ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell today warned that if the Obama administration expects cooperation from the GOP, then the onus is on Democrats to change their ways.
“Tuesday’s election was not about Republicans. It was about Democrats. They got a report card. They got an F,” McConnell told a friendly audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington. “We’re not going to misread the mandate. You didn’t see Speaker-to-be John Boehner or myself spiking the ball in the end zone, acting like, you know, this was about us. Candidly, it was about them and everybody knows that. So the mandate, if you will, for change, is directed at the other guys.”
“If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction,” he said.
McConnell defended his recent comments that the GOP’s top political goal for the next two years will be to deny President Obama a second term in office.
“The fact is, 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 these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” he said. “We can hope the president will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election, but we can’t plan on it.”
Despite Republicans taking back control of the House on Tuesday, some prominent members of the GOP such as Trent Lott and Lindsey Graham have complained that the party could have flipped the Senate, too, if Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint had not pushed Tea Party candidates in states such as Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, where Democrats ultimately emerged victorious. But today McConnell said Tuesday had still been “a pretty good day” since Republicans won at least a half dozen seats in the Senate.
“We will have at least 47 [seats]. I think that’s a pretty good day and, you know, you can go back and second-guess about whether you could have had a better candidate here or there, but the primaries decided those outcomes and we’re pretty happy with the outcome,” McConnell said. “And I would remind everyone there are 23 Democrats and only nine Republicans up in the next cycle. We have a realistic shot at getting into the majority in the very near future.”
In the meantime, predicted the Kentucky lawmaker, Senate Democrats may start crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans.
“I think the most interesting thing to watch in the next Congress is how many Democrats start voting with us,” he said. “You know, we saw on the tax debate that did not occur back in September that there was bipartisan opposition to raising taxes. I think what we’re more likely to see in the next Congress is a unified set of Republicans and Democrats peeling off to support our initiatives.”