February 28th, 2010
10:25 AM ET
10 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. jerseyfinfan

    Pelosi, there's no way you could lose any more seats than to have you campaign nationally and be the face of your party.

    February 28, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. jerseyfinfan

    You don't need to raise the tax rate to increase income to the government as the Reagan tax cuts of the 80s proved.

    And don't say they didn't...compare the REVENUES in 1981 compared to 1989. Economic growth is the ticket to prosperity, not increasing taxes, which kills private sector jobs (or maybe that's what the Dems want.)

    February 28, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. barking republican ankle biters

    The dreamers on the right will be crying in their beer for years to come,we havent come this far for nothing.Lets end it for the rightwing hate spewers once and for all.

    February 28, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. Darrell Burks

    he is such an idiot –

    February 28, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Anthony

    Where are all the jobs the republican tax cuts for the wealthy created, which they RAMMED down our throats through with reconciliation????? With a tie breaking vote by chenney Hmmmm trickled on economics didnt work.

    February 28, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Mr Joshua

    Hold on for a minute.

    No one is saying no to health care enough of the talking points. America has a big problem. We (Both parties) Have spent way way too much. Why not start with the ideas that are free? Like allowing Insurance to be bought across atate lines and some tort reform and addressing Fraud? Give it a few years and let's see what happens?

    February 28, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Charles

    ". A lot of people, principally driven by this outrageous federal debt that we have,"

    Yeah one that you created along with President Bush, Mitch you presided over the largest expansion of the federal government ever. TSA and Homeland Security. and your expansion of the medicare drug benefit, which benefited the drug companies more than it did the seniors. My parents are in the hole after four months.
    you had no regard for the debt when you cut taxes on the rich and then started two wars, one of which you did nothing for eight years except give billions to Private Contractors.

    February 28, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Carole

    Love the show now with Ms. Crowley!!!! Hope she keeps up the good fair and impartial interviewing. Great questions directed at both sides.

    I think Senator McConnell who went to a fundraiser saying 'Health Care is going to be good for Republican elections in 2010' pretty much should show people what side the Republicans are on. Insurance industry.

    Republicans did not have many stories from constituents down on their luck.........are all their constituents wealthy and healthy?

    February 28, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. andrewstl

    wow this guy is as ridiculous as he looks.

    i hope he crawsl into a grave and buries himself

    February 28, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Rob in CA.

    The only thing this hypocrite can be optomistic about is another kickback from the health insurance companies! These sociopaths are the ones that got us in this mess. It takes alot of chutzpah to think our memories are that shory. Bring it home, Obama!

    February 28, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Saul - Virginia Independent

    i personally blame Americans for all this nosense and political posturing in Washington. Only in America will you have elected officials say no to any every legislation and offer no better alternatives for two years but yet be treated as heroes and rewarded during election time.
    I think both parties are equally responsible for the gridlock in washington, and voting out democrats for republicans is insane.
    I was a little optimistic when the Tea party started because i thought it was the beginning of a thirdindependent party. But come to realised that it was just a part of the republican party in sheep clothing. If you think it is bad now, wait till we more ideological right wing majorities in the house and senate, it will be a huge disaster!

    February 28, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. patriot

    Hey Mitch, ever hear of a guy by the name of Jim Bunning?

    Yup, conservatives really want to help the "American People." Senator Bunning (R-Kentucky) wants to stop extending unemployment benefits because it violates his conservative principles.

    As an independent, you might be surprised by November's outcome.

    February 28, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. Richard in Austin

    jerseyfinfan – You don't need to raise the tax rate to increase income to the government as the Reagan tax cuts of the 80s proved.And don't say they didn't...compare the REVENUES in 1981 compared to 1989. Economic growth is the ticket to prosperity, not increasing taxes, which kills private sector jobs (or maybe that's what the Dems want.)

    I love the Reagan lovers perspective of what happened in the 80's. What really happened is that spiraling inflation was finally brought under control, which Reagan had nothing to do with, even though he took credit for it in in 84 bid for re-election. Then Fed Chairman, Paul Volker released the interest rates, business and consumers started to purchace good again, and tax revenues increased. Reagan's tax cuts had been in place for over a year, and were doing nothing to revive the economy.

    February 28, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. barking republican ankle biters

    We dont forget who ran the bus into the lake or who attacked us on their watch.The republicans have many years of waiting to make a return if ever.hahaha

    February 28, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Issano

    The Democrats should kick Kent Conrad out of the party....let him go and become a Republican, which is what he is.

