McConnell Says GOP Doesn’t “Intend To Make Any Bad Deals”

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda is “over.” The comment came during a speech McConnell gave to Louisville Republicans Saturday night.

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Kentucky’s newest U.S. Senator, Rand Paul, introduced Senator McConnell at the annual Jefferson County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner in Louisville. It was the first time the two men had publicly appeared together in Kentucky since the November election. McConnell endorsed Paul’s opponent in the primary last year, but says Paul is bringing new energy and conservative ideas to Washington, and the two men make a good team.

“Now we have control of the House of Representatives,” said McConnell. “We have 47 in the Senate and for some of you who are disappointed in that, it takes 60 votes to control the Senate. The legislative agenda of Barack Obama is over.”

But McConnell says Republicans still don’t control government, and they’re prepared to do business with Mr. Obama “to the extent that the president wants to do what we think is right for America.”

“We’re not going to use the next election as an excuse not to do important things for the country if the president’s willing to do what we think ought to be done,” said McConnell. “Interpret that to mean, we don’t intend to make any bad deals.”

Noting President Obama’s shift toward the political center since the November election, McConnell derided Mr. Obama for performing “Clintonian back flips.” But McConnell says it’s unclear if the more moderate tone of the president and some Senate Democrats is “rhetoric or reality.”

“There are 23 Democrats up in ‘12, many of whom seem to be at least rhetorically like the president, having an epiphany,” joked McConnell. “And we shall see, how many of them want to come over and join us and begin to tackle our annual deficit.”

Laying out the Senate Republican strategy, McConnell said, “Whatever the House can get out of the House with a majority vote is the goal of the Senate.”

Turning to Kentucky, McConnell praised Senate President David Williams for helping Republicans maintain control of the Senate since 1999. One of 11 statewide candidates to follow McConnell to the podium, Williams used his three minutes to bash Gov. Steve Beshear, whom Williams says has no agenda.

“The only bill he has is an 18 year old drop out bill and that’s just an acknowledgement of the fact that he knows nothing about education,” said Williams. “What does he expect to do with an unfunded mandate to our school system to do something about the educational problems that have been caused by the lack of change in education in this state?”

Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw didn’t attack Senator Williams or Gov. Beshear by name, but both were critical of the leadership in Frankfort and said they are the better candidates for governor. Stumping for votes in the Republican primary for Secretary of State were Bill Johnson and Hilda Legg.

“We cannot let this younger generation grow up and not know what government is about, and their responsibilities and their role – just like you have given so much of yourself to making Kentucky a state that has a two-party system,” said Legg.

Other Republican candidates making pitches to the crowd were Todd P’Pool for Attorney General; John Kemper and Addia Wuchner for State Auditor; K.C. Crosbie for State Treasurer; and James Comer and Rob Rothenburger for State Agriculture Commissioner.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.