McConnell sidesteps Romney diss with a smile
September 11th, 2012
04:45 PM ET
10 years ago

McConnell sidesteps Romney diss with a smile

Washington (CNN) – Often, a person's body language says more than words.

That appeared true Tuesday afternoon when Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell forced a big smile instead of responding to a CNN question about Mitt Romney's weekend comments criticizing fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill.

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Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Romney called it a mistake for President Obama to propose the deal that ended last year's debt limit fight, and added that it was "a mistake for Republicans to go along with it."

That deal calls for some $100 billion in mandatory spending cuts at the end of this year – half from the defense budget – unless Congress comes up with a new plan.

When asked by CNN for his reaction to Romney "dissing" him and other GOP lawmakers for going along with the cuts, known as "sequestration," McConnell grinned widely, if not sincerely.

"Look, I don't have any interest in getting into a debate with the nominee of our party," McConnell responded, going on to say – smile still firmly in place – "I know you would like for me to do that but I don't have any interest in doing that."

Trying one more time to get him to bite, we asked why he thinks Romney made the comment.
"You'll have to ask him why he said what he said," replied McConnell.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker John Boehner didn't answer directly a reporter's question about Romney's criticism of him and other congressional Republicans, but defended his own role.

"Listen it was a difficult time. I still look at my failure to come to an agreement with the president as the biggest disappointment of my speakership," Boehner said, speaking about his ill fated discussions with President Obama last summer over a broad deal to cut spending and reduce the deficit.

Boehner was also partisan in his response, even pointing people to a specific page in Bob Woodward's new book on the saga as a defense.

"The president didn't want to have a second round of a fight over increasing the debt limit. And ya know, look at Mr. Woodward's book that came out this morning, page 326, it'll make it perfectly clear where the sequester came from. We'd been in discussion over a trigger, but the president didn't want his re-election inconvenienced by another fight over a 1.2 trillion dollar increase in the debt ceiling. That's why we have it," said Boehner.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, was among the many Republicans who backed the sequestration deal Romney is now slamming.

Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Mitch McConnell • Mitt Romney
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is a political JOKE. Using the senate to become a millionaire and not preforming his job. He, like Boehner are not leaders. If they were, our nation would be in much better shape. They have stood by and done nothing for the nation or the people. Both of them are TRAITOR.

    September 11, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  2. 200 TON HAMMER

    Senator MCconnell feels like boo boo the fool
    for supporting mitt run away romney,hey senator
    Mitch MCconnell you be packing your bags going
    home too kentucky shortly for good smile turtle face

    September 11, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  3. craigles

    The Republican party is a mess and those they've chosen as presidential candidates are ridiculous. They have nothing concrete to offer, no great bold ideas. The only words that come from their mouths are baseless critiques on Obama and a rehash of the Bush years failed policies. The electorate knows this and Obama will win re-election.

    September 11, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  4. Debbie

    Cuts to Defense should come as long as they don't impact boots on the ground. Contracts to equipment we don't need, private contractors, or foreign countries as Israel should be cut. You cannot really cut the deficit without cutting the out of control spending on defense, the increase in size of government. McConnell had no problem with GWBush while spending wildly on unjustified costs on the unjustified Iraq War.

    September 11, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  5. Augie10

    Are you sure that Mittens won't change his mind about this by next week? Obama/ Biden 2012!!!

    September 11, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  6. judy

    republicans are just barely able to stomach romney. The smiles are phoney. Comments made by sniffit are very telling. I saw the same report. 15% of the repos in ohio believe romney should get credit for killing osama bin laudin. and 47% are not sure who should get the credit. That is really scary. How can anyone reason or have a discussion with people who think like this. And the republicans want to cut education. I wonder why? The closer we get to the election more thinking people will see the difference between the candidates. People like mitch should get voted out so we can move forward.

    September 11, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  7. Emerson

    This individual is a total disgrace and has no business masquerading as a legislator, other than he is a big friend of big business.