    February 28, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Issano

    Real americans know the Republi(cons)cans are the party of noooooooooo, and only wishes to derail the president. The Democrats will prevail in November and beyond.

    February 28, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. Mesa Mick

    This guy like most all rethuglicants so easily crosses the line from optimism to delusion.

    That comes from the fact that so many uniformed voters voted against their own personal interests by being suckered with "Family Values", flag wavin' and bible thumpin'. These jackbooted brown shirts think they can still get away with it. And the bat-crap crazies living in "small town America" because they can't cope with the 21st century give them reason to think they can...

    February 28, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Socrates in Leominster

    Wake up America!!!! Do you know why these greedy and selfish republicans, who said that they believe in God, are against any idea President Obama has..? It is because if they would cooperate, thinking about the American people first instead of his pockets and their Masters (the insurance companies and others) then they would be helping the Democrats to show they can pass good laws and be concerned about the American people. Republicans want this President to fail so they can say that they have good ideas.. but.. when they were more than 7 years following Bush and Cheney.. they didn't do anything to help the American people.
    Republican politicians are PARASITES.. they are selfish and greed and hateful.

    February 28, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Monster Zero

    GI Joe February 28th, 2010 10:43 am ET

    I think old turtle face needs to think again. The democrats and independents sit and watch and learn – we don't need to be loud and boisterous and obnoxious and spread hate and fear.

    Deal with it Mr. Old White Republican.
    As Barrack Hussein Obama, our first BLACK President goes down in flames as another Democratic failure due to his entitlement mentality and oblivious actions of spending other peoples money, it becomes readily apparent who the real racists are in America... Deal with that, I am sorry for our Nation it isn't working out the way Hollywood planned!

    February 28, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Al

    The Republican party has ALWAYS been big business people. I am 81+ and have seen both sides. If America had always been governed by the GOP the middle class would NEVER have been created. Unions created the middle class, consquently everyone else benefited.

    February 28, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Jim

    GOP supporters/conservatives spout that the Democrats want to kill private sector jobs. I'm talking to you jerseyfinfan.

    Can you explain why the democrats want MORE unemployment? How does it help them. And please don't give me unsupported and conclusory GOP talking points like, "because they want bigger government."

    Seriously, why do you say the Democrats want to destroy jobs?

    February 28, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. CHIPS

    Ram Dems Ram, Ram Dems Ram and we will Ram the Dems in to office in Nov. 2010.

    February 28, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Lamp Post

    Republicanism, that is characterized as the party of the privileged few, is in its dieing throes. The people who are headed toward winding up extinct are the dinosaurs like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. True, 2010 might be tough. But what we have heard over the last year is that Republicans have no ideas on how to deal with the health care problem. Instead they are spreading hysterical propaganda to scare people into defeating this. They have no qualms about dragging the whole country down with them. And citizens will realize this very soon.is. Old dogs like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are on their way out.

    February 28, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Hugo

    Donkey Party February 28th, 2010 10:49 am ET

    Some folks are critical of me when I say we need to exterminate Conservatism and it's rabid following. When the Right-wing plays politics by refusing to extend help to the unemployed, when they make it easier for corporations to fund their brand of candidates and distorted policies, and when they deny Americans health-care that leads to the deaths of 45,000 annually, It is clearly evident that the Right-wing hates middle and lower-class America. They want me dead, why wouldn't I want the same of them?

    I can only say that you should educate yourself further on these issues before espousing a call for death to those that disagree with your politics, I believe a guy named Adolf Hitler said the same type of things. I would also suggest that you research the facts a little instead of spewing the same old leftist lies, like the 45,000 a year death statistic before you use it as a base for argument. That conclusion is based on a very skewed and obtuse statistical analysis where the only outcome is based on death of the participants and whether they had insurance at the time of their death. Extending unemployment does NOTHING to create COMMERCE, Commerce creates jobs, not government. You have to make money to tax to support an over-burdensome bureaucracy, you are now seeing America upside down. It is just like the top heavy corporations, doomed to fail due to too many hands in the cauffers!

    February 28, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Lexie27

    By voting Republican, Americans are proving how easily we forget and how easily we are fooled. We, afterall, voted George W. in twice......we got what we vote for. Once again we'll have to learn the hard way. We truly are a nation of fools.

    February 28, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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