Thursday, November 6, 2014

McConnell says he's for Paul, but is mum on plan for 2020; reiterates vow to go after anti-coal regulations

Photo by J. Scott Applewhite, AP
"There were only two things Mitch McConnell didn't want to talk about Thursday — whether he will run for re-election in 2020 and his eventual legacy," Sam Youngman reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader after scoring the first one-to-one interview after the senator's re-election.

The big news from the story is that McConnell said he would support Sen. Rand Paul for president if he decides to run: "We've developed a very tight relationship, and I'm for him. . . . Whatever he decides to do. I don't think he's made a final decision on that. But he'll be able to count on me."

But when it comes to the 2015 Republican primary for governor, McConnell told Youngman he won't take sides, citing his failed endorsement of Trey Grayson against Paul in 2010. "I've learned my lesson there," he said. "That clearly was a mistake. We all make them, and that's one if I had to do over again I would."

McConnell reiterated that his top priority for Kentucky is "to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in" from its proposed limits on carbon-dioxide emissions, which would effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants, a major goal of President Obama. "It will be hard because the only good tool to do that ... is through the spending process, and if he feels strongly enough about it, he can veto the bill," McConnell said.

"As he rattled off the coal-producing counties he won Tuesday for the first time in his career, McConnell said he feels a 'deep responsibility' to stop the Environmental Protection Agency" from regulating CO2 to combat climate change, Youngman reports.

"I'm absolutely convinced from the people I talk to around the country, not just here but around the country, that coal has a future," he said. "The question is whether or not coal is going to have a future here. It's got a future in Europe. It's got a future in China, India, Australia. But not here? . . . It makes me very angry, and I'm going to do everything I can to try to stop them."

For another Youngman story on McConnell's view of dealing with Obama, click here.

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