Former U.S. Sen. Marlow Cook disappointed in GOP's rightward shift and stonewalling of Obama

08/29/2012 06:38 AM

SARASOTA— The former Kentucky Republican U.S. Senator who served as a mentor to both Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said he’s disappointed with the Republican Party’s shift to the right.

Marlow Cook, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1968 to 1974, always has been a moderate Republican. And he said he’s skeptical of some of the positions of the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and frustrated that Republicans in Congress has “not allowed” Obama to succeed. And he said a second term for Barack Obama “would not hurt this country one bit.”

At 86 years old, Cook is retired and living in Sarasota — just down I-75 from where the Republicans have gathered for their national convention in Tampa.

Cook still considers himself a member of the Republican Party. But when it comes to the November election, he strongly hinted he’d rather see Obama return to the White House for another four years.

Cook didn’t give a pass to the last Republican president, George W. Bush, and former Vice President Dick Cheney. He criticized their decision to engage in two wars without a plan to pay for their costs.

When Cook was a senator, one of his aides was current U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Cook called McConnell one of the most talented political minds he had been around but has been tempted to write letters of caution to his former protégé at several points.

Current Congressman John Yarmuth also served as a legislative aid for Cook during his tenure in the U.S. Senate. Yarmuth switched parties to become a Democrat in 1985. Cook said Yarmuth called him to tell him he was switching.

One of the other elements being covered in Tampa is the movement led by Texas Congressman and former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul. Again, Cook sees a mixed bag.

Cook served two terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1957 to 1961
before being elected Jefferson County Judge-Executive in 1961 and reelected in 1965.

After leaving the Senate in 1974, he started a successful law practice in Washington, D.C.


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