Senate races

Bill Clinton: Republicans ‘trying to get you to check your brain at the door’

Former President Bill Clinton railed against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday and framed the midterm elections as more broadly about defining “the terms in which we will relate to each other and relate to the rest of the world.”

{mosads}Speaking at Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) annual steak fry fundraiser, Clinton said, while much had improved in America, one problem still prevailed: “We don’t want to be around anyone that disagrees with us.”

“We’ve got to pull this country together to push this country forward,” he went on to declare.

Speaking directly after Hillary Clinton, the former president’s contrast in style with his wife was stark. He spoke for a shorter time, extemporaneously, and spoke mostly of his time in office and the need for Democrats to vote this fall; she gave a more sweeping speech, from written notes, peppered with joking references to her potential presidential run.

In his speech, the former president decried Republicans for spending “all their time dissing the president and dumping on the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.”

“Half the time, they’re not even running against their opponents. They’re trying to get you to check your brain at the door, start foaming at the mouth,” he said. “The last thing they want you to do is think.”

And in comments reminiscent of those he’s made on the campaign trail for Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, he went into a fierce attack of McConnell.

Clinton lambasted the Senate minority leader for comments he made during a private conference of conservative donors and strategists organized by the billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch that the “worst day” of his political career was when the McCain-Feingold bill was signed into law, which was meant to bring greater transparency to campaign financing.

Clinton said that made him “profoundly sad.”

“If the worst thing that ever happened to me was an attempt to limit black bag campaign contributions? What about 9/11, what about the financial meltdown, what about the farm crisis in the 70s and what about the middle of the country’s manufacturing base hollowing out in the 80s, and what about in his native Kentucky 70 percent of the coal miners losing their jobs before the EPA ever said a word. … How could you possibly say that the worst thing that ever happened to you was not being able to black bag unlimited amounts of money?” Clinton asked.

He told the crowd that Democrats will “be in this for you when you need them,” and that, if elected, voters wouldn’t have to worry that Democratic candidates would make comments similar to McConnell’s decades down the line.

He concluded by urging the crowd to help elect Democrat Bruce Braley to the Senate to replace Harkin, who’s retiring this year, to pay tribute to the long-serving senator. And Clinton framed the midterms as a battle to define how Americans relate to each other.

“So remember, this is way more than what everybody said,” Clinton concluded.

“This is about, we are going to define the terms in which we will relate to each other and relate to the rest of the world … We are interdependent; we are in this together. Are we going to build a future together or play it winner take all? Is it going to be conflict or cooperation?”

Tags 2014 Iowa Senate Race 2014 Kentucky Senate Race Alison Lundergan Grimes Bill Clinton Bruce Braley Mitch McConnell

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