McConnell talks foreign policy, Dodd Frank and campaign at YPAL lunch

10/16/2014 05:17 PM

Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell touched on myriad issues while adding a few campaign talking points Thursday during a luncheon of the Young Professionals Association of Louisville.

McConnell, who is seeking a sixth term against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, joked about the location of his desk during his first term as a U.S. senator and lamented that he first thought, “None of these people are going to die, retire or be defeated.”

“But alas, I have a pretty good seat now,” he said.

McConnell explained how his possible ascension to Senate majority leader would impact President Barack Obama’s initiatives on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on new and future coal-fired power plants.

McConnell said he was “a little surprised” the topic of foreign policy wasn’t broached at Monday’s debate with Grimes on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight.” McConnell said he supported the president’s initiative for airstrikes against the Islamic extremists, but the bombings “are helpful but limited” as the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIL or ISIS, moves into more populous areas.

The country erred in not aiding Syrian rebels earlier in the uprising and withdrawing troops from Iraq, where a residual U.S. force would’ve helped deter ISIL from expanding its campaign into the country, McConnell said.

As the U.S. reengages with the Iraqi military, McConnell suggested the country will be better suited to combat ISIL.

“At some point, somebody’s going to have to take this back on the ground,” McConnell said. “I don’t think it ought to be us.”

He also touched on his opposition to financial reforms enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown.

McConnell mentioned something he’s rarely discussed on the campaign trail: how he thinks Republican control of the state House would impact Kentucky. The GOP is vying to take control of the chamber for the first time since 1921.

“You know, it might be good to have a change every once in a while,” he said. “At least, you know, once every century or so.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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