McConnell Tells GOP to Shape Up, End Bush 'Drag'

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 29, 2009 9:12 PM CST
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks at the Republican National Committee meeting in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.    (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – The top Senate Republican warned today that the GOP risks remaining out of power in the White House and Congress unless it better explains its core principles to woo one-time faithful and new loyalists. Mitch McConnell spoke to party activists gathered in Washington to elect a new national chairman tomorrow, implying that the party strayed from its beliefs under President Bush.

While McConnell praised Bush as a man of principle, he said: "We can all agree, sad as it is, that he wasn't winning any popularity contests. And history shows that unpopular presidents are usually a drag on everybody else who wears their political label." He called for the GOP to embrace its conservative principles to bring people back and attract new rank and file. "The situation is challenging, but it's far from irreversible."