McConnell: GOP’s ‘only’ option is to defeat Obama in 2012

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) will say Thursday that defeating President Obama is Republicans’ “only way” to truly halt his agenda.

McConnell’s comments are a doubling-down on his remark last week that Republicans’ top priority during the next two years would be to defeat Obama.

“Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office,” McConnell will say Thursday during a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

“But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” the top Senate Republican will add.

McConnell’s comments will add to speculation that Washington could enter two years of gridlock with Republicans in control of the House. The GOP won at least 60 House seats in Tuesday’s midterm election, along with six Senate seats. A handful of races in both chambers remain undecided. 

GOP leaders in Congress are now forced to adjust to a period of governing, when they’ll face increased expectations to contribute to the political process. The White House has said it can’t expect to have a productive relationship with GOP figures like McConnell so long as he’s made clear that his No. 1 priority is ensuring the president can’t win reelection in 2012. 

McConnell outlined areas where Republicans might venture over the next two years, including repeated attempts to repeal healthcare reform, increased oversight of the Obama administration and pushes for cuts in spending.

The Kentucky senator challenged Obama to meet the GOP on its proposals, but said he wasn’t necessarily counting on it.

“We can hope the president will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election,” McConnell will say. “But we can’t plan on it.”

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