Forget the Beer, Obama and McConnell Head Straight for the Hard Stuff
President Obama has met one-on-one with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell only once or twice in six years. But after Democrats got trounced in Tuesday's midterm elections, the president said he's ready to join the Kentucky Republican for a drink.
"You know, actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell," Obama told ABC News' Jonathan Karl during a news conference today at the White House. "I don't know what his preferred drink is, but, you know, my interactions with Mitch McConnell, he - you know, he has always been very straightforward with me."
The fact that Obama doesn't know whether McConnell enjoys bourbon was a telling illustration of how little the men have interacted and know about each other personally. McConnell regularly talks about bourbon as one of his favorite drinks. Kentucky produces 95 percent of all bourbon made in the U.S.
Obama's openness to sharing a drink with the Republican leader follows a public dismissal of the idea at the 2013 White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
"Some folks still don't think I spend enough time with Congress. 'Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?' they ask," Obama said wryly in 2013. "Really? Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell? I'm sorry. I get frustrated sometimes."
Sen. McConnell responded with a tweet at the time, with a photo of an empty seat at a Kentucky bar.
- Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) April 29, 2013
American distillers and the Kentucky bourbon lobby seized on Obama's comments today, extending various offers to host or supply an Obama-McConnell "#BourbonSummit."
- DISCUS (@DistilledSpirit) November 5, 2014
- KentuckyBourbonTrail (@kybourbontrail) November 5, 2014