to predict what the environment may be in November.

“If the election were today, we’d have a very good day,” said McConnell.

Like many leading Republicans in Congress have done recently, McConnell also sought to embrace the Tea Partiers, a conservative grassroots movement that has sometimes clashed with the GOP in the last year.

Asked by CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley whether the movement helps Republicans in every case, McConnell responded: “It’s an indication of the energy out in the country. A lot of people, principally driven by this outrageous federal debt that we have, are energized and want to change the country. Most of them are going to be participating in Republican primaries.

“I think that energy will be beneficial to us,” the Kentucky Republican added.

The Tea Party movement marked its first anniversary on Saturday; on that date last year a number of protests against the expanding reach of the federal government where held across the country. As the movement has grown over the past year, both the GOP and the conservative activists who are the driving force behind the movement have struggled to define their relationship with one another, with the GOP becoming increasingly concerned that the Tea Party movement could hurt Republican candidates in November if Tea Partiers formed a third party or decided to back independent candidates.

Earlier on State of the Union, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted that Democrats would retain the majority in her chamber.

“I'm not yielding one grain of sand, we're fighting for every seat,” Pelosi said about the midterms.

“We've been working hard, now we have to go out. We said we were going to do certain things, we did them. Now we have to go talk about what we have done,” Pelosi said about how her party plans to handle the increasingly tough political environment it is likely to face later this year.

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

Filed under: 2010 • Mitch McConnell • Popular Posts • Senate • State of the Union • Tea Party movement
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. terry

    Well Duh!!!! Why not tell us something every idiot in the country hasn't already figured out??

    February 28, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. SoSueMe

    I would expect nothing less than the constant screeching from you silly-socialists on the Communist News Network website. Democrats are toast if they don’t firmly and soundly reject the blatant power grabs of Obama-care and cap-n-tax foisted upon them and the American people by their out-of-touch leadership (in case you haven’t noticed, they are already deserting like rats from the sinking ship Obama).. Americans are FINALLY realizing that NEITHER political party is putting the country first

    Now, Mitch McConnell might be correct – that republicans will make gains in the upcoming mid-terms – but, because of the Tea Party, republicans as well as democrats had better begin to obey the Constitution and the will of the people or they will become as irrelevant as the current crop of whining socialists currently infecting our senate and house of representatives.

    I live in Kentucky and we look forward to electing Rand Paul as our next Senator. We also look forward to removing Mitch McConnell, and ALL career politicians from office.

    Tea Party – ignore us at your peril

    February 28, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Derrick

    I hate to be bearer of bad news for republicans but here is a wakeup call. During the presidential election there were millions of new voters registered and prepared to make their vote heard in Nov 08. These new voters are people who generally would not be concerned about voting save for a fresh new face running for the presidency. These newly registered voters who now no and understand that their vote makes a difference has now prepared to take their place in electoral process in our nation. Here is what they are not concerned about, polls, polls smolls, we are not concerned with polls, we spend too much time concerned about our health, jobs and our families to have enough time to canvass the internet being concerned about polls. So, the quotes by republicans that the American people do not want the health care reform that they continually say "no" could not be farthest from the truth. What I will tell you instead is that the same newly registered voters that now understands that their voice now makes a difference will be heard at the elections this year. It will say that my vote is for the nominee who has had "my" best interest regardless of what polls have said.

    February 28, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. Ryan

    "“Obviously we’re optimistic,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union..."

    You need to be as optimistic as your Democratic counterparts...and by that, I mean you better be optimistic that you will still have a job there after midterm elections. You are ALL put on notice in my eyes...as do many other Americans...

    February 28, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. Texas Jack

    I wish for a complete clean sweep of all incumbents.

    February 28, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. frank nitti

    BUT, the election IS NOT today and come November, the American people will realize that YOU – the party of NO – was the cause of the delay on HEALTH CARE and it is YOU who continuously go against whatever President Obama is trying to do to bring the economy back.------ah yes the old party of NO excuse, well when congress and the prez are trying to spend us into oblivion some one has to say NO. and pray tell what has the prez done to stimulate the economy....get us deeper in debt and unemployment keeps rising. yes he has certainly help us out.......

