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. NameBerk H

    It is very revealing how obstructionist all of these men are especially on a day of great sorrow and remembrance. They have all lost thier way and appears that none of them have the American peoples best interests in mind. Since they went there, how could we elect a man for President, when he forgets the war we are in , while giving his acceptance speech for his nomination of this elite office. Noone would hire anyone who interviewed like that. Wake up people.

    September 11, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. n

    Republican want to work with the president but because of these stupid tea party people who wants to bankrupt the country. These moderate Republican have no say. Shame on you all. Stand up to these tea party.

    September 11, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  3. a disgrace but you voted for him

    after four years without a president america is close to failing. this novembers election will not decide who is president but whether the country itself survives....

    September 11, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. Pete

    @Sniffit,you're right,Ma RachelMaddox on MSNBC couldn't believe how incompetent,out of touch most republicans are,she also said that if you'd combine what Romney had with the unsure vote Romney would win,is that a joke or what,he wasn't even running yet and that's in Ohio and North Carolina,two supposid swing states.Hey republicans is George Washington really buried in George Washingtons grave,that's how pathedicly funny it sounds.It must be hard being born with the stigma of being republican,but ya know what, you have to be strong to be that stupid in life also!!!

    September 11, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. sick of republican phonies

    Human/turtle hybrid McConnell doesn't have much to say...for once.

    September 11, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    President Obama has INCREASED benefits for our military and vets.

    The republicans will cut those benefits by 30%. It's in Ryan's plan. FACT.

    September 11, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Which communities will be hit by the cuts to the Defense budget?????? cuts to our military, that is the answer???? no military equipment and no training to our military????


    Your mentality is the same as the old auto industry . I remember hearing an auto executive stating they need to keep making gas guzzling cars because people need jobs. I think he is retired now. We don't need 11 aircraft carriers , how many submarines do we need ? The last ten years , we have become a full military industry , almost socialist when you think of men and women making the military a career . People used to serve , then go into the public sector , now they stay in and retire ..

    Equipment and training will never be compromised , objective and priority !

    September 11, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  8. 1608

    With all my money i still can"t buy a friend.

    September 11, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Reggie from LA

    Mind yourself, Mitt. Ol' "Term-Slayer" will put a political hex on you and you'll not stand a chance. On second thought, allow us."We do hereby swear (kinda like the Norquist pledge) to waste all our time and taxpayer dollars to ensure Romney does not win the election."

    September 11, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. SC

    They are giving eacn other the cold shoulders who cares.

    September 11, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  11. g

    Did the Speaker of the house actually admit to regretfully not coming to an agreement with Obama? How many times have I voted and soon found it was Obama fault? How many people like being the punch line of a possible negative impact to your job at work, and say I see where you're going and I agree its my fault because we are united? I sound dumb don't I? Should I stop? Well Some people dont, guess who? When will I solve this republican puzzle, it changes every day and I can't truly see why I would even try to piece it together it takes a confusing twist everyday? What time is Jerry Springer on so I can show my friend visiting from Iraq what republican politics look like now a days?

    September 11, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    The gop is histroy in Nov and they won't be back for a long while . Try 3012 !!!!

    September 11, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  13. Chubbbjack

    Romney does not have the support of the congressional GOP. In fact Republicans on Capitol hill have little if any respect for Romney. This is probably the main reason why Ryan was selected. However, so far Ryan repeatedly goes astray from Romney. Ryan is distancing himself from Romney already. Why? Because Ryan does not see Romney winning the election and does not want to hurt his own political capital on the Hill. Ryan accepted the VP nomination solely for personal gain.

    September 11, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  14. Obama2012

    How do this guy even get elected ?

    September 11, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  15. candy

    The Etch a Sketch toy only works for only a while. After that, it needs to be thrown away. Looks like even the GOPs are ready to throw this one away now.

    September 11, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. Chubbbjack

    Romney does not have the support of the congressional GOP. In fact Republicans on Capitol hill have little if any respect for Romney. This is probably the main reason why Ryan was selected. However, so far Ryan repeatedly goes astray from Romney. Ryan is distancing himself from Romney already. Why? Because Ryan does not see Romney winning the election and does not want to hurt his own political capital on the Hill. Ryan accepted the VP nomination solely for personal gain.

    September 11, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. mike

    The republicans have deep rooted issues. After GW ran the country in the ground with his failed policies, they pick mittens who can't seem to ague any point. We deserve better as a country. Obama/Biden 2012.

    September 11, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. Facts don't LIE

    you know as far as the defense budget goes if Romney is elected then of COURSE he wants more money for defense because more than likely our men and women will NOT be coming home from the Afgahn war since he has said he opposes that move, and also opposed ending the Iraqi War, and you can bet your bottom dollar Mitt will find another conflict to get involved in be it Iran, Syria or heck maybe even North Korea. Americans have shown we are tired of war, but Mitt doesn't seem to get that message. His 5 sons did since they chose not to serve but I'm sure your son or daughter would not be off limits for President Romney (yuk I hate to even say that in theory) starts or continues a war.

    September 11, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. mike

    I feel bad for Roney because he knows he's not a good candidate. That's whats so sad.

    September 11, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  20. Mike Texoma

    The only people who wanted a "trigger" that late in the game were the tea party people who relished yet one more showdown on the brink of disaster. When the reconciliation committee failed, a la Norquist, the standoff became an important part of the scenario again. But I think if we have another one of those stand-offs, a la Norquist, in the face of such popular disapproval, the Republicans may find themselves unemployed after the next mid-terms, for a while.

    September 11, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. SamTheMan

    These republicans look goulish.. McConnel looks like a dead guy. I swear these guys are pure evil. Why is it acceptable to use the name of Jesus to fight for the greedy, dishonest, and hateful creatures? "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing"

    September 11, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Jonquil

    Hmm. So, some voters think they need to vote for Romney because The Republicans in The House will like him and work with him. Some voters are horrified about the prospect of having a President that will simply obey the demands of House Republicans (mind you, even Boehner had to go back and renege on an agreement with President Obama because Eric Cantor tugged his ear and sent him back to say "NO!" Who's in charge, there?). Romney can't even say the right thing when he's deviously trying to trick people into voting against their interests and I'm willing to bet Republicans in The House would punish him, should he get in.

    I think one thing is clear: House Republicans have to go. And Romney would either be their pet or their patsy.

    September 11, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. MrCredik

    Wasn't it Mitch McConnell who first floated the sequestration deal when the House would not accept 80% spending cuts / 20% tax increase that the Dems were offering?

    September 11, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  24. Anthony

    Despite McConnell's best effort to make Obama a one-term president, McConnell can read the polls too. McConnell can afford to laugh off the Romney diss because come November 6, McConnell will still have a job, but Romney won't.

    September 11, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. Scum1981

    Look, I think Boehner, McConnel and the rest of the republicans are pretty reprehensible people. They shouldn't get anyone's vote. But, let's try to keep the attacks above board. Attack these guys on their policies. Not their looks.

    September 11, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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