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McConnell: 'They want to take me out'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opened his campaign headquarters to a few dozen supporters on Saturday, telling those assembled that his was the only race "with any national significance" and he's expecting a fight.

"Now, the reason you're here today is cause they want to take me out. This is the only race, as I indicated, in the country with any national significance. And that's why we're up and running this far in advance," he said, according to local Kentucky news site CN2.

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McConnell packed 60 supporters into his headquarters in Louisville, Ky., nearly two years ahead of Election Day and the earliest he's launched a full campaign, according to CN2.

Facing a potential primary challenge from the right and Democrats who are eager to unseat him, McConnell assured those gathered that he was ready for 2014.

“Look, I welcome these guys,” he said. “They want to fight? We’re ready.”

But he added that he knows he doesn't "own this job," and has to "earn the respect and votes of my constituents every time."

McConnell also talked policy during his campaign launch on Saturday, charging that in order for him to be willing to work with President Obama, the president will have to moderate his views.

"This is not Bill Clinton. There's no indication [Obama's] moving to the political center. ... Obviously he wasn't my first choice, but he won. And I'm prepared to do things that I think are correct for the country, but it's going to require the president to move to the middle," he said.

And he balked at the idea of deep rifts in the Republican Party, charging that Democrats have just as many differences, but because "the Democratic Senate hadn't done anything," those differences have not yet been revealed.

That, however, will change, when both chambers pass a budget this spring, he said.

"Now they are gonna have to pass a budget  ... and what that will do will be to point out the differences among Democrats over issues like taxes and spending," he said.