September 8th, 2010
05:59 PM ET
12 years ago

McConnell: GOP will be 'very competitive' in November

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" McConnell predicts that the GOP will make gains in the November midterm elections."]
(CNN) – Minority leader Mitch McConnell is cautiously optimistic that he will lead a "larger group" than he does now after the November midterm elections, but stopped short of saying the Republicans will definitely win back the majority in an interview that will air on CNN's John King, USA at 7 p.m. EST.

"I think we can safely say is the wind is at our back and we're going to be very, very competitive," McConnell told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

"Number one, we will not lose a single Republican incumbent senator in November. Number two, we have five open Republican seats, including here in Kentucky. We will win all those. And, we are competitive in the following places where there are Democratic Senators: California, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Dakota, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and probably in Connecticut and maybe West Virginia. …And we will win a number of them, and we will be a more influential group in the next congress," McConnell predicted.

But McConnell acknowledged that the makeup of the Republican Party in the next Congress will be diverse, especially if many of the conservative-leaning Tea Party candidates who have won state primaries make it to Washington.

Many Tea Party candidates – including Rand Paul of McConnell's home state of Kentucky – have built their campaigns on distancing themselves from Washington, and their own party's establishment. But that sets up potential dissonance among Republicans in the next Congress.

When asked by King in an interview if he would vote for McConnell for leader, Alaska Senate nominee Joe Miller replied "let's just wait and see what happens." Miller beat the party-backed incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary last month.

McConnell is taking a diplomatic approach to his party's newest members, telling King that the current Republican Party already has a broad "ideological diversity," and that any Republican gains would be positive.

"Look, I'm for Joe Miller whether he's for me or not. I already have enough votes to be reelected leader, and I will be, and we'll work with him no matter what his view may be," McConnell said.

McConnell also said that while he isn't satisfied with the economic proposals Obama introduced this week, he is willing to work with the President.

"What I'm hoping is that he becomes a born-again moderate, moves to the center as he campaigned in 2008, and if he does that, we'd be happy to meet him there."

In a speech in Cleveland, Ohio Wednesday, Obama outlined a new $350 billion plan to boost the economy. The proposal includes $200 billion in tax cuts for businesses to purchase new equipment and write off 100 percent of new investments through the end of 2011.

"We're always happy to talk to him about what can be done. It sounds to be like it's sort of Election Eve conversion here. We'll take a look at what he's got to offer but I think a lot better way to go would not be raising taxes in the middle of what most Americans think is a recession," McConnnell said.

Obama also announced in the speech that he plans to stand by his plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for people making over $250,000, while extending the cuts for those making less, a move that Republicans have fiercely opposed.

Nonetheless, McConnell suggested that his working relationship with the Obama Administration might improve after the November elections.

"Look, I don't want the president to fail. I want the president to change. He needs to move dramatically away from this leftward drift that tried to turn America into a western European-type country, and come back to the middle," McConnell said. "There are a number of things that we can do where there are similar interests. It's just that he hasn't chosen to do any of those things in his first two years.

Filed under: 2010 • JKUSA • John King USA • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The Republicans think they will get a free ride. I refuse to give them 8 more years of a free ride.

    September 8, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  2. ED FL

    I see the confederate General Mcconnell is back on the CNN FOX networks again.He knows where to get favorable treatment .No one on those networks have the guts to ask him about the GOP and its war mongering Draft dodgers that killed 4400 american kids and wounded 34000 and covered up 2 trillion dollars from the public budget for those wars.Between Mcconnell and Boehner hoping to get the majority won't help .The Dems become the minority NO NO party and unless they have changed the constitution A certain Mr Barak Obama will still be president with a large box of VETO PENS. Have fun.Then in 2012 this old GOP NO NO [party will accomplish nothing and the American public gets hosed again and will vote the out the latest party which will be the OLD NO NO party.

    September 8, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. Djinn

    Democrats and Independents need to take a look at this arrogant slimeball and make sure we ALL vote to stop Bush-era politics before it totally washes the country down the economic toilet. Make turtle soup out of Turtleman!

    September 8, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. Charlie in Maine

    Have another drink of tea you old idiot.

    September 8, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. ruty

    McConnell looks like a silly cartoon character. Acts like one too. He thinks the democrats are gaing to lie down and die. Wake up silly one! You got a fight on your hands.

    September 8, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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