We can confirm that Sen. McConnell’s office reported this matter to us and we are looking into it.Paul Bresson, FBI spokesman • Confirming that the FBI is investigating the circumstances of a recording released by Mother Jones today, of a private meeting between Senator Mitch McConnell and his aides regarding a possible Senate challenge from Ashley Judd (she decided not to run in March). In the audio, McConnell refers to his campaign as in a “Whac-a-Mole” phase, saying “when anybody sticks their head up, do them out.” His aides subsequently talk of exploiting Judd’s views on religion and consumerism, as well as her depression and a past suicide attempt. Upon the release of the recordings, McConnell asserted that it was a “bugging” by “Nixonian” liberals, but we don’t actually know anything yet about who released this, how, and why. But that may not last for long if the FBI’s investigations bear any fruit. source
I have spoken to so many Kentuckians over these last few months who expressed their desire for a fighter for the people & new leader. While that won’t be me at this time, I will continue to work as as hard as I can to ensure the needs of Kentucky families are met by returning this Senate seat to whom it rightfully belongs: The people & their needs, dreams, and great potential.Actress Ashley Judd • Writing on her Twitter account about why she won’t be running for the Senate in Kentucky in 2014, despite much speculation that she’d take on Mitch McConnell. “Thanks for even considering me as that person & know how much I love our Commonwealth,” she added. The decision came after days of speculation that she was ready to announce at any time that she was running. (One group even made an ad attacking her.) The about-face is a bit of a surprise in that context.
Instead of directing his cabinet secretaries to trim waste in their departments, he’s going to go after first responders. And teachers. And almost any other sympathetic constituency you can think of. And he’ll arbitrarily close parks and monuments too – all to force Americans to accept higher taxes. He’ll claim his hands are tied.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell • Throwing tough words at President Obama regarding the sequestration deadline, which passed at midnight without a deal in sight. House Speaker John Boehner, while calling the cuts “not smart,” instead pointed out that his own party was on the hook to find a solution … but it hadn’t.
We do not have, at 12 o’clock today, a Secretary of Defense.Harry Reid, revealing today that Senate Republicans have rounded up the 41 votes necessary to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel to the Defense Department. Today is outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s last day on the job; if Republicans make good on their threats during Hagel’s confirmation vote tomorrow—and this is certainly a big “if”—it will be the first time a nominee for Secretary of Defense has been filibustered, and the country will be left without a Defense Secretary. A couple of Republican senators have threatened to block Hagel’s nomination unless the Obama Administration releases more information about the attack last year on the American consulate in Benghazi, an incident with which Hagel was wholly uninvolved. A Hagel spokesman said today that despite the threats of his former colleagues, the Nebraska Republican is not withdrawing his nomination. source
We are doing a lot of reaching out to some of the tea party folks across the state. What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual.Keith Rouda, a field organizer with the liberal PACS MoveOn.org and Progress Kentucky, on the shared interests of Democratic donors and tea partiers in Kentucky. Both groups want Mitch McConnell out of the Senate, albiet for different reasons, and so they’ve struck up somewhat of an alliance. Apparently, Democratic donors have told state tea party groups that they’ll help bankroll the primary campaign of a credible right-wing challenger to McConnell, and one state Democratic group has already circulated petitions urging potential candidates to challenge McConnell in the primary. This is the exact same tactic Democrats used in Missouri last year, and it worked out pretty well for Claire McCaskill. source
This may be a moment in Senate history, when a senator made a proposal that, when given an opportunity for a vote on that proposal, filibustered his own proposal…I don’t think this has ever happened before.Sen. Dick Durbin, after Mitch McConnell’s latest scheme blew up in his face. McConnell introduced legislation today that would allow the president to unilaterally raise the debt limit, suspecting that Democrats wouldn’t have the guts to vote for it. When it became clear that Democrats did indeed have the votes to pass the bill with a simple majority, McConnell filibustered it, preventing its passage. The United States Senate, ladies and gentlemen. source
The major development of the meeting was we made it clear our position is … we should freeze tax rates for the middle class and raise rates on the top [income] families. It was notable that neither Boehner nor McConnell shot that idea down.A Democratic aide • Speaking about the “fiscal cliff” meeting between President Obama, Senate
I’ve spent the morning reading various endorsements of Mitt Romney for president, and they all say the same thing: Mitch McConnell and John Boehner’s strategy worked.Ezra Klein • In a new post on WonkBlog, commenting on a number of Romney endorsements that surprised him — most notably the Des Moines Register’s decision to endorse Mitt Romney, after endorsing the Democratic candidate in the previous five races. In his piece, Klein challenges the paper’s suggestion that President Obama was ineffective when dealing with Congress. He stops short of giving President Obama an endorsement, and recognizes the leadership abilities of Romney, but Klein is not unclear about his feelings on this particular line of logic. “There are good reasons to endorse Mitt Romney for president,” said Klein, adding, “But if you want the political system to work more smoothly, endorsing McConnell and Boehner’s strategy over the last four years is folly.”
Mitt Romney has earned our party’s nomination and now deserves the support of every American still committed to government that serves the people rather than rules over them,Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels • Offering a firm endorsement for Mitt Romney. Now that Mitt’s the likely nominee, Daniels and other noted Republicans — John Boehner and Mitch McConnell — have finally chosen to make their Mitt endorsements public. Daniels is particularly notable, as more than a few people wanted him to run for president.
» Jumping the gun? Harry Reid’s spokesman says that it “sounds like Sen. McConnell is getting a little ahead of himself.” Republicans’ chances of retaking the Senate got worse last month when Olympia Snowe unexpectedly announced her retirement, and worse still when Bob Kerrey decided to run for his old seat in Nebraska several weeks ago. Oh, and Elizabeth Warren is now polling ahead of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Obviously, a lot can—and will—change between now and November, but McConnell’s comments should be probably be seen more as a PR move to invigorate the Republican base than anything else.