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. Ann

    This guy is such a joke. Old white Repugs needs to go and Blue dawg Dems......Same old talking points day after day. If I hear them say one more time that this is what the America people wants them to do is to start over with HCR I'm gonna puke...I'm one of the American people and none and I mean NONE of them speak for me. If they would they would pass Universal health care. So don't try to speak for us, you don't have a friggin clue what we want or need because we are not your white rich country club elite crowd, or big corporate buddies (bankers, insurance exec, CEO's). So, get a clue, Mitch and go back to Kentucky and crawl into of those abandoned coal mines and STAY there.

    February 28, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. PAUL

    George Bush and his Republican thugs got us down to about the level of a snake's belly. Voting Republican ought to bring us down to the snake pit itself. Shame on us.

    February 28, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. Mollie

    Look at him, smug as a bug!

    February 28, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Minesh

    Hate mongers are at it again with no coherent policy ideas!

    What is wrong with taking one step at a time like Tort reform and allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines?

    Next – let organizations like National Federation of Independent Businesses form a common pool (like the bankrupting government employee unions) so small businesses can buy insurance at a better price for their employees?

    None of this will cost the government anything.

    February 28, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. Sam in Texas

    Mitch believes he is hearing Americans say that they want the current health care bill "shelved" and for Congress to start all over again on a new bill–HMMMMM–LET'S SEE–how many more years will it then take to achieve meaningful health care reform, insurance reform, and the possibility of health insurance coverage for millions of Americans who don't have any now and who must depend on "free" governmental health care benefits at hospital emergency rooms all across this country that does nothing more than drive up local taxes–come on Mitch–read these comments that are being posted

    February 28, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |

    Rush told all the republicans to vote against any thing that president obama wants. lemmings.

    February 28, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. j

    I'm optimistic that most of the country will see through the Republican agenda and vote Progressive. Kick the stick in the mud, obstructionist Republicans and Conservatives out of office.


    February 28, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Wes410

    This "massive national debt" we have is thanks to republican budgets, not democrats. Obama's budgets have only been in effect for a few months. This is simply how it works. If republicans want to insist that the American people are incapable of understanding logic, then they are the ones who will suffer the consequences come November.

    February 28, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. T'SAH from Virginia

    How many times '...let's start over with a blank piece of paper..." was said during the Health Care SUMMIT!!!

    Do you think the RepubliCAN'Ts got together beforehand and agreed on driving that message over and over again – hoping it would get through that they REALLY want to pass Health Care Reform???? Of course they did!!!

    The ONLY reason why they want to start over – even though a lot of what they want is already in the bill – is because they want to SELL to their constituents – that they LIED to for so long – that it was THEM who turned the bill around by starting over and it would be THEM that REALLY got the bill passed!!! Case and POINT!!!

    The American people will realize that when the DUST from the RepubliCAN'T’s mouth had settled on the floor – they will SEE clear and realize that it was more about OBSTRUCTING Health Care Reform then finding SOLUTIONS and passing it!!! Yes We Can!!

    February 28, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. AP in Illinois

    stormerF February 28th, 2010 10:40 am ET How will an American Tax payer,Vote for a Politican who supports unfair advantage for some states over others. How will you vote for a politican that has to use bribery to get votes for a health care bill,that is suppose to be so great?...

    The above statement is a lie of omission. No one here can tell me with a straight face or without lying that the Republicans have not done the same thing. Only when the Democrats engage in horse trading (as our founders intended) the right wing propaganda machine kicks into gear and calls it 'bribery.' This entire argument is intellectually dishonest.

    February 28, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Jim

    For those touting that allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines, it sounds better in theory that it would in practice. In reality, insurance companies will gravitate to the state with the lowest and fewest regulations on how they do business, the coverage they provide, and the rates they charge. And states will pander to the insurance companies by lowering restrictions and regulations to get the insurance companies to move there and pay taxes there. Insurance companies will not be bound by whatever protections your own state might provide its residents.

    Then, the rest of the country will be stuck with health insurance based on the state law that allows the most ways insurance companies can raise rates, exclude people, and drop coverage when people get sick.

    Cross-state competition could work, but it takes more than just opening the doors and trusting that insurance companies will do the right thing for people rather than themselves and their bonuses.

    February 28, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Minnesota gal

    I hope chinless is the first to go.

    February 28, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Sue

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

    Look at Pennsylvania for example.......The Republican Toomey is now leading in PA for the Senate seat, and a Republican is now leading for the Governor's seat.