    February 28, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Sheila

    Unhappy voters are unhappy with BOTH parties. Good thing the Libertarian party is the biggest third party, and they attract many Independents. Their ranks will be swelling this next election, that's for sure.

    February 28, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. lstro

    The Republican Party is 95% the cause of why people are unhappy with government. Let us not forget our problems started with them. Two Wars, a huge recession, bank failures, stock market crash, people losing their homes, unemployment, america hatred around the world, Yep, it happened on their watch. Their answer to this has been voting No on every new legislation, spreading lies from pulling the plug on grandmon, government control of banks to claims of socialism. Why would any reasonable thinking American support a party that not only got us in this mess but is doing nothing to help us get out of it.

    Quite frankly in my opinion voting Republican means you're either misinformed, you dislike the President and refuse to put these feelings aside or you simply don't care about doing what was and still is necessary to put this country back on its feet. We need both parties to work together to get out of this huge mess. But, if one is saying No all the time then we as voters need to do the right thing and vote them out of office.

    February 28, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Sue

    The 2010 elections are going to be a shocker--as never in the history of our electionscountry, will we see as many Democrats sent to the unemployment lines in one election.

    Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have destroyed the Democratic Party.

    They are now trying to force out all of the moderate, sane, blue dog Democratic politicians–to replace them with the liberal, socialists/marxists from the loony left.

    I am an Independent. However, even moderate Dems do not like what they are seeing/hearing now. My family voted Democrat their entire lives, and even they are now frightened about what is happening in our country. These are NOT JFK Democrats in office–these are socialists/marxists/communists (pick your descriptive term).

    In the 2010 and 2012 elections-–moderate Dems might not vote for Republicans-–but they WILL stay home.

    The majority of Independents do NOT support liberal, loony left policies. Therefore, they will be voting WITH the Republicans AGAINST the Democrats. The Independents are the largest voting block in the country, and you do NOT win elections without the Independents.

    The Democrats are going to get clobbered in the 2010 elections.

    February 28, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Meagan

    I can hardly wait for the few Americans that have health insurance to evidently loose it. It's just a matter of time when the whole nation will feel what the unfortunate are feeling now. It's just a matter of time............

    February 28, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. repntenn

    The upcoming elections should be interesting. We've all heard the noise coming from the Tea Party, but we haven't heard from the true Independents out there. Those are the people, both Democrats and Republicans, who have left their respective parties because they felt those parties moved to far to the wings for their comfort. The Tea Party is not a true measure of those people, in fact, looking at the numbers in a CNN poll, the Tea Party made no impact on those people whatsoever.

    Historically, the party that's not in power picks up seats in off year elections. Then again, that doesn't mean a defeat for the president in 2012, either.

    February 28, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. LetsBeCivil

    Well, Mr. McConnell, I will not be voting Republican in the next election. For over 35 years, I have worked on Republican campaigns for candidates from local to State to national offices including candidates for the Senate. Almost all were successful. I am fed up with the negativity. The Republican Party has morphed into something that I find despicable. Truth no longer matters. For example when I asked about absolutely false information being disseminated, I was told "yes" it is false. From top to bottom, a sense of entitlement pervades the party. Negative campaigning and the politics of destruction are all I hear anymore. I am flooded with viral emails that are totally false. I receive surveys that are not valid surveys at all. They are written to assure that predetermined answers are returned. In the last week, I received two surveys that were made to look like official census documents. And, the list goes on, and on, and on.

    February 28, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. UK gal

    What is Mitch McConnell's approval rating in KY? I'm curious to see if all those unemployed, uninsured Kentuckians actually support him.

    He put his own constituents in the mud(and he's very good at keeping us there).

    Mitch has been a HUGE part of big government for decades- it time to vote him out!!

    February 28, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Republicans must be on crack, I haven't heard one Republican talking about the peoples business, not now and certainly not during the 8 years Bush was in office.

    February 28, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    I suspect most of those that complain about the Rebulicans being cheap or mean spirited do not pay much in the way of federal taxation. People who earn under $50,000 per year only pay about 4% of the total federal income tax. It is the wealthy, the top 10% of tax returns that pay about 70% of the federal income tax. When one adds in the tax their corporations pay and the employer social security tax, the percentage of federal income tax they pay is higher.

