January 12, 2014

If Sen. John McCain really wants to help the Republicans with their "messaging" on unemployment benefits and minimum wage, he might want to start by staying off the air.

Here's Grandpa McGrumpy telling CNN's Candy Crowley that the real problem is not their cruel stance on unemployment benefits or raising the minimum wage, it's that they haven't done enough carping about that mean old Harry Reid stopping them from being able to grind the Senate to a halt with poison pills and adding an unlimited number of amendments to bills so they never see the light of day.

Who knew that was their real problem instead of looking like they don't care one iota about the poor and working class in America?

CROWLEY: Domestically, one of the things that we knew from the exit polls in the last election, that when people felt that the premier quality of a president should be that he cares about people. President Obama won that vote 81 -- by 81 percentile. 81 to 18 with Romney. The most important quality. Now the Republican Party is facing votes on extending jobless benefits for the long term unemployed and, b, raising the minimum wage. Is there any way from a purely perceptual standpoint that Republicans will not take the hit for looking as though they, "don't care about people"?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I think it is a very clever strategy on the part of the Democrats anything but Obamacare. Second of all, we Republicans have to be better in our messaging. For example, Senator Reid will not allow us a single amendment on the unemployment insurance. We think we know ways to make it better. Not a single amendment is allowed in the United States Senate.

CROWLEY: Right. I think he's changed his mind on that, has he not? And said he will allow some amendments?

MCCAIN: Well, he changes from day to day. We'll see. I've had numerous conversations with him about it. We should have amendments on -- we've had four Republican amendments in the last several months in the United States Senate. People don't believe that. So we have to be careful how we message. But this is a system that needs to be fixed. It needs to be modified. We needed to have it reviewed. We need to have it paid for. All of those things. And if we could have open debate in the United States Senate and amendments, then maybe we could make it better in the long run. There are negotiations going on as we speak. Instead, it is being rammed through, cut off debate, no amendments, and that's not the way the Senate should function. Now have we got that message across well enough yet? No. But I think we can.

The GOP's got their own strategy. It's called let's talk about anything other than the fact that we've been sabotaging the economy intentionally for political gain.

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