Politics
10:00 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Mitch McConnell Campaign Radio Ad Features 'Fiery' CPAC Speech

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

The campaign to re-elect Republican Senator Mitch McConnell launched a new statewide radio ad this week featuring the GOP leader's fiery remarks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.

During the speech, McConnell pledge to conservative activists the fight against the Affordable Care Act will will continue despite the Supreme Court upholding the legislation and President Obama's re-election last fall.

In the one-minute radio spot, McConnell assails the president's overall agenda while urging conservatives to remain true to their principles.

"If you believe in your heart that the direction Barack Obama wants to take this country is wrong, its time to stand up together and punch back," McConnell says in the ad.

At CPAC, McConnell said point blank: "Obamacare should be repealed root and branch." The GOP leader has railed against the law on the Senate floor in recent weeks, but Tea Party groups in Kentucky remain unsatisfied.

In a March 24 e-mail, the Northern Kentucky Tea Party attacked McConnell and 19 other GOP senators for supporting an omnibus spending bill. According to the group, McConnell voted to fund Obamacare and it shows he is only giving "lip service" to conservative principles.

From the NKTP:

Senator Mitch McConnell's vote for the Obamacare funding bill was especially disappointing. He not only supported the Cruz-Lee amendment to defund Obamacare, he also gave a speech at CPAC last week where he stood next to thousands of pages of Obamacare regulations and vowed to fight them. If he were serious, he would have opposed the bill that funds the implementation of those very same regulations.

Republicans like Senator McConnell won't oppose spending bills like this one because they're afraid of being blamed for a government shutdown. This fear is crippling the Republican Party. Until its leaders face the ghosts of 1995 and stand up to President Obama, there is little hope that things in Washington will change.

But the measure in question actually kept federal spending at reduced levels over objections from the Obama administration.

From Politico:

The White House had wanted $949 million added within the Department of Health and Human Services to help lay the groundwork for setting up state health-care exchanges to begin enrollment next fall.

(SNIP)

Indeed, a statement of administration policy last week on the House bill said only that the White House was “deeply concerned” with the House bill and never even hinted of using the president’s veto leverage. This ceded effective control to Republicans and led Democrats to turn their focus more to protecting long-standing priorities such as investments in transportation or programs like Head Start for low-income children.

The criticism represents another squabble within the GOP over what practical opposition can be accomplished running up against idealistic principles.

It's a conflict in which McConnell has to increasingly walk a fine line on ahead of the 2014 election, and the popularity of Kentucky's junior Senator Rand Paul.

Campaign sources tell WFPL McConnell did back an amendment introduced by fellow Republican—and Tea Party favorite—Ted Cruz of Texas to completely defund the health care law, but it was defeated on a party-line basis.

"Their argument is that the government should not be funded at all unless Obamacare is repealed," says a McConnell campaign source. "As much as we identify with their opposition to Obamacare, that's an impossibility with the current administration and makeup of the Senate."

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