Mitch McConnell: 'Our Adversaries Are Acting' While Obama Is Talking
Friday, 28 Mar 2014 09:53 PM
By Todd Beamon
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday that while President Barack Obama is in talks with world leaders on various issues — including Russian President Vladimir Putin — "our adversaries are acting."
"What we should assume from the Russians right now is the worst with regard to Ukraine," the Kentucky Republican told Larry Kudlow on his final edition of "The Kudlow Report" on CNBC. "We ought to give a robust military assistance package to Ukraine."
McConnell, who is seeking re-election to a sixth Senate term this fall, was among several high-powered guests to visit Kudlow on his last program. Kudlow, 66, is retiring from his daily prime-time show to work as a senior contributor to the cable network.
In his interview, McConnell referenced news reports that Putin had called Obama on Friday to discuss a U.S. diplomatic proposal for Ukraine. The president told Putin that Russia must pull back its troops and not move deeper into the country, according to White House officials.
The discussion is believed to have been the first direct conversation between Obama and Putin since the United States and its European allies began imposing sanctions on Putin's inner circle and threatened to penalize key sectors of Russia's economy.
"It looks to me that America's adversaries know that the president likes to talk," McConnell told Kudlow. "We're in a six-month discussion with the Iranians," referring to negotiations to curb Tehran's nuclear weapons programs, "and President Putin probably said, 'Barack Obama likes to talk.' "
The minority leader added that the U.S. and Europe must move quickly to aid Ukraine and pre-empt Putin on every front. That includes exporting more liquefied natural gas to Ukraine and Europe, disrupting Russia's economic leverage.
"The reason the Russians have as much influence as they do, not only in Ukraine, but in other parts of Europe — is the oil and gas exports into those areas, particularly gas," McConnell said. "Now that we are the biggest natural gas producer in the world, we certainly ought to be exporting it as rapidly as we can.
"The president seems not to be open to that," he said.
In addition, the U.S. must re-establish talks to develop high-precision weapons for missile defense systems in Poland and Czechoslovakia.
"I hope the European Union will speed up their admission to the United Nations — and the G-8 in the future ought be the G-7," McConnell told Kudlow. "At the very least, we ought to take all those steps, no matter how long Putin wants to talk to the president."
Obama and members of the Group of Eight industrial leaders have said that they will not attend the planned meeting to be hosted by Putin in Sochi, the site of the Winter Olympics. The members instead will hold their own meeting in Brussels.
The senator also slammed Obamacare as a "disaster, all over the country" and a "job killer."
"If we want to get the economy going, we ought to get rid of Obamacare. That's a job-destroyer. Virtually everything is administration is doing has brought about fewer jobs, not more," McConnell said.
"A new Republican Senate, coupled with a Republican House, would try to push the president in an entirely different direction that has more confidence in the private sector … to create growth and opportunity and jobs for the American people."