After saying how "proud" he was of his Republican members who participated in the deficit commission and that voted for the proposals endorsed by the co-chairs Simpson and Bowles, McConnell refused to name a single specific proposal that he would endorse. McConnell basically said he knows the electorate isn't going to like what he's willing to vote for but he wants the Democrats to take the hit for it politically.
It appears the only accomplishments McConnell is going to be proud of are ones he doesn't have to take responsibility for. And sadly it looks like President Obama is going to be happy to help him with that given he's still saying it's possible to negotiate with Republicans.
GREGORY: Let me talk about the debt. The Deficit Commission proposal came out this week. And here are just some of the highlights. And tough medicine here in terms of what they propose. Social Security, raise the retirement age, cut future benefit increases. On taxes, eliminate mortgage deduction, increase federal gas tax by 15 cents per gallon. Federal spending caps, security, non-security spending. Freeze federal pay for three years. Eliminate Congressional e-- earmarks.
You said on the program back in August, if this was a credible proposal, you’d be behind it. You have three-- Senators who you appointed to this commission, all of whom voted for it. Are you now prepared to endorse this and be a catalyst to get some of these measures passed?
MCCONNELL: First, let me say I was extremely proud of my-- appointments. Senator Coburn, Senator Crapo, Senator Gregg. They supported it, not because they liked every part of it. Because they-- because they thought that this comprehensive recommendation underscored how deep-seated this problem is. This is an enormous problem. I think the message to us is, "Let’s see what we can do with the President." You cannot do entitlement reform in-- for-- for viewers, entitlements mean long term-- liabilities.
Set by law. We don’t even vote on ‘em every year. Some of them very popular, Social Security, Medicare and the like. You cannot do entitlement reform with just one party. You can only do entitlement reform on a bipartisan basis. So, I think the message to us coming out of this deficit reduction report is it’s time for the President of the United States and people like John Boehner and myself and others, to sit down and talk about what we can do to make sure that we have the same kind of country for our children and our grandchildren that our parents left for us.
GREGORY: But Senator, people have been hearing this a long time. And politicians make these promises. The President said there’s gotta be broad sacrifice. Why can’t you say whether you’ll specifically endorse this plan? And what you’re-- what you intend to do as a party? As a leader, to-- to-- to make some painful choices?
MCCONNELL: Well, it would be absolutely irresponsible to sit here on a Sunday talk show and blow the talks by starting to endorse and rule out things. What I’m saying is, this is the roadmap. We need to sit down with the President, see what we can do together. Because the only way we will actually accomplish something-- I want to actually accomplish something.
GREGORY: But do you endorse these specific proposals?
MCCONNELL: What I endorse is the-- the effort to underscore the-- the magnitude of the problem. And I’m prepared to sit down with the President and figure out what we can do on a bipartisan basis. That’s what this-- report was about. Now it’s time to do something.