It was only a matter of time before the Senate and House were fully overtaken by the presidential campaign, and Mitch McConnell has launched the first major attack on the Senate floor.
With the energy debate seething yet stalled, McConnell on Wednesday morning criticized Barack Obama's support of a windfall profits tax and Obama's suggestion that Americans would have accepted a gradual increase in gas prices.
"The position outlined by the Democratic nominee shouldn’t be a surprise to most Americans, given that Washington Democrats have repeatedly refused to allow increased energy production here at home," McConnell said.
McConnell (R-Ky.) was reacting to an Obama interview with CNBC in which he said Americans "would have preferred a gradual adjustment" in gas prices instead of a major spike.
McConnell also used the phrase "Democrat nominee" _ a grammatical turn of phrase the GOP has used for years to needle Democrats. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) also took to the House floor this morning to launch a similar attack on Obama.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), did not directly respond by attacking John McCain's energy policies. McCain actually supports a cap and trade system and would have backed parts of a major global warming bill that was blocked last week by Republicans.
Instead, Reid turned his fire on McCain's Iraq policy, in particular a statement today that it's "not too important" when troops are redeployed.
"McCain’s statement today that withdrawing troops doesn’t matter is a crystal clear indicator that he just doesn’t get the grave national-security consequences of staying the course – Osama bin Laden is freely plotting attacks, our efforts in Afghanistan are undermanned, and our military readiness has been dangerously diminished," Reid said. "We need a smart change in strategy to make America more secure, not a commitment to indefinitely keep our troops in an intractable civil war."
Expect more of this back and forth if you're watching the Senate on C-SPAN. It's looking like a summer that will be long on rhetorical entertainment and short on actual legislating.