Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) sounded a careful note Sunday about Republican chances, but insisted that a GOP takeover of Congress would be done on tax-and-spend arguments rather than Democrats' highly publicized ethics committee woes.
The two Republican leaders in Congress appeared jointly for the first time on "Fox News Sunday," where they were asked about their confidence in a poll last week that showed the GOP expanding its lead in a generic ballot from four points to 11.
"They're not going to go down easily," the Senate minority leader said of the Democrats.
Boehner echoed the sentiment. "I think we're having a good year but we've got a lot of work to do," he said, stressing that Republicans were sent home over the recess with instructions to "talk about the better solutions that Republicans have been offering over the last 18 months."
While slamming the Democrats over their "job-killing" agenda, McConnell defended last week's blocking of the small-business bill in the Senate, calling the legislation "son of TARP."
Like the bailouts before it, McConnell said, the small-business bill "puts the government in a position of taking equity positions. ... That's not the way out. The way out is to kill this job-killing tax increase that's coming."
Though expressing confidence that Republicans' best campaign strategy is to focus on Democrats' economic policy, Boehner didn't leave the ethics dilemma — possibly two ethics trials for House Democrats in the run-up to midterm elections — untouched.
"I cannot believe it's taken some two years to investigate the Charlie Rangel case," the House minority leader said. "The swamp is alive and well."