NPR News Interviews Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell In an interview airing on this evening's edition of All Things Considered, NPR's Kelsey Snell interviewed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
NPR logo NPR News Interviews Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

NPR News Interviews Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks to the Senate floor for a vote, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

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Alex Brandon/AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks to the Senate floor for a vote, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 in Washington.

Alex Brandon/AP

Thursday, October 11; Washington, D.C. – In an interview airing on this evening's edition of All Things Considered, NPR's Kelsey Snell interviewed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Stations and broadcast times are available at NPR.org/stations.

Excerpts of the interview are available below and can be cited with attribution to NPR. A full transcript will be made available after the interview has aired. Audio clips are available upon request, please email mediarelations@npr.org.

When asked about the likelihood of Republicans maintaining a majority in the Senate, McConnell said;
"I stay out of the prediction business. I'm increasingly optimistic that we may hold our majority. I think it makes a huge difference. And one of the good things about the Supreme Court fight as it underscores for Republican voters that the Senate is in the personnel business. Lose the Senate and the project of confirming judges is over for the last two years a president Trump. That I think is a scary prospect to the people who like what we've been doing on the judge project and I hope will help us hold on to our majority."

When discussing which issues are resonating with voters including tax reform and Supreme Court nominations; McConnell said;
"As of the last week or so, the hottest issue in our races has been the Kavanaugh nomination. And we've seen a surge in interest among Republican voters. We knew the Democrats were fired up. They have been all year. No question about that. But what we are now seeing is that the enthusiasm and energy on the Republican side comes close to matching the Democratic side and given the states that we're competing in that's really good news for us..."

"Actually it comes right on the eve of the election. I mean we're only three weeks out. The timing for a surge really couldn't have been better. Not that this was all planned you understand, but I mean it was a great break for us in terms of energizing our own people."

When asked about calling the Democrats an "angry mob, McConnell said;
"I declared the mob an angry mob. That was not what I said about our Democrat colleagues. I do think that they encouraged what went on..."

"We were literally under assault ourselves. Trailing members for their homes, getting in their faces here in the Capitol. An effort clearly to try and intimidate us. And one of the reasons I was so proud of the result last Saturday on Judge Kavanaugh is that we stood up for two things. We stood up to the mob and we also stood up for the presumption of innocence in this country."

When discussing the Republican voter gap with respect to women and minority voters, McConnell said;
"Well I don't think there's any question that we would like to be doing better than we are with Hispanic Americans, although some of the most prominent Hispanic politicians in America happen to be Republicans..."

"With regard to women voters we've always had something of a gender gap. It's never been as wide as it is now. We had two great women running for the Senate this year. Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee and Martha McSally in Arizona..."

"I think we can improve our position with women voters and with Hispanic voters for sure. With African-Americans we haven't been able to make much headway although I think it is noteworthy that Tim Scott (South Carolina's first African American senator) is a member of our conference..."

"And he's arguably the most popular politician in South Carolina. So there is hope with African-American voters as well. But I'm more optimistic about closing the gender gap and by improving our position with Hispanics."

When asked about the recent stock market drop, and Trump's criticism of the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates; McConnell said;
"Well I can only speak for myself. I generally avoid commenting on the market. It goes up and it goes down. Or giving the Fed advice."


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