McConnell's Message: On The Budget, The 'Missing Person Was The President'

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., checked out the Republican Convention stage in Tampa on Sunday. The backdrop is in honor of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who died over the weekend. i i

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., checked out the Republican Convention stage in Tampa on Sunday. The backdrop is in honor of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who died over the weekend. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., checked out the Republican Convention stage in Tampa on Sunday. The backdrop is in honor of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who died over the weekend.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., checked out the Republican Convention stage in Tampa on Sunday. The backdrop is in honor of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who died over the weekend.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Political conventions, even ones that have been delayed a day by a tropical storm, are all about getting a party's message out to the nation.

Minutes ago in the Tampa Convention Center, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky used a sit-down with USA Today and Gannett correspondents to restate one key argument Republicans have been making and will continue to make through Election Day:

"The missing person" when it came time to cut deficit reduction deals, "was the president of the United States," McConnell said.

Ticking off a series of accomplishments reached by past presidents who were faced with a Congress controlled by their opponents — Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill reaching a deal to raise the Social Security retirement age, for example, McConnell said "don't tell me" that deals can't be reached when there's a divided government.

It was Obama, McConnell claimed, who decided to "double down on the left" in the past two years.

As for his own comment around that time that he would work to make Obama a one-term president, the senator noted that he also said Republicans still needed to work with the administration on some of the nation's pressing problems even as they mounted an opposition.

As we've written before, both sides have done some "trash talking" in recent years about budget deficits.

And Democrats have been quick to say it's McConnell who has been standing in the way of deals. We suspect they'll make that point again next week in Charlotte.

There's more from McConnell over at USA Today's On Politics blog.

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