Republicans still have a shot at stopping health reform legislation in the Senate, their leader said Monday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested the GOP might be able to stop the Senate's health reform bill after having sounded a pessimistic note after this past Saturday's successful vote to begin debate on the measure.
"I think we've still got a shot," McConnell said during an appearance on the conservative host Sean Hannity's radio show Monday afternoon.
McConnell stopped short of predicting aloud what it would take to block the bill, but sent strong signals that it might lie in targeting centrist Democrats with reservations about the public option and other elements of the legislation.
"I think particularly your listeners who live in Arkansas, Nebraska, Louisiana and maybe Indiana need to be communicating very aggressively with their Democratic senator," McConnell told Hannity, not subtly referencing fence-sitting Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).
McConnell sounded more dour in the wake of Saturday's successful motion to proceed, in which all Democrats stuck together to begin debate on the bill.
“Well over 95 percent of the time, I’m told, when we approve a motion to proceed to a bill, the bill is ultimately approved,” the GOP leader told reporters. “Most of the time, when we proceed on the bill, the bill eventually passes.”
But on Sunday, two of those senators -- Nelson and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- said they would join Republicans in filibustering the bill if it remains in its current form by the time of a final vote.
"These moderate Democrats are going to have to choose between their constituents and the president," McConnell told Hannity.
He said he also saw many Democratic senators lining up before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to ask for favors like Landrieu had allegedly received for her vote on Saturday.
"I think he's going to have a long line outside his door with people asking, 'What about my state?'" McConnell said.