Local News Politics

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.

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.