    September 11, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  8. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    Speaking of what world the GOP is in, it would serve well to remember that whatever world it is we don't need them in leadership positions in the U.S.A. This pathological lying, delusional thinking, and irrational fantasy that they spew day and night, is no more than a frail, and transparent web of deceit that those who are grounded in reality can readily see through. It is worth pointing out the similarities of the delusional leadership during the years spanning 1933 and l945, when their fantasy prone, omnipotent "leader" made one stupid strategy mistake after another, getting many Germans killed, and ultimately getting himself and his sad, delusional widow blown out of their underground, "impenetrable bunker," and leaving Berlin is searing flames as the once proud empire suffered a defeat that they still have not fully recovered from. So, what we do not need in this election is to be trying to put in more delusional, pathological, money grubbing sociopaths. They have already had their 8 years in office from 2000-2008, and that is NOT a period or style of "leadership" that we need another round of. Stay the course, America. Don't switch horses in the middle of the stream, especially when the horse your thinking of switching to is rabid.

    September 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. Razorking

    Tower to Romney campaign, come in Romney campaign, do you read us? Over. You are losing altitude fast Romney campaign, pull up Romney campaign, pull up!!

    September 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  10. Phaque

    The look on McConnell's face says it all. Everyone knows exactly how he feels about Romney's statement. The Republicans are going down in November.

    September 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  11. The Left Wing

    What a deal. Congressional Republicans work to weaken the country by killing a budget deal so Obama doesn't have an accomplishment to run on. Now Romney who is supposed to benefit from this calls them stupid for doing it.

    September 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  12. Scott

    Mitch must be thinking: "I can't believe I've got to hold out and obstruct for two more months just to get this ungrateful jerk elected!"

    September 12, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  13. oldvet10

    I'm tired of the muscle flexing on both sides, whether you like or dislike someone there are times when you must work together, Obama has his chance and couldn't pull it off. Even Clinton did a better job, he may have an issue with the truith but he worked for the good of the country not his ego.

    September 12, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  14. Geedub

    McConnell's body language always says he's being goosed.

    September 12, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  15. Neurotoxin

    Wow. Scattering like cockroaches under a floodlight. 3 weeks ago Romney and McConnell were together as party establishment attacking Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin for his comment, now Romney is trying to turn right on his own party in Congress and their economic policies. The problem for these guys is that their party's voters are hopelessly divided into more than 2 factions and every time they bend over to please one – they lose another. There is no hope for the Republican Party – their distaste for Obama is the only thing they have left in common.

    September 12, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  16. Geoff

    All republicans care about is making the rich richer and the poor more subserviant to the rich. And they care about preventing penguins from getting pregnant.

    September 12, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  17. dontbow

    wow a different opinion on a bill, man we havent seen that before. At least they arent major suckups to one another like the democratic filth in office are toward ANYTHING obamya proposes. SHEEP.

    September 12, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  18. LOST

    Okay folks, let me get this straight....First Romney was planning to abolish the Healthcare Law, and now he claims to want to uphold some aspects of it. Give me a break. When will he ever stand firm on any issue? What does he really want to do? It's too late in the game to keep wearing those flip flops. The snow will be falling soon enough.

    September 12, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  19. Dolly

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is disgraceful and trader to the American people.

    September 12, 2012 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  20. GreggEsq

    Amazing how the Republicans can't even formulate a coherent message amongst themselves, and they want to lead the entire country?

    September 12, 2012 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  21. Tonyb

    phony two faced frauds.....

    September 12, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  22. stew

    With Karl Rove and his goon squad willing to deep six Akin, all the other republicans will eat Mitt's cheese as they wish to keep their own heads on their shoulders, mainly because Rove runs Romneys brain and that is dangerous.

    September 12, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  23. mique

    Some people make my skin crawl, they are that creepy.

    September 12, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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