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Witcover gets his 'one-term' history wrong

I read Jules Witcover's column ("GOP's unchanging game plan: Gang up on Obama," Feb. 24) and immediately saw that the date that Sen. Mitch McConnell was purported to have "vowed to make him [President Barack Obama] a one-term president" was inaccurate. This statement was not made in the first days after President Obama's election. This is a very common error by those who unabashedly support Mr. Obama.

During an interview on Oct. 23, 2010 with the National Journal, Mr. McConnell was asked about the president's first two years in office and the legislative agenda. He did then say that "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." He added that "If President Obama does a Clintonian backflip, if he's willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it's not inappropriate for us to do business with him." He further explained in this interview that he did not want the president to fail, but to change.

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After the election, a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives was won and significant gains were made in the U.S. Senate by the Republicans. Mr. McConnell was hopeful that big government, outrageous deficit spending and the Affordable Care Act could be rolled back, but that would probably require a change in the White House.

President Obama in a "60 Minutes" interview aired on Sept. 23, 2012 said that when he first came into office, the Republican Senate leader (Mr. McConnell) said it was his goal to make him a one-term president. For that statement, The Washington Post gave him two "Pinocchios."

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Mr. Witcover should know better. Though I disagree with him on his political views, I expected that his statement of facts would be accurate.

Dennis Hartman, Ellicott City

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