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McConnell and other GOP lawmakers get hisses at inauguration

January 20, 2009 | | Comments 11

By Halimah Abdullah – habdullah@mcclatchydc.com

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans received a reception Tuesday that rivaled the frigid winter weather as thousands of inauguration attendees greeted GOP officials with boos, chants, hisses and — in some cases — stony silence.

The chilly display toward McConnell, who was flanked by other high-ranking Republicans as he took the stage at President Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony, was a momentary break in the otherwise jubilant spirit of the day.

The reception spoke volumes about the awkward position members of Kentucky’s predominantly Republican congressional delegation find themselves as Obama enters the honeymoon phase of his presidency.

With the economy and the nation’s housing market in a free fall, unemployment at record highs and a battle brewing over an Obama-backed stimulus package that policy experts say could reach $1 trillion, Republicans feel they have been made the scapegoat for many of the nation’s woes.

“Anytime a party has been in power and had as many problems as the country has, when you have difficulties like that it’s natural to pin the blame on that party,” said Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Lexington, “I’m sure the truth is more complicated than that, but they have been in power for eight years.”

Still, most Republican lawmakers eagerly embraced the symbolism of Obama’s place in history as the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office and have pledged to work in a bipartisan manner to resolve the country’s financial woes. On Tuesday, as he did following the November elections, McConnell issued a statement congratulating Obama on his win.

“Inauguration Day is a day for all Americans to celebrate. For more than two centuries, the peaceful transfer of power between U.S. presidents has served as an inspiration to millions here and around the world,” McConnell said. “And on this Inauguration Day, we witness another inspiring event as America’s first African American president takes the oath of office from the Capitol steps. I congratulate President Obama and his family on this historic day.”

Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset, who was recently named the top Republican on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee for a fourth term, underscored the importance of the day while acknowledging the challenges ahead.

“I congratulate President Barack Obama on this historic day and wish him well as he takes on this immense responsibility,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him as we face the challenges that lie ahead and hope that he will join me in fighting for Kentucky’s Fifth District.”

Republicans need to demonstrate that they are willing and capable of working in a bipartisan manner, said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. The nation is at a critical crossroad and the electorate is tired of the type of political rhetoric that punctuated previous sessions of Congress.

“Obama is going to have overwhelming support coming in,” Sabato said. “He’s probably going to have a decent honeymoon. It’s going to be tougher for McConnell to hold his forces together and stop this very popular new president and (the Democratic) majority from getting everything they want.”

Filed Under: Barack ObamaFeaturedFederal GovernmentKY-5thKY-6thMitch McConnell

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  1. george says:

    Those present disrespect the president when they hiss at anyone that would be a part of the ceremony. How rude, but perhaps speaks volumns of these victors.

  2. bigd says:

    Hopefully, President Obama will surely remove Mitch’s wife from her position overseeing coal miners of which she probrably doesn’t have a clue about.

  3. kprice64 says:

    Although I disagree with many of the politicians that represent the GOP, I find it in poor taste to boo them at Obama’s swearing in. There is a time and a place to show your displeasure and this was not the place.

  4. Jen says:

    I did not see the hissing which IMO is disrespectful regardless who
    It is. I for one will never support McConnell, some how he doesn’t represent Ky as he should. Congrats President Obama you have a
    Tough journey ahead of you!

  5. leatherneck says:

    hey bigd, mitch’s mama son’is history,but now she receives a pension from the taxpayers.
    “To the victors go the spoils” Not in this victory,so guess we will just settle for being rude and HOPE the journey improves.

  6. Jack Rose says:

    Mitch McConnell represents the citizens of Kentucky extremely well. It is too bad that for the sake of idiolatry many insult their own elected officials. Those who hissed on the 20th, will in the end hiss those they cheered.

  7. Bill Adkins says:

    Mitch McConnell and Bush and the other Republicans have earned the scorn of Americans and Kentuckians. It’s why there’s now a 59 seat majority in the Senate and a great majority in the House and why Obama is now President Obama. Americans, rightly, perceive the Republicans as the problem and no part of the solution.

  8. C says:

    Hey! …those hisses & boos were just communication from the OTHER weezels & vermin, like McCon nell, Rogers & Bunning, that stink-up DC. They are just trying to keep-in touch! I think TERM LIMITS should be imposed & sadly, our reps are prime example why. Their salaries should be tied to attendance/ participation & no raise unless US is out of debt. It doesn’t matter what party you are in; if you suck, you suck… Commonsense isn’t common…

  9. BimBeau says:

    McConnell is an evil little twit. He will filabuster, lie, cheat, steal and squirm to re-enforce the power structure he represents, which (by the way) isn\’t the people of Kentucky.
    The delusional populace that keeps him in office and apologizes for his putid politics need to get a life or move to Russia or China where their sort of politics and duplicity are really appreciated.
    .

  10. [...] hiss: Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, and fellow Republicans were greeted with “boos, chants and hisses&#8221… upon taking the stage at the [...]

  11. There must be something good about Mitch and Jim. The voters of Kentucky keep sending the conservative Senators and most of the Republican Congressmen back to Washington as well as to our state senate. Bush got the blame for the economy, but the tunnel vision liberals don’t like to remember that Clinton and a Democrat Congress along with Dodd and Franks created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which required banks to lend money to people who could not afford it. When a person with a $50,000 income could buy a 500,000 home common sense says at sometime he is going to lose it. That was his fault and the banks fault, but if they had not loaned them the money they could have been fined. That is liberalism and socialism. That is what you are going to get for the next four years. Obama wants out of Iraq, but increase the military in Afghanistan. He’ll find out what Russian did after spending ten years there. In the end we will have four more years of Jimmy Carter, the worst president we ever had. He didn’t do anything, PERIOD.