If the presidential election were today, the Republican Party’s main anti-Obama slogan would be “he made it worse,” says the party’s top senator, minority leader Mitch McConnell.
Senator McConnell (R) of Kentucky, appearing Wednesday at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, says that he thinks President Obama is “in a very weak position” as he gets ready to run for reelection. Because of publicity surrounding Mitt Romney’s official campaign announcement, McConnell points out, Mr. Romney bounced up in the polls to tie or pull slightly ahead of Mr. Obama.
As to complaints from some Republicans that the current field of candidates is uninspiring, McConnell said, “I’m confident we’re going to nominate someone who is a credible, believable alternative” to Obama.
He says that the grumbling about candidates reminds him of the situation prior to the 1980 election, when the Carter administration thought that their opposition looked weak – and that if the Republicans nominated, say, Ronald Reagan, President Carter would cruise to reelection. The Carter people thought Mr. Reagan too old and extreme to win.
In the current cycle, “one of these candidates is going to get on a roll and they’re going to start winning, and they’re going to look a lot better than they look today,” said McConnell.
“I think the president can be defeated,” he added.
The teetering economy is one big reason why, the GOP Senate leader says. Obama inherited a difficult situation, but after 2-1/2 years, it’s a situation he now owns in political terms.
“We need to quit doing what we’ve been doing.... Stop the borrowing and spending, stop the overregulation,” McConnell said. “It’s made the situation worse.”
The most important thing the current Congress could do is to pass a big package aimed at cutting back America’s deficit and debt, says McConnell. He adds that tax increases are not going to be part of that package. Democrats could not roll back the Bush tax cuts when they controlled the Congress prior to the 2010 midterms, says the minority leader, so they will not be able to do that in a more heavily Republican Congress today.
“We all agree that a very large impressive package that [bond rating agencies] look at and say, ‘Wow, the US is getting its act together’ – that’s the kind of thing we would like to see,” said McConnell.