Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t go down without a fight.
The Republican, who famously declared four years ago that the GOP’s priority was to make Barack Obama a one-term president, offered Obama “sincere congratulations” on his re-election. But he urged the commander-in-chief to move to the center, suggesting he would continue to challenge him throughout the next four years.
“The American people did two things: they gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives,” said McConnell in a statement. (The Democrats kept their majority in the Senate, even adding two seats.)
He added, “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.”
He also vowed that if the president moved to the political center, the GOP would meet him halfway.
McConnell “left no doubt Republicans will not be cooperating,” said Hardball host Chris Matthews. “This is going to be a fight.”
NBC News’ chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd agreed, adding that McConnell’s statements reflects the “political squeeze” the lawmaker is in because he’s up for re-election in 2014.
McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, Todd said, are taking the attitude that “We’re going to start in the most conservative position we can find– even on this day where essentially our side lost– and see how the White House reacts.”