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At Tea Party rally, Mitch McConnell viewed with ‘mixed feelings’

August 21, 2012 | | Comments 7

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s two Republican U.S. senators — one a Tea Party darling and the other whose ties to the conservative movement are tenuous at best — lambasted President Barack Obama’s health care law Tuesday at a Tea Party rally.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Bowling Green, who rode into office in 2010 on a Tea Party tidal wave, told a crowd of more than 300 on the steps of Kentucky’s Capitol that he still thinks “the whole damn thing is unconstitutional.”

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the federal Affordable Care Act earlier this summer.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Louisville, who has been visiting hospitals across the state to criticize the health plan he calls “Obamacare,” said his first job will be to repeal the plan if he is elected Senate majority leader next year.

Paul and McConnell were greeted enthusiastically by the crowd at the rally, and spoke highly of each other. But some Tea Party activists expressed reservations about McConnell.

Lexington Tea Party activist Mica Sims said McConnell’s relationship with the movement that advocates limited government has “always been rocky.” But she quickly said that she was pleased that McConnell “was sticking to the issues today that the Tea Party embraces.”

“To the extent that Sen. McConnell speaks the right way and does the right thing, his relationship to the Tea Party can be very good,” said party activist David Adams of Lexington. “We don’t really care about personalities. We care about principles.”

Carol Ferriell, vice chairman of the Spencer County Tea Party, said she has “mixed feelings” about McConnell.

“I don’t necessarily agree with all his big spending, but he’s on board with us against Obamacare. I’ll take him today,” she said.

Frank Harris of Lexington, who is aligned with the Tea Party movement and with a group called Campaign for Liberty, did not look kindly on McConnell.

“I’m saying Mitch is late to the Tea Party,” Harris said. “He supported the bailout of the banks. He is big government. I think he’s feeling the heat from the people who want to rein in government.”

Paul and McConnell left the rally immediately after they spoke to attend a fund-raiser at Republican Party headquarters and did not take questions from reporters.

During his speech, Paul praised McConnell for been more vocal against Obama than anyone in Washington. McConnell returned the favor, calling Paul “bright, capable, effective, an extraordinary new senator from Kentucky and my teammate.”

Other speakers at the rally included Andy Barr, a Lexington attorney who is in a rematch this year against Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler of Woodford County for Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District seat; state House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown; and state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown.

Thayer told the crowd that Obama should be sent back to Chicago or Hawaii, “wherever he wants to go.”
Someone shouted out that the president should be sent to Kenya.

Thayer replied, “I’m not going to say that, but I appreciate your sentiments.”

The rally also drew dozens of counter-protesters who favor Obama and the health care act.

Debra Harper of Louisville said she suffered a mild stroke last February due to a heart problem she had at birth.

“Our president finally gave this nation a blueprint for health care,” she said. “It’s like a blueprint for a house. There may be some changes you want in it, but it’s a sound structure, and people who want to discard all of it are being cruel.”

Filed Under: Andy BarrBarack ObamaElectionsFederal GovernmentKY-6thMitch McConnellRand PaulUS Senate Race

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  1. Beth says:

    I’m completely disgusted by Republicans that want to WASTE my hard earned tax dollars to repeal a healthcare plan that is good for the people AND has been found to be constitutional (Yes, Rand Paul – believe it!) by the United States Supreme Court. Let’s move this state and country forward by addressing more important issues than your desire to “undo” progress if only to support your own agenda. It’s about darn time this country re-vamps out-of-control health care. I applaud President Obama for taking on the challenge. I certainly hope McConnell or Paul (or any teapartiers) don’t lose their job due to illness and suddenly be unable to obtain health insurance. Oh, that’s right, as members of Congress they’re guaranteed lifetime pension and health care benefits so they don’t have to worry that!!!

  2. Rick says:

    Beth is like most of America. The additional 159 bureaucracys the bill will create will destroy our healthcare and our economy and Beth doesn’t understand. .My wife works in a critical care unit with 4 patients..She works with a nurse from one of the communist countries where that nurse had 40 of the same level patients.. Go communism..its here

  3. Buck Feshear says:

    If Obamacare is “progress” then Anthony Davis is a crappy basketball player.

  4. James Ewen says:

    Our healthcare is 8 times more expensive than in other modern countries because we are being gouged. We are the only civilized country without a National Healthcare program to control the corporate greed. Fascism is when corporations and billionaires use bigotry, racism, scapegoating, national superiority and lies to take over a government. If you still don’t understand read this CNN article about the German Nazi past of the Koch Brothers the founders of the Tea Party. We are losing our Democracy and becoming a corporatocracy legally now thanks to “Citizens United” We must stop being duped by rt-wing lies and obfuscation. http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-500857

  5. Jerry Stanford says:

    McConnell’s time has come and gone and he needs to stop grasping for that last feather in his cap of being Majority Leader and do the country a favor and retire; the only person that McConnell is concerned about is himself which is why the majority of his political funds come from outside Kentucky.

    If America wants Big Business and the few Billionaires/Millionaires to continues to profit at your expense then vote for these two otherwise wake up and realize that the American Dream is not to be a Millionaire because you will never join the club.

  6. Buck Feshear says:

    I want some of what James Ewen is drinking.

  7. James Snyder says:

    I want some of what Rick and Buck are smoking, snorting, or shooting. Obviously kool-aid of the special kind. What 159 new buracracies? I found the rally informative to the extent to which Mitch, Rand, and Tea Party leadership will lie and to the extent to which the Tea Party is gullible.