By Adele Hampton - 03/15/13 02:39 PM EDT
Some speakers at CPAC — notably Texas Gov. Rick Perry — have criticized the party’s last two losing presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. Perry said Thursday that the party failed to nominate conservative candidates to run against Obama.
A split has also emerged between establishment Republicans such as McCain and Tea Party-backed conservatives such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who addressed CPAC on Thursday.
McConnell suggested the infighting is hurting his party, especially as Democrats prepare to extend Obama’s legacy by holding the Senate and winning back the House in 2014.
“The folks who won last year’s election didn’t waste a whole lot of time on a victory lap. They got right back at it. These guys are well-organized, they’re well-financed, they’re ruthless and if you don’t put this election behind us soon, they’re going to eat our lunch again,” McConnell said. “It is time to unite.”
For more on McConnell's speech, click here.