Friday, July 11, 2014

McConnell draws applause from bipartisan group of county-government leaders

By Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

No U.S. state has suffered more under President Obama than Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell told leaders of the state's county governments in a well-received speech in Louisville Friday.

"No state in America has fared worse under this administration than ours, and it starts with the war on coal," McConnell told the joint convention of the Kentucky County Judge-Executives Association and the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association.

The bipartisan group was quiet as McConnell laid out his familiar litany on coal, but applauded when he offered a simple formula for solving the crisis of unaccompanied minors streaming into the country from Central America: "Secure the border, treat the children humanely and return them immediately." He acknowledged, "It would probably take a change in law to do that."

McConnell said "a significant part" of Obama's request for $3.7 billion to resolve the border crisis is for the Department of Health and Human Services, "leading me to have the suspicion that they expect these kids to be here for a long time." Typically, he said, undocumented immigrants are given a court date, released, "and a significant percentage of them never come back" to court.

McConnell said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, in speaking to reporters after her appearance before the group the day before, "seemed not to understand the difference" in Obama's request and the immigration-reform bill that passed the Senate last year, with him in opposition. He said the bill's "provisions with regard to border security were totally inadequate." For video of his immigration remarks, from cn|2's "Pure Politics," click here.

In his initial remarks about his Democratic opponent, McConnell said, "Shes a new face, but she's a new face for the status quo, for no change at all. A new face for the same majority leader, a new face to support the president, a new face for the status quo. So if you're satisfied with the condition of the country an Kentucky, maybe you think that's the right vote for you."

Noting that the officials in the audience are elected on a partisan basis, he said, "My suspicion is no matter what ticket you ran on you're probably not happy with the condition of this country." Earlier, he said knew that many in the crowd are "of the same party as the president. You don't talk about it much anymore, but I know you are."

The senator's closing argument was that replacing him with Grimes would mean "a dramatic reduction in influence in the Senate" for Kentucky, "not to mention a vote for Harry Reid [for majority leader] and the status quo in the Senate. I think it's time to change America." That drew another round of applause from the bipartisan crowd.

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