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Who had the worst week in Washington? Sen. Mitch McConnell

By Chris Cillizza
Sunday, May 23, 2010; B02

Picking who had the "Worst Week in Washington" over the past seven days was like having to pick your favorite Bob Dylan song. The choices are all just so good.

We were overwhelmed with nominations, thanks in large part to Tuesday's primaries, in which voters sent a clear message to incumbents in Washington. That message? We hate you.

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) was held to less than 50 percent of the vote, putting her into a June 8 runoff that neutral observers consider a jump ball. Party-switching Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (D) watched as little-known Rep. Joe Sestak (D) used the oldest trick in the book (George W. Bush!) to sink his hopes of being elected as a Democrat in the fall.

The National Republican Congressional Committee didn't have a very good week, losing a special election in Pennsylvania that it badly needed to win, and neither did Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair (gone!) or Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, who was linked to a Canadian doctor accused of distributing human growth hormone. (Blame Canada!)

But, after a lengthy internal debate -- the best kind -- we decided that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell deserved the award.

McConnell, the senior senator from Kentucky, watched helplessly as his hand-picked candidate to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R) was walloped Tuesday by ophthalmologist Rand Paul, whose campaign was premised on running against the establishment politics that McConnell lives and breathes. Paul's victory amounted to a direct rebuke of McConnell's status as the godfather of Kentucky politics and showed that even the most powerful Republican in the Senate can't stop the onrush of the "tea partiers."

As if that wasn't indignity enough, McConnell had to grin and bear it as Paul caused a media firestorm with comments inexplicably relitigating the tenets of the Civil Rights Act -- the very sort of move that had led people such as McConnell to back the other guy in the primary.

Mitch McConnell, you had the Worst Week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? Email chris.cillizza@wpost.com with your nominees. And check out his video chat.

Can't remember who won Worst Week last week?

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