    I read an article last week on Politico about the state of PA......The article said........Being that Republicans are leading in PA, it just shows how much trouble the Democrats are now facing.

    The article said that Obama and the Democrats have lost the support of the households with union employees (the 4th largest state in the country with union employee households)---this is what happened in Massachusetts as well.

    The article said that Obama and the Democrats have lost the support of the majority of the senior citizens, whites, and moderate Dems.

    I would say that the scenario regarding PA is just as bad--if not worse-–in the states of West Virginia and Ohio.

    Obama and the Democrats will NOT win elections if they do not have the support/approval of PA, OH, and WV.

    February 28, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    The despicable Republicans want the country to fail so they can take over.....

    February 28, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. jsmith

    I will vote every Democrat out that I can, I cover over half of my state with rally's, and the sentiment is strong and growing fast. I also hear from the neighboring states, The Dems need to get their resumes updated. We were holding rally;s in large halls, now, instead of holding one we have to hold two at a time to accomodate people and its growing.

    February 28, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. Jim

    For those complaining about the national debt and it's the end of the world, consider that politicians were complaining that the country was already in bankruptcy because of the debt ....... in 1952. Politicians campaigned on the same slogan in the 1970s. The world is still here, the country is still here, the first amendment still gives you the right to complain. So this argument has been arounds for a long long long time, and shouldn't be given too much credibility.

    While I agree that the debt needs to be reduced, suddenly cutting off benefits for unemployed, and denying healthcare is an inappropriate and mean spirited way to do it, and appears to be geared toward creating widespread misery so the Republicans can campaign on the slogan, "are you better off now than you were 4 years ago," with the expectation that the answer will be no, even though it's the republican's fault.

    February 28, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Sue

    Donkey Party:

    In regard to unemployment...........

    There are millions of dollars of stimulous money that has not been spent.

    The extended unemployment benefits should be coming out of the millions of unspent stimulous dollars--–not borrow/print even more money--and throw us into debt even more.

    February 28, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Donnatella

    Don't count on the independents, we see you selfish racists for what you really are, I live in NJ where they just voted in Christie, he is making cuts to regulate the budget, at the same time he is giving tax cut to the wealthy, who do you think will take up the slack the middleclass, we get screwed either way, we are not that impressed with him and if this is what republicans have in store for the rest of the country, I don't think I will be voting for them.

    February 28, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. Duke

    The Party of No "optimistic"? That would be funny if it weren't so bizarre.

    February 28, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Phyllis Johnson

    This country is in trouble because of the Republicans. They are for making the rich richer on the backs of the average working people. They should have to give up their health care coverage until they pass coverage on to us that do not and can not get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    They have not and do not plan to vote health care in. All they want is to delay it as long as possible.
    I am so tired of their lies.

    February 28, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. B

    Smug do nothing Hack...... What has this idiot done to improve any American lives? Nothing!

    February 28, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. annie s

    The American people – those that aren't wealthy, that is – vote against their own best interests when they vote Republican. Pay attention people – they not only are against healthcare reform, they voted against one of the largest tax cut packages in history (the Recovery Act); they voted against a balanced budget (pay-as-you-go); they voted against deficit reduction. They also historically have voted against the minimum wage and equal pay for women...oh, and to all the seniors afraid of giving affordable health care to the rest of us, they also voted in favor of a measure that would have ended Medicare completely. That's what you'll get if you put them in charge.

    February 28, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Kim J

    Mitch McConnell should go , his obstructionist attitude is NOT getting this country right. We continue to suffer out here on the lines and he has no solution. Actually his solution is for me to go to Iowa to buy insurance and let Iowa come to my state to buy their insurance, now let's say you want to buy a car, a Chevy Volt would it make a difference where you bought that $40,000 car, No. So their solution would be to buy a United HealthCare product from another state instead of your own... Try that with your insurance call them up and ask them what they charge for the same insurance in another state and then you Kentukians (?) should send that guy down the road.

    February 28, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Kathryn A Upton

    If GOP wins either house would the take up reforming the health care their way or just ignore in like they did for the last 12 years?

    February 28, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    It isn't that the Democrats in congress haven't had the best opportunity in history to show what they can do. They had ( as in past tense of have ) a popular President, a fillibuster-proof supermajority and have spent more money on their programs than any congress in American History.

    And their results are horrible. We are in a much worse situation than we were in when they took over. They need to go. Vote Republican in 2010 and put some Sense back in the Senate and Representation back in the House of Representatives. Say no to the army of lobbyists dictating how to spend our tax dollars. Give Washington DC back to all Americans.

    February 28, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
1 2 3 4