Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, today blasting the "economic malaise" under Obama, put his stamp on the upcoming campaign. "If the election were held today," he said, "our theme would be, 'He made it worse.'"
If the motto sounds familiar, that's because it plays off the campaign of Ronald Reagan against Jimmy Carter in 1980 when the economy was in the midst of a similar malaise.
At a debate, Reagan mouthed the words that some say won him the election: "Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment...than there was four years ago?"
The guest at a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, McConnell confidently said that the "president can be defeated." Among the reasons he cited were the recession, anger with healthcare reform, spending, and regulations.
He didn't offer any endorsement for a specific GOP presidential candidate, but did shrug off the media buzz that the GOP isn't excited about any of those running for president. He noted that in 1980, the Carter team thought Reagan would be easy to beat, and said that once the GOP makes its pick next year, the race would tighten fast.
McConnell also said that he expects the GOP to make huge gains in the Senate in 2012, when most political pundits believe the Republicans will take back the majority. He suggested that the Republicans will take Democratic seats in North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Missouri and Virginia and open seats in New Mexico and Wisconsin. "I like the situation we are in," he said.