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   Mitch McConnell: '12 could be '80

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6/22/2011 9:35 pm

Author

MANU RAJU

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News

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Entered 6/22/2011, Updated 6/22/2011

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"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks the Republican Party should settle on a 2012 theme: Barack Obama made the country worse. Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast briefing Wednesday morning, the wily Republican leader tried to downplay widespread criticism of the strength of the Republican presidential field, saying that it reminded him of 1979 when the Jimmy Carter White House wasn’t worried about a GOP field that eventually produced Ronald Reagan. “The common view at that point was that it was a pretty bad field,” he said. “I think one of these candidates is going to get on a roll, they’re going to start winning and they’re going to look a lot better [later] than they looked today.” McConnell said he couldn’t “think of a time when [GOP primary voters] haven’t nominated somebody who people didn’t feel could handle the job and as long as they do that and I’m confident they will, then it will be a referendum on the president and his performance,” he said. “If the presidential election were today, I think our theme would be: He made it worse.” A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee pushed back against McConnell’s proposed theme, arguing the economy was contracting at the end of the Bush administration, shedding millions of jobs in the final months. The economy is still recovering, Brad Woodhouse said, “but – to suggest that the economy is in worse shape today than it was at end of the Bush years is patently false – and Mitch McConnell knows it.”


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