Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) leveled harsh criticism at the Obama campaign on Thursday, comparing the president and his team's efforts to "silence critics" to the actions of Richard Nixon.
During an interview with Fox News ahead of a Friday speech at the American Enterprise Institute on First Amendment rights, McConnell took on the White House's response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.
"What they're trying to do is intimidate donors to outside groups that are critical of the administration," McConnell said, referring to accusations that the Obama campaign has an "enemies list" consisting of major donors to Mitt Romney-supporting super PACs. "The campaign has rifled through one donor's divorce records. They've got the IRS, the SEC and other agencies going after contributors, trying to frighten people and intimate them out of exercising their rights to participate in the American political discourse, which is being done by a lot of different groups, and no longer are they all on the political left."
McConnell continued: "It's really quite Nixonian. I think you'd have to go back to Richard Nixon to find the last time you had group of people both through the campaign and through the power of the fed government really trying to harass and silence critics, and I think they need to be called on it."
The GOP leader also criticized top Obama aide David Axelrod for floating the idea of a constitutional amendment as a remedy to the contentious Supreme Court ruling.
"Of course the temptation of anybody in power is to try to silence your critics," he said.
McConnell is not the first to compare Obama to Nixon. In an April Wall Street Journal column detailing the alleged intimidation, Kimberly Strassel also accused the Obama campaign of attempting to menace Mitt Romney donors.
"Richard Nixon's 'enemies list' appalled the country for the simple reason that presidents hold a unique trust," Strassel wrote. "Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon have carefully avoided the practice. Save Mr. Obama, who acknowledges no rules."
McConnell, an ardent Obama critic, also spoke to conservative website Breitbart.com on Thursday. In that interview, he said the Obama administration was "radical and dangerous."
"It’s reminiscent of the Nixon administration," he said, echoing his Fox comments. "It’s much more pervasive than Clinton. They have their enemies list. They’re checking it twice. They’re going to go after those that have been naughty and not nice.”
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