Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY) had an interesting interview on Meet The Press on Sunday:
Maybe McConnell's starting to realize that the American people are getting sick and tired of the GOP hyping up these non-scandals. Or maybe not:On Sunday, during an appearance on Meet The Press, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — the GOP leader in the senate — distanced himself from Republican efforts to portray the Obama administration’s response to the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic issue in Benghazi, Libya as a Watergate-level scandal that should result in impeachment. McConnell’s comments come just days after the White House released 100 pages of emails undermining GOP claims that administration officials doctored the public talking points U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used to discuss the incident on the Sunday morning talk shows.
“You’re talking about others who may have said various things about this, let me tell you what I think about it. It’s clear there was inadequate security out there and it’s very clear that it was inconvenient within six weeks of the election, for the administration to in effect announce, that it was a terrorist attack,” McConnell said. “I think that’s worth examining, it is going to be examined.”
But asked repeatedly if Republicans should tone down their attacks against the administration, McConnell demurred, saying only that Obama should allow for an investigation. He also couldn’t identify specific evidence of an administration cover-up:
DAVID GREGORY (HOST): But you have specific evidence that they made up a tale, or was it based on information they had at the time?
MCCONNELL: Well, the talking points clearly were not accurate. I think getting to the bottom of this is an important investigation. - Think Progress, 5/19/13
But surprisingly, McConnell didn't spend the whole Meet The Press interview bashing Obama:Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday conceded that there is no evidence that President Barack Obama or the White House were involved in the IRS' targeting of groups affiliated with the tea party. The acknowledgement follows a week of strong insinuations that the White House used the IRS to intentionally intimidate conservative groups -- talking points McConnell reiterated when making his comments.
"There is a culture of intimidation throughout the administration," McConnell said on NBC's Meet the Press. "The IRS is just the most recent example."
"Do you have any evidence that the President of the United States directed what you call a culture of intimidation at the IRS to target political opponents?" host David Gregory asked.
"I don't think we know what the facts are," McConnell replied.
"That hasn't stopped you from accusing," Gregory noted.
"We're talking about an attitude that government knows best, the nanny state is here to tell us what to do and if you start criticizing, you get targeted," McConnell said. - Huffington Post, 5/19/13
McConnell also threw in his two cents about what's going to be the big issue of the 2014 midterm elections:Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday appeared to defend the Obama administration's controversial leak investigation into the Associated Press -- an inquiry that sparked outrage after the Department of Justice subpoenaed personal and work telephone records for at least 20 of the news organization's reporters and editors.
The AP has openly questioned the legality of DOJ's actions, and civil liberties advocates have decried them as a violation of the First Amendment right to a free press.
But during an appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press," McConnell declined to attack the administration over the issue.
"Actually, I do think these national security leaks are very important and it looks to me like this is an investigation that needs to happen because national security leaks, of course, can get our agents overseas killed," McConnell said.
The AP reported in May 2012 that the CIA had thwarted a plot by an al-Qaeda affiliate to bomb a U.S.-bound airplane. It was later revealed that the would-be bomber was a U.S. spy, and the news put an end to the ongoing CIA operation. The Justice Department investigation is thought to have occurred as a result.
When pressed by host David Gregory about whether DOJ's conduct in the matter should be reviewed, McConnell reiterated that he was concerned about the leak itself. He did not criticize the administration on First Amendment grounds.
"What I am supportive of is investigating national security leaks that endanger Americans around the world," McConnell said. "Any time you're leaking national security information, if it endangers Americans around the world, it's a serious matter." - Huffington Post, 5/19/13
By the way, as we are all waiting to see if Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) will go up against McConnell, one Democrat might be ready to make the lead if Grimes declines to run:“I don’t know what the issues will be next year. If I were predicting what’s likely to be the biggest issue in the 2014 election, I think it would be Obamacare,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on NBC News’s “Meet The Press.” “I think it’s coming back big-time.”
“By the way, the IRS has a role to play in the implementation of Obamacare,” McConnell said. - Washington Post, 5/19/13
Former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Bill Garmer said Friday he is considering running for the U.S. Senate next year if Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes declines to enter the race against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.
"A lot of people have talked to me about the race," said Garmer, a Lexington lawyer, in a telephone interview. "But Alison is the center of discussion. In my mind, if she wants the nomination, she has my support. She is one of the bright stars in the Democratic party and she wants to serve Kentucky. I would be the first in line to support her."
Asked if he would consider running if Grimes decides not to run, Garmer said, "that sounds like a lawyer's question but that would be fair."
Garmer said he thinks Grimes is aware of his political sentiments "but I've not had a direct one-on-one" conversation with her about the race.
"I can't emphasize enough that I hope Alison runs," he said.
The Kentucky Democratic Party "will have a credible candidate" to run against McConnell, Garmer said.
"It's important for the party to get behind a single candidate," he said. "Registration in Kentucky is majority Democratic, and if the party gets behind a single candidate, we win." - Herald-Leader, 5/17/13