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
See more stories about...
Major Garrett
Oct. 23, 2010, 12:21 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 »
SEX WOULD BE CONSIDERED BINARY
HHS Could Nix Title IX Protections for Transgender Students
30 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"The Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times. The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined 'on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.' The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with."

Source:
SAYS HIS DEATH STEMMED FROM A FISTFIGHT
Saudis Admit Khashoggi Killed in Embassy
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."

Source:
ROGER STONE IN THE CROSSHAIRS?
Mueller Looking into Ties Between WikiLeaks, Conservative Groups
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."

Source:
PROBING COLLUSION AND OBSTRUCTION
Mueller To Release Key Findings After Midterms
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.

Source:
PASSED ON SO-CALLED "SAR" REPORTS
FinCen Official Charged with Leaking Info on Manafort, Gates
2 days ago
THE DETAILS
"A senior official working for the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has been charged with leaking confidential financial reports on former Trump campaign advisers Paul Manafort, Richard Gates and others to a media outlet. Prosecutors say that Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser to FinCEN, photographed what are called suspicious activity reports, or SARs, and other sensitive government files and sent them to an unnamed reporter, in violation of U.S. law."
Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login