McConnell on Democratic criticism: 'I plead guilty'

McConnell on Democratic criticism: 'I plead guilty'
© Greg Nash
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony McCarthy, McConnell say they didn't watch Jan. 6 hearing MORE (R-Ky.) is embracing his role as antagonist of the Democratic presidential debates. 
 
"Being criticized for stopping the liberal agenda and confirming conservatives judges, I love it," McConnell told a small group of reporters on Thursday, asked about the criticism of him during the first Democratic debate on Wednesday night in Miami. 
 
He added that "the things they are criticizing me for, I plead guilty to." 
 
McConnell's comments come as he's leaned into his role as the "Grim Reaper" for progressive policies, including "Medicare for All" and the Green New Deal.
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"If I'm still the majority leader in the Senate think of me as the Grim Reaper. None of that stuff is going to pass," McConnell said in April while speaking to community leaders in Owensboro, Ky.
 
McConnell, who is up for reelection, was mentioned by name several times on Wednesday night, including when Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause and wipe out K per borrower Senate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary MORE (D-Mass.) was asked if she had a "plan" to deal with McConnell if he remains majority leader in 2021. 
 
"Short of a Democratic majority in the Senate, you better understand the fight still goes on. It starts in the White House and it means that everybody we energize in 2020 stays on the front lines come January 2021," Warren said.
 
Warren and McConnell have locked horns, including in 2017 when Republicans voted to temporarily block Warren from speaking on the Senate floor after she gave a speech critical of then-Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE (R-Ala.). The back-and-forth gave rise to the "she persisted" phrase, because McConnell said Warren "was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharOvernight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Four senators call on Becerra to back importation of prescription drugs from Canada Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, also blamed McConnell during Wednesday night's Democratic debate for blocking election security bills. Legislation to bolster the nation's elections has hit a wall amid pushback from Senate Republicans and the White House despite special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's report. 

And Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada Here's what Congress is reading at the beach this summer MORE said he would deal with climate change by "taking away the filibuster from Mitch McConnell.”