    In other more socialized countries the people of lesser means pay a much higher percentage of their income to their fedeal governments. A lot of the complainers leaving comments here are getting a free ride.

    Republicans are only pointing out that if it becomes counter productive for the wealthy to remain in this country, they may take their wealth and go elsewhere. Further, as a country we can only borrow so much, then countries and investors will not loan us any more. This is the situation we are in now. Sen Bunning only held up the unemployment bill because no other senator wanted to make budgetary cuts or increase taxes to pay for the unemployment taxes.

    Regardless of what these complainers say the Republicans have many detailed plans to improve health care. Democrats and Republicans have been fiscally irresponsible for over 40 years, but now the Democrats are going wacko. Many people see this and that is why change will come in November if Democrats and the Pres do not change their ways. Spending is way out of control.

    February 28, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. d from philly

    you can't beat something with nothing elections are won one 2 items
    1) unhappy with incumbents..ok the gop may have an edge here
    2) can you do a better job/what is your plan...blocking everything obama does is good in theory but leads to a stalled government which hurts everyone WHAT IS THE GOP PLAN BESIDES OBSTRUCTION!!!

    February 28, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Lynne in CA

    The American people are not as stupid as the establishment rethug party seems to think. We will not forget Bunning's partisan politics denying the unemployed an extension of their benefits and COBRA. We will not forget the obstructionist, Party of No's fear and smear campaigns regarding social legislation. And we certainly won't forget it was the Bush/Cheney administration that nearly sent our economy off the cliff along with their legacy of selling America off piece by piece to the Chinese and Saudis. We also will not forget that 9/11 happened on the Rethug watch. Party of No, Party of "I've Got Mine, Who Gives a **** About Anyone Else, Party of Politics Before People. Just say No to the Gradiose Obstructionist Psychos

    February 28, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Rose

    I do believe that the Dems are in for a big upset in Nov. but it may not be a majority take over for the Repubs. I would like to see a more balanced House and Senate, one party rule is never a good thing no matter which side has the power. Look what has happened this year because of one party rule. Everyone who keeps saying the Repubs are the party of NO are wrong, the Dems could have passed anything they wanted to over the past year and haven't been able to do so. They are the ones responsible for not passing the HCR, not the GOP.

    February 28, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Frank

    Yep! Another clown. They always think the American People are stupid. There is time to play politics and campaign etc But the Republican have not stopped campaigning to govern since the 2008 elections. From birthers, communists and all other gabbage they have supported against the Obama administration, it is obvious they are not interested in the interest of Middle or Lower Americans. Shame on you all. We're not that supid. Come November, incumbents who are not serving the people's interest will go away, regardless of party labels.

    February 28, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. sue

    all incumbents should be voted out . so don't get to smug , McMconnell, your party number is up to

    February 28, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. manuallabor

    The American people should be tar and feathering BOTH parties, what they have done to and NOT for this country is disgusting. they put PARTY and PERSONAL gain before ANYTHING else,,,REPRESENTING the people DOES NOT EXIST.To call ANY of them REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE is an out right lie.They need to be referred to as to what they REALLY ARE....LOOTERS IN SUITS.

    February 28, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Zach K

    According to McConnell, you do not let your party work together with other people, you complain about bipartisanship, and you want to see the country fail.

    If the GOP gets control of both houses, they will continue to do the same thing. McConnell, stop acting like a child.

    February 28, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Anthony B

    After 8 year with Bush and no change...you want change now. Give us a break!!! The Republicans sure tried to improve Healthcare, LOL. Look at the tea partiers...loud talk with no substance.

    February 28, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    The old saying that:
    "A bird in the hand is worth more that 2 in the bush."

    This means that once the initial steam is blown off, come election time in November, the Democrats will have something in the hand (a passed health care package covering the majority of Americans) where as the Republicans will have NOTHING and have done NOTHING.

    Voters will see this, and the election tide will change!
    I assure you all that people will vote for the party that gets things done.

    February 28, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    The politicians think that we the people are stupid. They can say and do whatever they like and we the people still vote for them. Let not forget the people has the power and not the politicians
    We can show them by vote them out.

    February 28, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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