Reactions to Obama’s address

Here are a couple of official statements from Kentucky’s elected officials following President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

From U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell

“Tonight Kentuckians and all Americans were proud eyewitnesses to history as an African-American president addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

“Over the years, there have been many important markers in our nation’s long journey toward racial equality. Few have been as compelling as seeing President Obama in the Speaker’s rostrum tonight.

“The President’s message was important and timely: America faces great challenges in the months and years ahead, and I was heartened to hear of his commitment to the millions who are struggling to hold onto homes and jobs and who are worried about what the future holds for themselves and their children.

“As we work to address all these concerns, we will have our differences. Republicans believe the road back to prosperity is paved with greater personal freedom, not bigger government, and that in this moment of economic hardship, we should be more vigilant about spending taxpayer dollars, not less.

“But one thing is clear: working through the current troubles will require a shared commitment as we address America’s challenges ahead.”

From U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning – 

“Our nation is facing many difficult challenges right now and I want to work with our new President to meet them head on.  Many Americans are suffering due to the current financial crisis and we need to work together to find commonsense solutions that will help get our economy back on track.  

“If we really want to stimulate the economy we need to enact policies that will have a direct and immediate impact.  I believe the best way to do this is by focusing our attention on targeted tax relief that will allow Americans to keep more of what they earn.  By empowering American families and small businesses we can create new jobs and grow the economy. 

“We also need to get serious about fiscal responsibility.  We can’t spend our way out of this crisis.  Piling debt on top of debt is not the answer.  If we don’t stop out-of-control government spending now it will only lead to larger economic problems down the road and leave a tab that our children and grandchildren will be paying for years to come.”

From U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, KY-2 – 

“President Obama’s address tonight was a historic moment for our nation.  He made it clear that our nation is facing difficult challenges.  I agree that we can overcome these challenges by working together to strengthen the economy, create jobs, and restore the financial security Americans want and deserve. 

 “I look forward to working with President Obama.  However, I assure you that where I disagree with the President I will not compromise my principles.  Empowering Kentucky families and small businesses by letting them keep more of what they earn, not by expanding the government through higher taxes and uncontrollable spending, is the best way to promote jobs and recover economic growth.

 “I am confident that the American people will show the same resilience and integrity in this crisis as they have before, and because of these strong resources, I am confident America’s economic future is prosperous.”

State’s top Republicans in Bowling Green tonight

Some of the state’s top Republicans will be in Bowling Green tonight for the Warren County GOP’s Lincoln Day dinner

Among the elected officials attending are Bowling Green’s U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, who began his first term in Congress last month, and both of Kentucky’s U.S. senators – Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning

Given that there has been a bit of tension of late between KY’s two U.S. senators over Bunning’s plans to see re-election next year, tonight’s dinner could be an interesting one to watch. 

Also at the dinner will be Senate President David Williams of Burkesville and attorney J. Marshall Hughes, who is running for Guthrie’s seat in the Kentucky Senate.

The dinner will surely be a boost for Hughes, who is running against Democrat Mike Reynolds in a special election for the 32nd District slated for Tuesday. 

The event begins at 5 p.m. CST and is being held at the Carroll Knicely Center on Western Kentucky University’s South Campus.

Update …

Here is the story about the event from the Bowling Green Daily News.

McConnell to pay tribute to former Sen. Wendell Ford today

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who over the weekend was honored for becoming Kentucky’s longest-serving senator, will pay tribute today to the man he surpassed, former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford of Owensboro. 

McConnell, Senate Republican leader, was elected to his fifth term in office in November and served 14 years in the Senate with Ford, a Democrat. 

Here is a column sent out by McConnell’s office that is adapted from the speech he will deliver this afternoon. 

The speech will air live today on C-SPAN2 at 1 p.m. CST.

Update, 2:07 p.m. …

Here is the text of the remarks McConnell delivered today – from his press office.

McConnell to head U.S. Senate Republicans

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell was re-elected as Senate Republican leader on Tuesday by his colleagues. 

McConnell, who was recently elected to a fifth term in the Senate, said in statement following the election that he will continue to use his “clout to advance Kentucky’s interests and to ensure that our voice is heard.”

Along with Republican leader, the U.S. Senate Republican conference filled the following leadership positions with Tuesday’s elections – 

Republican Whip, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)

Republican Conference Chair, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)

Republican Policy Committee Chairman, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.)

Republican Conference Vice Chair, John Thune (R-S.D.)

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, John Cornyn (R-Texas)

McConnell could be at center of proposed automaker bailout

With recent reports of the economic woes facing American automakers, talk about the recent financial industry bailout has included potential help for Ford, General Motors and others who are chalking up large losses.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell

Congress is set to reconvene for a lame-duck session next week, and Halimah Abdullah with the Herald-Leader has a piece about what newly re-elected U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell could be facing when the debate over help for the auto industry begins next week. 

McConnell, whose hometown of Louisville hosts a Ford Motor Co. plant, could find himself in the center as Democrats who favor of relief for Ford and others in the auto industry look to him to garner support among Republicans, who as a group have spoken out against solely injecting of cash into the domestic automotive industry without further reforms of business practices.

As Abdullah notes, Kentucky trails only Michigan and Ohio in the number of autos produced, which will likely put McConnell in a key, but difficult, spot.

Grand jury won’t indict Bruce Lunsford, campaign aide

The Associated Press is reporting that a grand jury has reviewed claims that Democrat Bruce Lunsford and a campaign took and erased a recorder following a debate in western Kentucky last month, and won’t be issuing indictments. 

Lunsford, who lost Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race Tuesday to incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell, had been accused of taking the recorder from his podium and telling a campaign aide to erase its contents.

The recorder belonged to a campaign worker from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Lunsford said the recorder had been secretly placed at his podium against the rules of the debate. 

Here’s the AP story – 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ Grand jurors in western Kentucky refused to issue indictments Friday after reviewing claims that Democrat Bruce Lunsford’s Senate campaign tampered with a GOP digital recorder.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall said Sheriff Kevin Byars presented evidence to the grand jury in a brief meeting that began at 1 p.m. CST at the courthouse in Benton. Byars was the only witness.

“It was a unanimous decision on the part of all 12 grand jurors,” Darnall said. “It didn’t take them long to return a no true bill.” Continue reading

McConnell’s statement on working with President-elect Obama

  Following his re-election Tuesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell issued a statement regarding his plans to work with the new president, Democrat Barack Obama, after he takes office in January.  

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell

The statement came as McConnell also looked to retain his spot at Republican leader in the U.S. Senate and told reporters he didn’t anticipate any major challenges for the role. McConnell and other Republicans saw their numbers diminished after Democrats picked up at least five seats in the chamber. 

Here’s the statement from McConnell issued Wednesday afternoon – 

I congratulate President-elect Obama and will work with him on behalf of the American people. The Republican leadership stands ready to hear his ideas for implementing his campaign promises of cutting taxes, increasing energy security, reducing spending and easing the burden of an immense and growing national debt.

On these, and other bipartisan issues, he will find cooperation in the Senate. We have an opportunity for significant accomplishments on behalf of the American people, and it is my hope and intent that we succeed in the years ahead.

 I fully anticipate that President-elect Obama will select well-qualified nominees for the key, early cabinet secretary nominations. And if so, he can count on my support for timely consideration and assistance to ensure a smooth transition for our national, homeland and economic security posts. These times are too important not to move quickly together.