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Mitch McConnell: I'm not an 'Obama enabler'

1:06 PM ET, Jan 26, 2014
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Note: This post was updated to correctly reflect Sen. McConnell's leadership title.

Is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell some kind of "Obama enabler?"

Far from it, the Republican leader said, as he dismissed Matt Bevin and his GOP primary challenger's campaign message during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

"I fully intend to win my primary," McConnell told Chris Wallace of Fox News. "He's making the argument that somehow I'm an Obama enabler. I'm sure the White House is snickering at that and Republican voters in Kentucky don't believe that for a minute."

Bevin, a businessman with Tea Party ties, is backed by groups such as the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks that contend veteran GOP senators such as McConnell have lost touch with conservatives.

Bevin began airing radio ads this week saying McConnell "voted to fund Obamacare." McConnell was opposed to a strategy pushed last year by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to link defunding of the Affordable Care Act with legislation to keep the government running. That strategy led to the 16-day-government shutdown.

In other comments about the 2014 midterm elections, McConnell was optimistic about the Republican Party's chances to pick up the six seats his party needs to take control of the Senate. He played down the impact of GOP primaries with Tea Party-backed challengers and talked of "stretching the playing field" in states such as Minnesota, where Democratic incumbents are favored.

"I'm very confident that in every single place where we have an opportunity for a pickup we will have a very electable candidate," McConnell said on Fox News Sunday. "Historically, the sixth year of a two-term presidency is not very good to the party of the president."

Democrats have 21 seats to defend in November, while Republicans have 15. Democrats currently have a 55-45 voting edge over Republicans.

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