U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell says the Tea Party has been good for the Republican Party.

Critics of the Tea Party blame it for costing the GOP the majority in the U.S. Senate the past four years, citing high-profile losses in Delaware, Nevada and Indiana.

Last week, the leader of the Tea Party in the Senate, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, announced he was leaving to lead a think tank.

But McConnell says the Tea Party has done something important for the GOP — it’s energized the party.

“I think it’s been a pretty good movement, I think it’s helped generate enthusiasm,” he says.

Still, McConnell added that he was focused on the looming fiscal cliff and governing — not so much the inner workings of his party right now.