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Ear to the Ground

McConnell Blasts Obama ‘Liberalism,’ the Franken-Bachmann Contest, and More

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Posted on Jan 22, 2013

Nothing New Here: The president’s second term may have begun, but it appears the Republicans’ political rhetoric will remain the same. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knocked Obama for his second inaugural address, proclaiming it was proof that an “era of liberalism” is back. The Kentucky Republican added that he was “disappointed” by the president’s “unabashedly far left of center” speech. McConnell added: “It was basically a liberal agenda directed at an America that we still believe is center-right, and I don’t think that’s a great way to start off the second term if your idea here is to achieve bipartisan solutions.” (Read more)

Minnesota Matchup: Sen. Al Franken’s re-election prospects are looking pretty good. The Minnesota Democrat, whose term is up in 2014, has a favorability rating of 52 percent in the state, according to the latest Public Policy Polling survey. The poll also reveals state Republicans favor Rep. Michele Bachmann as their candidate in the race. But according to PPP, Franken would crush Bachmann in a hypothetical matchup, 54 to 40 percent. In fact, Bachmann performs worse than any other GOP candidate against Franken, a major problem when you consider Republicans want the controversial congresswoman as their nominee. (Read more)

Getting Away With It: Virginia state Senate Republicans used the absence of a Democratic state senator to push through a controversial redistricting proposal. State Sen. Henry Marsh missed the Monday vote because he was attending President Obama’s inauguration—a fact the GOP knew and used to its advantage. Democrats and Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, condemned the party’s actions. Marsh also had harsh words for his GOP colleagues’ antics. “I wanted to attend the historic second inauguration of President Obama in person,” he said in a statement. “For Senate Republicans to use my absence to push through a partisan redistricting plan that hurts voters across the state is shameful.” (Read more)

Come to Nothing: The new House Republicans’ solution for the debt ceiling problem isn’t to vote on a short term plan—it’s essentially to ignore the limit altogether through May 18. Although the measure, which is supported by President Obama, won’t fix the national debt problem it would lift the air of crisis surrounding the budget issue. A vote on the proposal is scheduled Wednesday in the House. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Michelle Obama was clearly not impressed with whatever House Speaker John Boehner had to say to her during Monday’s post-inaugural luncheon, as evidenced by her reaction (yes, she’s rolling her eyes) to the Republican leader. Take a look:

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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