August 27th, 2014
04:17 PM ET
6 years ago

McConnell to CNN: Obama would have ‘a lot of congressional support’ for action against ISIS

Nicholasville, Kentucky (CNN) – Sen. Mitch McConnell knew how surprising it was going to sound to room full of Kentucky voters that he backs President Barack Obama on something.

"I think the President now, at this point - this will shock you when I say it - at this point, is doing the right thing,” he said Wednesday in a speech to the Chamber of Commerce here.

The GOP Senate leader was talking about the President’s increasingly robust approach towards ISIS, the Islamist extremist group sweeping Syria and Iraq.

McConnell predicted Obama will likely ask lawmakers for support when Congress returns from its August recess, and told CNN in an exclusive interview after his speech why he would likely say yes.

"I think it would make sense for him to get our support. It's pretty clear ISIS is a serious threat. They have the potential to hit us here at home. He's the President of the United States and, if he's prepared to try to prevent that, I'm sure he will have a lot of congressional support," McConnell told CNN.

Whether McConnell's prediction about a lot of support from Congress will bear out remains to be seen. There is considerable reluctance, especially among some Democrats.

But the fact that the GOP leader, who spends most of his days railing against the President's policies in his neck-and-neck re-election campaign, temporarily put politics aside is noteworthy, and perhaps telling.

The politics of voting to support any military action are dicey for candidates facing voters who are weary after prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, McConnell all but acknowledged that in his speech on Wednesday.

"I know both wars were long," he said. "The longer they go on the more unpopular they get."

When asked if he has any trepidation about potentially taking a tough vote before election day, McConnell told CNN "the security of the nation comes first."

"I believe and others believe that ISIS could hit us here at home and that trumps all other considerations, and I'm anxious to hear what the President has in mind and I think he's likely to get support" McConnell said.

Whether his constituents back him or not, it looks like it’s one position he won't get much push back on by his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Grimes said she agrees with military experts who call ISIS a threat to the U.S. homeland, and says she backs limited air strikes so far.

She also told CNN she believes the President should come to Congress for further action.

"When there is extended military action congressional approval is appropriate,” she said.

Filed under: 2014 • Mitch McConnell • President Obama
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Big_D

    McConnell should be careful, he is starting to sound like somebody that would compromise with Obama on something. I think you get kicked out of the GOP/TP for that. Even if it is for the good of the USA.

    August 27, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Stuart

    The Chinless Chump surprises me a little more every times opens his mouth.

    August 27, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Greg

    There was a comment stating things like this are why Republicans resent Obama so much since he took the stance he did on Iraq.
    But REALLY NOW!!!! Who can compare IRAQ to ISIS??????? C;mon!

    August 27, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Silence DoGood

    @Ol' Yeller
    @tom l

    "Yet another similarity between the violent TP and terrorists"

    Care to give an example where the TEA Party condoned any type of terrorism or violence?
    Those two tea baggers killed that cop in the mall and left the tea bagger flag draped over his body before they shot themsleves like the cowards they are in the shortest revolution on record.

    And they are continually hinting and agitating "2nd amendment solutions" and we will see more crazy ranchers with guns and cops and politicians targetted. AND have you googled for like 10 seconds to see the violent signs at TP rallies?

    "Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." –Nevada GOP Senate nominee and Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, floating the possibility of armed insurrection, interview with right-wing talk radio host Lars Larson in Portland, OR, January 2010

    August 27, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Anthony

    @Ol' Yeller

    Just because you bought into the left's politicization talking points doesn't make it true. Keep trying buddy.

    August 27, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Susan

    TM, what collective mind? (snark)

    I fear ISIS and think the US gov ought to continue to take steps to protect the nation's people, though at the very same time I fear and detest war. I would not want to be the one(s) who will make those incredibly difficult decisions. May God bless them.

    August 27, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Zeke

    Sorry Mitch, Obama is not doing the right thing on anything. He abuses his powers by passing congress and you look the other way, but now you cuddle up to him on one issue. If nothing else, trade him on Republican issues and get something in return. We know that Obama does not make a good president, but I would vote for him as a King.

    August 27, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Jim Rome

    Of course the GOP is for spending on the defense companies. That's who bought their elections. Sickening.

    August 27, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Craig

    Just what we need...another war supported by the GOP and their profiteering allies. I'll consider their position when all of them have their kids and grandkids sign up to fight. Until then, sending other's in harm's way just doesn't cut it.

    August 27, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Brineybones

    Big_D: Hah; as if Obama or Reid have EVER compromised on anything. Talk about intransigent non-statesmen. How much longer to the end of the leg-tingling Messiah's reign? Even if it were a day, that would be too much...

    August 27, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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