From Roll Call:
A meeting of Senate Republicans on Wednesday grew tense as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told his members he could have gotten a better deal on nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file Republicans.
McConnell’s tone, according to multiple sources, implied that he had been kept in the dark about the talks between some in his own ranks and Democrats. However, those same Republicans say they kept McConnell updated throughout their negotiating process.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., got so frustrated with McConnell’s presentation of events, that he called… (a word abbreviated b.s.) loud enough for the room to hear, nearly a half-dozen sources said. The heated exchange underscored the “buyer’s remorse” among some Republicans, especially leaders, one senior Republican said on background.
Corker’s office did not comment for this story.
By Roger Alford, Associated Press
FRANKFORT, Ky. — U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is gearing up for a tough re-election fight next year in Kentucky.
He wants to prevent one, too.
McConnell is trying to head off a GOP primary challenge by cozying up to the tea party. He’s also trying to scare off potential Democratic contenders — actress Ashley Judd is one — by providing a glimpse of his no-holds-barred political tactics.
The strategy seems to be working, so far. No serious Republican opponent has emerged. Democrats haven’t fielded a candidate yet, though Judd, a Kentucky native who lives in Tennessee, is considering a run. She would have to re-establish a residence in Kentucky before she could challenge McConnell.
The lack of an opponent hasn’t kept McConnell from sounding an alarm over his potential vulnerability. It’s a tactic rooted in reality and intended to help raise money.
“We know that President Obama’s allies in Washington are doing everything they can to find a candidate to run against me in a primary or a general election,” McConnell said in a statement to The Associated Press. “They’ve made no secrets about their willingness to back anybody right, left, or center to get me out of their way.”
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Actress Ashley Judd isn’t ruling out a run for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.
Democrats have been promoting Judd, a former Kentuckian now living in Tennessee, as a challenger to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014.
In a statement Friday, Judd, a Democratic political activist, sidestepped the question of whether she would re-establish a residence in Kentucky and run against McConnell.
“I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I’m very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let’s focus on coming together to keep moving America’s families, and especially our kids, forward,” she said.
Judd, a regular at University of Kentucky basketball games and the Kentucky Derby, has starred in such movies as “Kiss the Girls,” ”Double Jeopardy,” ”Where the Heart Is,” and “High Crimes.” She is married to three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and is an annual spectator at the race.
So far, no Democrats have stepped forward to challenge McConnell, a political powerhouse in his home state who already has $6.8 million in the bank for his re-election campaign.
Even so, the Louisville Republican is certain to be targeted again by Democrats, just as he was in 2008 when he won re-election to a fifth term and gained the distinction of being Kentucky’s longest serving senator. McConnell spent some $20 million on his last election, beating Democrat Bruce Lunsford, a wealthy Kentucky businessman, by 6 percentage points.
The campaign slogan President Barack Obama rode to victory three years ago is one Republicans should flip on its head in 2012, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told a large crowd of Republicans in Nashville on Friday.
More from Michael Cass’ account of the State’smen’s Dinner speakers:
Daniels said the president’s campaign slogan, “Change You Can Believe In,” is “an empty phrase” that “can mean whatever the listener invests in it.”…
“I think we as Republicans, at least figuratively, need to turn that phrase,” he said. “We need to really present ourselves in Indiana and Tennessee and places elsewhere as people who favor change that believes in you, that believes you are an individual of dignity and a person who is fully up to the task of leading your own life, and we want you to have the maximum amount of your earned income to keep.”
Daniels, who lived near Bristol, Tenn., as a young child, was the keynote speaker at the Tennessee Republican Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner, which drew about 1,000 elected officials and party activists to the Nashville Convention Center. His appearance came less than two months after he decided not to run for the Republican nomination for president next year.
Daniels, who was a senior adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, said he wouldn’t reconsider his decision, alluding to the family concerns he cited when he announced it in May.
“It would involve the changing of several hearts,” he told reporters before the dinner. “There are other ways to contribute.”
Daniels’ main contribution to American life has been an attack on working-class people, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said in a statement Wednesday.
“Tennessee Republicans have a surplus of bad ideas that make it harder for working people to get by or for their kids to get a decent education — there’s no need to steal inspiration from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, the man who wrote the failed economic policies that led us into Bush’s recession,” Forrester said.
Note: See also Mike Morrow’s report, which makes available video excerpts from several speeches. An excerpt from his story:
The night played more like an affirmation of what the Republicans had accomplished rather than what they were about to do.
There were 1,150 people at the Nashville Convention Center, compared to 1,400 in 2010, when there had been an electric atmosphere and an historic sea change in Tennessee politics. The crowd had been more like 900 in 2009.
The dinner Friday raised $500,000 for the state GOP, according to party chairman Chris Devaney. Those funds will go toward Republican campaigns in 2012, when Devaney hopes they can deliver a “walkout-proof” majority in the Legislature, meaning the Democrats wouldn’t even have enough members to deny Republicans a quorum. Two more Republicans in each chamber would do the trick.
The Tennessean also posted a video of clips from the remarks of Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker HERE..
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Republican Party says the keynote speaker its annual Statesmen’s Dinner is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a potential presidential candidate.
The party’s annual fundraiser is scheduled for July 15 in Nashville.
Daniels said on Tuesday that it won’t be long before he decides whether to run for president, but that he doesn’t have a timetable for making an announcement regarding the 2012 race.
The former White House budget director is being recruited by Republicans who hope his fiscal conservatism would appeal to voters alarmed by the national debt and big government.
The party press release is below.