McConnell: GOP won't take 'co-ownership of a bad economy'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that his fallback plan for the debt-ceiling negotiations would prevent President Obama from blaming Republicans for the economic fallout from a default.

"If we go into default, [the president] will say that Republicans are making the economy worse ... The president will have the bully pulpit to blame the Republicans for all of this destruction," McConnell said, indicating that default would hand the reelection to Obama.

"I refuse to help Barack Obama get reelected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy," McConnell said.

On Tuesday, McConnell proposed a plan that would allow Republicans to vote disapproval against raising the debt ceiling without blocking raising the debt ceiling or causing a government default.

McConnell defended his proposal, which would not guarantee the spending cuts that Republicans have requested, as a second-choice option. "We need to do the next best thing and that's clarify the differences between the parties," he said, looking ahead to the next election, which he hopes will be a "referendum" on the president.

McConnell told conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham that the president has only offered Republicans two options: either "sign onto a bad deal that raises taxes or go into a default."

"Not on my watch," he said.

McConnell laughed off the opposition to his proposal from within his own party. "There are always differences among Republicans," he said. "There's a good deal of conservative support for what I laid out yesterday."

He said that Republicans did not want to accept a "smoke and mirrors" deal. "I bet there won't be a single Republican vote to raise the debt ceiling at the end of the day."