- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 10, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants President Obama to use his final State of the Union address on Tuesday to outline how he will defeat the Islamic State.

“The president is going, I assume, to talk about the future and try to paint a rosy picture where one does not exist. What we’d love to hear from the president is a real plan to defeat ISIL,” Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Sunday, using a common acronym for the extremist group.

Speaking on ABC News’ This Week, Mr. McConnell said he is unimpressed by the initial plan, or authorization to use military force (AUMF), that Mr. Obama presented to Congress, saying it is too timid and could hold back a future president.

“I don’t want to tie the hands of the next president,” he said. “The next president may want to actually defeat ISIL.”

Turning to politics, Mr. McConnell signaled he doesn’t want the Senate to wade into the 2016 race for president in any form, even though it passed a resolution in 2008 to declare then-nominee Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who was born in the Panama Canal Zone, a “natural born citizen” eligible for the presidency.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican who is running for president this year, is facing similar questions this year about his birth in Canada, even though scholars have said his American mother makes him a natural-born citizen.

Mr. Cruz is a frequent critic of Mr. McConnell, and the Senate leader deflected questions about the race.

“I just don’t think the Senate ought to get into the middle of this,” he said. “These guys will all slug it out in Iowa and New Hampshire. We’ll have a nominee hopefully by sometime in the spring.”



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