Democratic Convention: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Senate Majority Whip
Wednesday, July 28, 2004; 5:00 PM
The 2004 Democratic National Convention is in full swing, with party leaders formally adopting their platform Tuesday.
Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was online to take your questions on the convention and the 2004 election.
The transcript follows.
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Sen. Mitch McConnell: The Democrats are obviously trying to convey top both e the press and the public that this is an upbeat positive convention. But in fact we have been monitoring what we are actually saying and the major speakers - the former presidents, Gov. Dean, Gore - 45 percent of their comments have been bashing the president and only 20 percent have been praising Kerry. My conclusion is that the unrelenting attacks on the president that began last November have continued.
Although I'm a dedicated conservative, I have to admit the Democrats have done a good job staging their convention and choosing the right speakers. Why have the Republicans opted to showcase their liberals and moderates (Schwarzeneager, Patacki, Giuliani) instead of their conservative juggernauts (like Sen. Santorum, Sen. Hatch, Tom DeLay, or even Dennis Hastert)?
Sen. Mitch McConnell: The GOP Convention is going to highlight the two most important conservatives in America, President Bush and VP Cheney who will give the two most watched speeches.
Los Angeles, Calif.:
Do you believe that members of Congress will debate and pass legislation enacting the recommendations of the 9/11 commision prior to the election?
Sen. Mitch McConnell: The 9/11 Commission issued an outstanding bipartisan report with no descents. Therefore its recommendations will be taken seriously by both the president and the Congress. In the senate and in the house hearings will be held during the August recess and there is an excellent chance that the senate will take up legislation as early as September implementing the recommendations.
Senator, I must say that as an independent voter it is disheartening to hear politicians, but especially Republicans, regurgitate the same talking points day after day. I know it serves the party, and I guess the president well. But it leaves people like me with nowhere to go to get a true accounting of what people think or might do. When a United States senator or other leader is on TV or being interviewed I expect him to have some original, well conceived thoughts. It is a blaspheme for you guys to simply use your positions and titles as caches of credibility to make market-tested talking points seem pertinent. a monkey could read off an email list.
Sen. Mitch McConnell: Sorry you feel we are always using RNC talking points. I do try and think about what I try to say before I go on programs or talk to reporters but I do that in consultation with my own staff. And I pride myself on not simply repeating the lines of others.
How great of an effect, if any, will the impact of the college-aged voter be on this election? Do you think this is a group that will actually get out and vote?
Sen. Mitch McConnell: Historically college age voters are less likely to participate in elections than older voters with people 50 and older being the most likely to turn out. I think that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
PBS is putting the commercial networks to shame at the Democratic Convention. Is there any talk of requiring the networks to broadcast entire conventions -- the airwaves belong to the public and all of that -- to maintain their licensing by the FCC? In any event, I will continue to watch PBS.
Keep up your good work.
Sen. Mitch McConnell: Unfortunately the Networks seem to have concluded that there is not much going on at the national conventions that warrant a lot of coverage. I still think conventions are important as the only gatherings each of the parties have in a 4-year period. It's the one event which party activists in Oregon will come in contact with a similar person on the East Coast. All other times parties only exist at the state and local level. So obviously I disagree with the decision by the networks to cut back on the coverage but I do not think there is anything we should do through the FCC or otherwise to punish them for it. Hopefully the cable news networks will fill the vacuum along with PBS for those who want more extensive coverage.
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