THE White House has lashed out at Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell for claiming his chief goal is to get rid of Barack Obama as President.
Senator McConnell, who will become the majority leader if Republicans win control of the Senate next week, indicated his party would continue to block the President wherever possible.
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” he told the US-based National Journal.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the White House had experienced enough game-playing with Republicans “for many political lifetimes” and believed voters had tired of it.
“I doubt that regardless of the outcome of the election in a week, that the message that the voters of this country are going to send is that they want to see more politics being played, that they want to see the process bogged down and mired in more partisan political games,” he said.
The Republican Party is set to regain control of the house and could win a majority in the Senate in Tuesday’s mid-term elections.
The next presidential election is in November 2012, and the admission that Senator McConnell would seek to frustrate the Obama administration for the sole purpose of its defeat in two years has enraged the President’s Democratic Party base.
It appears Republicans will come close to scoring a majority in the 100-seat Senate but ultimately fall short.
Senator McConnell said if Mr Obama was willing to meet Republicans half-way on some of the biggest issues, then “it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him”. But he said the biggest goal would be to give the Republican candidate in 2012 the maximum chance to succeed.
Senator McConnell said his party became a “foil” for Democrat president Bill Clinton 15 years ago when it won control of congress. This time the party would need to “work smarter”.
Mr Gibbs said now was not the time for an active presidential campaign: “Our job should be to work together to move this country forward, to strengthen our economy, and to improve the lives of its citizens.”
Over the past month, Mr Obama has dropped hopes of bipartisan support from Republicans, instead attacking the party’s obstruction.
Mr Clinton campaigned in Chicago yesterday in a final dash to save Democrat seats on a knife edge. “If we want it bad enough to go out there and work for it, I think we’ll get it,” he said. “This is the largest number of close races I’ve ever seen across America. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Mr Clinton was campaigning for Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for Mr Obama’s former Illinois Senate seat. The former president likened Mr Obama’s plight to what happened to him in 1994 elections when Democrats lost the congress. “There’s almost an inverse relationship in how much you accomplish and what people know about it,” he said.
Prominent Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul suffered bad publicity in Kentucky yesterday when one of his supporters stomped on a protester’s head.
Mr Paul said he would not tolerate violence in his campaign, and confirmed he had fired Bourbon County campaign co-ordinator Tim Profitt.
Police yesterday served a summons for assault after Mr Profitt, 53, was filmed stomping on the head of MoveOn.org activist Lauren Valle.