Top GOP Priority: Make Obama a One-Term President

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on working with Obama—and then ending his presidency.

Major Garrett
Add to Briefcase
Major Garrett
Oct. 23, 2010, 4:21 p.m.

NJ You’ve been study­ing the his­tory of pres­id­ents who lost part or all of Con­gress in their first term. Why?

Mc­Con­nell In the last 100 years, three pres­id­ents suffered big de­feats in
Con­gress in their first term and then won reelec­tion: Harry Tru­man, Dwight Eis­en­hower, and the most re­cent ex­ample, Bill Clin­ton. I read a lot of his­tory any­way, but I am try­ing to ap­ply those les­sons to cur­rent situ­ations in hopes of not mak­ing the same mis­takes.

NJ What have you learned?

Mc­Con­nell After 1994, the pub­lic had the im­pres­sion we Re­pub­lic­ans over­prom­ised and un­der­delivered. We suffered from some de­gree of hubris and ac­ted as if the pres­id­ent was ir­rel­ev­ant and we would roll over him. By the sum­mer of 1995, he was already on the way to be­ing reelec­ted,
and we were hanging on for our lives.

NJ What does this mean now?

Mc­Con­nell We need to be hon­est with the pub­lic. This elec­tion is about them, not us. And we need to treat this elec­tion as the first step in re­tak­ing the gov­ern­ment. We need to say to every­one on Elec­tion Day, “Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us fin­ish the job.”

NJ What’s the job?

Mc­Con­nell The single most im­port­ant thing we want to achieve is for Pres­id­ent Obama to be a one-term pres­id­ent.

NJ Does that mean end­less, or at least fre­quent, con­front­a­tion with the pres­id­ent?

Mc­Con­nell If Pres­id­ent Obama does a Clin­to­nian back­flip, if he’s will­ing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest is­sues, it’s not in­ap­pro­pri­ate for us to do busi­ness with him.

NJ What are the big is­sues?

Mc­Con­nell It is pos­sible the pres­id­ent’s ad­visers will tell him he has to do something to get right with the pub­lic on his levels of spend­ing and [on] lower­ing the na­tion­al debt. If he were to heed that ad­vice, he would, I im­age, find more sup­port among our con­fer­ence than he would among some in the Sen­ate in his own party. I don’t want the pres­id­ent to fail; I want him to change. So, we’ll see. The next move is go­ing to be up to him.

NJ What will you seek from the pres­id­ent on the tax is­sue?

Mc­Con­nell At the very least, I be­lieve we should ex­tend all of the Bush tax cuts. And I prefer to de­scribe this as keep­ing cur­rent tax policy. It’s been on the books for 10 years. Now, how long that [ex­ten­sion] is, is something we can dis­cuss. It was clear his po­s­i­tion was not [favored] among all Sen­ate Demo­crats. They had their own di­vi­sions. I don’t think those di­vi­sions are go­ing to be any less in Novem­ber and Decem­ber.

What We're Following See More »
TIME TO SPLIT
House Passes CR, Sends Bill to President’s Desk
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
CAN’T NAME ONE WORLD LEADER
Gary Johnson Stumbles Again
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
GOES TO PRESIDENT
Senate Approves Bill to Preserve Rape Kits
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation ensuring sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have access to forensic evidence collection kits, sending the bill to President Obama's desk. The legislation, known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was passed by unanimous consent as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington until after the election. The House passed the measure earlier this month."

Source:
2-MONTH GIG OR 8-YEAR GIG?
Alec Baldwin to Play Trump on ‘SNL’
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS
STRIKES DOWN NEW HAMPSHIRE BAN
Court: Selfies in Voting Booth Now OK
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
×