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. GI Joe

    Hey 15% of the republicans polled in one of the states say Romney gave the order to get bin Laden.

    Talk about low-information voters in that group. ha ha ha ha ha h aha ha ha

    September 11, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |

    Willard you out Mitch. You can't have that. Tell what he can do to himself. I'll give you an empty chair so you can improv.

    September 11, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. RGD

    That's why McConnell will still be Senate minority leader after this November unless his party kicks him off to the curb.

    September 11, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Is it just me, or does he look like Beaker from the Muppet Show?

    September 11, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    There's old Turtle-face. His sole purpose in life for 3-1/2 years has been to make president Obama look bad, even if it meant putting the U.S.A. into bankruptcy.

    How about that for good old republicanism. WOW Is that REALLY what he was paid that high salary and given all those perks for? Sheeeeesh.

    September 11, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    Can you imagine how his wife feels at night when she sees him approaching her? Talk about the ICK factor.

    September 11, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. truth hurts

    i doubt woodward's book will get much coverage in the msm. it crucifies obama and they just have that for their chosen candidate.

    September 11, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Dan

    Boehner came to an agreement with the president, he just backed out of it when he couldn't get the Tea Party to agree to the terms. He is so afraid of losing power he tucked tail between his legs and killed the deal instead of standing up to the fringes of his party and moving it forward. That's the real failure of his tenure.

    September 11, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Jeff in Virginia

    I'd like to see an article detailing how Mitch McConnell has become FABULOUSLY wealthy while serving as a US Senator. How about it, Dana Bash?

    September 11, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    Actually, mcconnll was trying to hold back the laughter at the notion (lie) that President Obama proposed the deal that ended last year's debt limit.

    mcconnell knew that it was the low-life repugs holding the country hostage, and that they would later blame the Prez for it.

    September 11, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    maybe he was invoking the old Reagan 11th commandment of "no Republican should ever speak ill of another Republican" and in this age of Twitter and You-Tube these guys are being VERY careful in what they say. It can always appear in the latest campaign ad for the other party.

    September 11, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Just me

    They probably aren't too worried about what the Rombot actually said. He'll just say something different tomorrow anyway.

    September 11, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. cali girl

    turtle boy just choked on the slam from Robmey. Smile through it there brother, but you know dang well what he was talking about.

    September 11, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. Jon

    I would like to see an article of how Harry Rid can afford to live in the Ritz and how he waqs able to amass a furtune while doing so

    September 11, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. the Situation

    Booble mouth and Mitts can't stay on message. The Repubs = House of Disfunction!

    September 11, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Is it just me, or does he look like Beaker from the Muppet Show?"

    Hehe...I've been referring to him as Beaker here and on other sites for years.

    September 11, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. sayer

    Come November they will be eating their own.

    September 11, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. lolo

    People you can not get rid of stupid. The republicans and tea partiers will never admit it is rascism. McConnell is the main one who is racist. He is from the old school and is not use to a person of color telling him what to do, more less talking to them. The rest of the sheep just fell in line. They are still the KKK just without the sheets.

    September 11, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    ""When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy,""

    – John "Weeper of the House" Boehner

    September 11, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Bill

    Hey McConnell – look at the bright side – after November, you will be able to say "this will be Obama's last term as president"
    McConnell and his ilk are a disgrace to the American people.

    September 11, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. cali girl

    Hey Sniffi
    I like beaker from the muppets. but I have to admit there is a resemblance.
    Although, Beaker keeps his mouth shut most of the time, Turtle Boy can't shut his.

    September 11, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Mitt Romney's weekend comments criticizing fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill is bitting the hand that feed him.

    September 11, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. sgurdog

    Get ready, Romney is ready to appear in the middle by distancing himself from the low approval ratings of a do-nothing congress. not a bad call.

    September 11, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    Just a few more years and this "type" will be extinct. Never to be welcomed or to grace the face of the earth again.

    September 11, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  25. chilly g

    mcconnell said his only goal was to defeat the president,but the president will win, i think he should be trying to help
    the poor and uneducated peoples of his state.

    September 11, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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