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Republican Senate Minority Leader Says Obama Needs to be Defeated in 2012

Senate Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell delivers remarks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, 4 November 2010
Senate Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell delivers remarks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, 4 November 2010
Cindy Saine

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Barack Obama needs to be voted out of office in 2012 so that Republicans can undo many of his policies, which McConnell describes as damaging to the country.

In remarks to the conservative Heritage Foundation research institute in Washington McConnell said Tuesday's mid-term election victory for Republicans showed clearly that Americans reject President Barack Obama's policies.  

Republicans won majority control of the House of Representatives, but Democrats still hold a narrow majority in the Senate.  The new Congress will convene in January.

McConnell said he had been criticized for saying recently that the Republicans' top political goal over the next two years is to make sure that President Obama is a one-term president, instead of reducing unemployment or seeking to boost economic growth.

"But the fact is that if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill, to end the bailouts, cut spending and shrink the size and scope of  government, the only way to do all of those things is to put someone in the White House who will not veto any of those things."

McConnell said Republicans cannot plan on the president listening to voters and cooperating with Republicans.

In a news conference Wednesday at the White House, President Obama said he had a different interpretation of the message voters were sending their elected leaders.

"Over the last two years we have made progress, but clearly too many Americans have not felt that progress yet, and they told us that yesterday.  And as president, I take responsibility for that."

Mr. Obama said voters want their leaders to focus on the economy and jobs.  He said he is committed to finding common ground with the Republican Party majority in the House.  But the president said he is not open to major changes to health-care reform legislation passed earlier this year.

McConnell said Republicans would fight the health-care legislation as hard as they could. "On health care, that means we can and should propose and vote on straight repeal, repeatedly," insisted he.

McConnell said since President Obama has veto power, the Republican-controlled House should also seek to withhold funding from implementation of the health-care legislation.

Political analyst Norman Ornstein of the Conservative American Enterprise Institute says he sees the president and Democrats on a collision course with Republicans in Congress over a variety of issues. He believes that major budget battles could lead to at least one shutdown of the government.

In 1994, Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich had a showdown on government spending with former Democratic President Bill Clinton, temporarily shutting down the federal government.

McConnell said Senate Republicans fundamentally disagree with President Obama on some aspects of foreign policy, suggesting the president has been too critical of the United States in some of his speeches abroad.

"Whether it is a good idea to go abroad and, you know, kind of suggest we have been wrong on a variety of different things," said McConnell.

President Obama has invited top congressional leaders, including Senator McConnell and the presumptive next House Speaker, Republican John Boehner, to the White House on November 18th, to "talk substantively" about moving forward.

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