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. DENNA

    "House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, was among the many Republicans who backed the sequestration deal Romney is now slamming."
    Wow. The lies are coming so fast and furious, the Republicans don't know which way to turn. They are now bashing things they actually agreed to in the first place. Wow. Just wow! 🙂

    September 11, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  2. John F. Hudak

    I am from Kentucky and both of 'my" Senators are not just an embarassment to the Commonwealth but to the U S Senate as well. If I 'must' live with these two Senators at least you you teabaggers can live with if not a great, at least a very good President.

    September 11, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  3. khaleeshi

    McConnell is such a loser. He needs to be voted out along with Boehner, the worst speaker ever, and Cantor.

    September 11, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. Dan B

    This is the same Mitch McConnell who blatantly said in 2009 that his main objective in Congress was to defeat President Obama in 2012.....shouldn't his main objective be to work with the President to help all of the American people. Boehner and McConnell caved in to the tea party ideology and Paul Ryan came up with the spending cut they are running away from it. Either they believe in limited government or they don't...the last I read the federal budget...Social Security, Medicare and the military were the three big ticket items that needed to be reduced to eliminate the debt...oh, and taxing the rich like we did during the Clinton Administration when the debt was under control would help, too.

    September 11, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  5. dho

    Now I know you are making this stuff up. There is no way that McConnell knows how to smile.

    September 11, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    Look to the GOP to go back on their word. We all know they're trustworthy, after all-they're politicians.

    September 11, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. Larry L


    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????
    I'm a career Soldier and understand the need for training and equipment. I also understand that the military is not provided as a tool to adjust the economies of local communities. It is our job to destroy the enemy and eliminate their ability to resist. When the Joint Chiefs of Staff formulates a budget request they consider our mission and the resources required.

    When a politician actually wants to provide more taxpayer money than that requested by the military, the politician has an agenda. Romney, a draft dodger and "chicken-hawk", has clearly made some promises to defense contractors in exchange for their financial support. The money will repay those promises.

    September 11, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  8. Sue

    The entire GOP doesn't get it! They have nobody to blame but themselves, and I certainly agree with GI Joe's assessment regarding McConnell and Boehner. Unfortunately, one is a senile old man past his prime and the other is a chronic whiner!

    September 11, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  9. Moopster

    Mitch McConnell: "Ok boys, we will make a ruckus of the debt ceiling debate and this will cause the stock market to free fall, and I've got insider news from my mega rich buddies that Moodys will downgrade us if we succeed, so get your cheque books out and get ready to call up your stock brokers immediately to buy low".

    In the end.... It was Mitch who had the last laugh, adding millions to his coffers of his multi millionaire bank account.

    At least that's how I interpreted that whole mess last year.

    September 11, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  10. AgrippaMT

    You have to admit that Republican leaders are very good liars, just as they are good at draft dodging, issue dodging, tax dodging and taking responsibiliy for their actions. That's why they will lose come November.

    September 11, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  11. Mm

    Nobody likes Romney...not even Republicans.

    Notice how they never discuss his plans or get upset when he does a major flip flop on something such as just this week on his views on Obamacare....which he is now apparently FOR now. The Republican's response.....complete silence.

    So, they don't llike him, but they never really did care about his veiled arguments to begin with. Just another GWB type puppet in the making.

    September 11, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  12. Juxtapoz

    HOOOLLLLD UP! Woodward's book doesn't blame Obama. What it SAYS, is that
    1) Obama wasn't about to let Boehner and his hobbits use a second debt limit battle as leverage to force him to agree to insane stuff(like they did with unemployment benefits). and
    2) Obama AND his administration (correctly) believed that if he caved on allowing a 2-step debt limit fight, the Repukes would start using that AND other super-important legislation to blackmail the White House whenever they wanted to get their way.

    Anyone who doesn't understand all that, ask yourself why we have a stated policy that we don't negotiate with terrorists. Same idea, except this time the terrorists are the American taliban aka the GOTP.

    September 11, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  13. Sharon

    I saw very little of either convention but where were McConnell, Cantor, Portker, oops Corker among many other current Senators/Reps. Personally, I think it says a lot about what the party hierarchy thinks both of them and of the Bush presidents. GHW Bush might not have been in physical condition to attend but Romney is really trying to distance himself – just can't figure out how he can diss the current group and have picked Ryan who was in the midst of it it all.

    September 11, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. trex

    .....If Mitch grew taller everytime the gop LIED....................He would be touching ...THE now.....

    September 11, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  15. gezerboy

    It might come as a shock to Mr. Boehner, but I didn't want to go through another debt ceiling showdown either; particularly since I sold some bonds thinking that they were actually going to force the US governement to default on its debts.

    September 11, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  16. John

    With the Republican Leadership In Congress and the Senate ,It no wonder why nothing Is getting done. They can't Control or are worry about the TEA PARTY that there they can't get anything Done .

    September 11, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. Jsd


    A poll showed 28% said Romney couldn't run a small business. That's over a quarter of people who are either extremely angry or extremely ignorant. Take your pick.

    September 11, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. Mack J.

    It seems as though they did not vet Ryan very good to see what he stood for and/or against so Romney would not contradict him and mis-speak. This Dumb and Dumber will be the funniest team to watch since McCain and Palin.

    September 11, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  19. migeli

    I see McConnell on a big platter with an apple in his mouth.

    September 11, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  20. Kr55

    So, the next time the dems control the house they can just block every single bill and demand that taxes are increased to 100% on the top 1% before they let the government pay their bills (debt limit increase)? The Republicans sure have set quite a precedent. I look forward to the dems using the filibuster a billion times as well if they lose their majority in the house.

    September 11, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  21. MinemanUT

    If Obama wins another term, I hope that the Republicans use sequestration to their full advantage. All they have to do is remind the President & Democrats that they are the ones that agreed to live with it. Want a deal, repeal Obamacare & then we will hammer something out.

    September 11, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  22. JC in Western U.S.

    One of the things dragging on Romney is the ball and chain forged by the Republican majority in the House. There are few Americans who were not furious last August with Boehner and the Tea Party Caucus for their actions surrounding the debt ceiling debate. That is when most of us came to the conclusion that the GOP was not being responsible. Romney isn't just fighting Democrats. He is fighting the Democrats while shackled to the people most Americans have the least respect for of all the politicians in Washington: The Republicans in Congress.

    September 11, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  23. Bruce

    10% Defense cuts are nothing, we have increased by more than that in the last few years. They are spending that much on studies of how to cut !0%!

    September 11, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  24. Raj K

    I have no respect for this man Mitch McConnel. This guy wanted the elected President to fail just to make him a one term President. In my view this is no different than Treason while being in elected office as a public servant and being paid by the public. This man needs to be be tried for corruption.

    September 11, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  25. Amarjeet

    Romney never told earlier that Republican Party made mistake of Defense Cuts. It is very probable that Ryan may come out to correct his past on the Congress Floor by criticizing Republican Party with sound support of Tea Party tactics to ditch Republican Leaders in Congress to take lead & get more public acceptance. People of America know very well who is who from their own conduct & speeches for the past 2 years of Republican Majority in Congress as well Tea Party. Such statements in public by Ryan go against Romney image.

    September 11, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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