Divided government isn't always a bad thing for the American people, says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday,"
McConnnell responded to President Barack Obama's promise to use more of his executive powers
if Republicans don't go along with his agenda.
"Ronald Reagan didn't think that, and Bill Clinton didn't think that," McConnell said adding that they found ways to work with the opposition party. "Frequently, times of divided government are quite good times in terms of achieving things for the American people. "
Since the 2010 midterm elections, when voters issued him a "restraining order" by handing the House of Representatives to Republicans, Obama has moved toward doing things through bureaucracy instead of moving to the political center, McConnell said.
As Obama enters his sixth year in office with a weak economy, McConnell said it is "time to go in a different direction." He suggested creating jobs, including through approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Obama also should work with the GOP on trade agreements and should stop the "war on coal" in Kentucky, which has cost 5,000 jobs during his administration, McConnell told Fox.
The Senate minority leader also called Obama "irresponsible" for asking for a "clean" debt ceiling bill when the United States has a debt as large as its entire economy. Republican amendments have been routinely rejected by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Obama, McConnell said, is being "unreasonable" to ask that his request to raise the debt ceiling be treated like "some motherhood resolution that everybody just says aye," with nothing done to reduce the debt and spending.
McConnell is optimistic as Republicans move to gain a majority in the Senate in November. He said the GOP will have an "electable candidate" in every seat where they have a chance for a pickup.
“We have very good candidates who can win elections," he said. "The atmosphere for us is so good this fall that we're also stretching the playing field."
Currently with 45 members in the Senate to the Democrats' 55, the GOP needs six more seats to fight Obama's agenda and nominations. But tea party candidates are running in primaries against some Republicans, and McConnell himself has found just such a challenger in Matt Bevin.
McConnell admitted he doesn't "own" the nomination or the seat, but believes Kentucky voters will hand him another win.
Bevin is "making the argument that I'm somehow an Obama enabler," McConnell said. "I'm sure the White House is snickering at that, and Republican voters in Kentucky don't believe that for a minute."
McConnell said he is one of only five U.S. senators last year who received a perfect rating from the American Conservative Union.
"The argument that I'm some kind of liberal is absurd, and that will be rejected by the Republican primary voters in Kentucky on May 20."
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