Sens. McConnell and Paul take their mutual admiration society show on the road

02/04/2013 09:21 AM

The public message from Kentucky’s two Republican U.S. Senators was crystal clear over the weekend: they’re on the same team.

U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul were liberal with the praise for each other at their first joint appearance on the 2013 Lincoln Day Dinner trail in Spencer County on Friday. It comes amid rumblings that some tea party groups want to see McConnell face a challenge from the right in the 2014 election.

Paul told Pure Politics on Friday that he “doesn’t see it happening.” Here’s what else he said:

McConnell, the Republican U.S. Senate Leader, told the 280 Republicans at the dinner that Paul has “brought to the Senate what it really needed” and thanked Paul for running in 2010 to replace Jim Bunning in the Senate.

McConnell also made his first in-person pitch “to bring industrial hemp to Kentucky.” McConnell endorsed efforts to legalize the crop last week after discussions with Paul and state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer (watch the video above to see what he says about that at 1:05 of the clip).

Paul, meanwhile, returned the favor and opened his remarks by praising McConnell for using his influence to get Paul on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Last month during outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the panel, Paul asked her pointed questions about the Sept. 11 attack on U.S. officials in Libya.

Among those in the crowd who heard Paul’s public thank you to McConnell was John Kemper, the former Republican candidate for state auditor who has been among the most vocal tea party activists calling for a challenge to the senator next year.


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