Shifting Senate map has McConnell hopeful that he will have a new title in 2013

10/16/2012 10:28 AM

U.S. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell really wants a promotion to get the word “majority” in his title.

And he said Republican candidate Linda McMahon’s emergence in “deep blue Connecticut” has Republicans hopeful that the math will work out that the GOP will wrest control of the Senate from Democrats.

The Senate Republicans are looking for a net pick up of 4 seats if the president is re-elected — because the vice president can break a 50-50 tie — and three seats Mitt Romney wins. McConnell said he’s confident in Republican candidate Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin and that Republicans will pick up Nebraska, where Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is retiring.

Republicans also need to hold Indiana, have shots to win North Dakota and Montana and “a great shot in Ohio and a great shot in Virginia,” McConnell said.

And when it comes to that Missouri Senate race, McConnell had previously said Republican Todd Akin should drop out after his controversial comments about “legitimate rape.” Now, McConnell left the door open to supporting Akin.

“We want all Republican Senate candidates to win and I think if Missouri ends up being a winable race, there’s gonna be plenty of help there” (at 1:25).

And when it comes to the tug of war over cuts in the Senate, Sen. Rand Paul and other senators who have strong tea party support have been pushing Republican leaders like McConnell to push for spending cuts and entitlement reforms.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan coalition of senators, such as New Hampshire’s Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, sent a letter to McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid urging them to reopen negotiations to avoid spending cuts before the election.

And while McConnell believes the outcome of this year’s elections will have an effect on negotiations, there are a few things that need to happen before the end of the year, regardless of who wins.

“We shouldn’t let anybody’s taxes go up and we shouldn’t let the sequester take effect. We ought to cut spending as the sequester does, but we should do it in a much more sensible way” (at 3:30).

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Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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