TAMPA, Fla. -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that if President Barack Obama is reelected, there would be potential under a divided government to make real progress on tax reform and entitlements.
With one caveat.
"I think it depends on whether Obama has an epiphany," McConnell said in an interview.
"You know, he's not going to control the House," McConnell told The Huffington Post, rejecting the idea that Democrats could reclaim the lower chamber. "He's either going to be confronted with a narrow Republican majority in the Senate or a very robust Republican minority in the Senate. In other words, divided government."
"You could argue that the four most significant legislative accomplishments of the last 25 years were actually done during divided government," McConnell said. "[President Ronald] Reagan and [Democratic House Speaker] Tip O'Neill raised the age of social security, did comprehensive tax reform. [President] Bill Clinton and the Republicans did welfare reform and actually balanced the budget in the late 90s."
"So my point is, he will not be able to do any more of [what he did in] the first two years," McConnell said, referring to when the president's Democratic allies controlled both the House and Senate in 2009 and 2010.
"That's over," he said, making a slashing motion with his left hand.
At the same time, McConnell acknowledged, "if he's still there it would be hard for us to undo" programs like the president's health care law.
"So the question for him is, 'Do I go to the middle and meet these guys half way, like Reagan and Clinton did, or do I just double down on the left and we throw things at each other for four years?" McConnell said.
"People ask me all the time to kind of psychoanalyze the guy, because I know him pretty well. I have no idea what he really is like," McConnell said. "I can only assess what he has done. And what he has done so far is neither Reagan-like or Clintonian. And I can't predict what he would be like in a second term. But I know this: he will not be able to do anything like what he did in the first two years."
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