In a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Examiner published Friday, McConnell discussed how a cadre of Republicans watched October's government shutdown happen, despite a desire to prevent such an event from going forward.
“There were people who were basically afraid of [conservatives], frankly,” McConnell said. “It’s time for people to stand up to this sort of thing.”
McConnell specifically singled out the Senate Conservatives Fund -- a group that has endorsed his Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevin, for the 2014 Republican nod in Kentucky's Senate race. The incumbent McConnell told the Examiner that groups of that nature are "giving conservatism a bad name."
“What they do is mislead their donors into believing the reason that we can’t get as good an outcome as we’d like to get is not because of a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president, but because Republicans are insufficiently committed to the cause — which is utter nonsense," McConnell said.
Should McConnell win the GOP primary, early polls show that he's headed for a heated fight with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. A compilation of 15 surveys updated earlier in November showed McConnell holding a narrow 40-39 percent lead.