Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican up for re-election in 2014, told the Washington Examiner in an interview published Friday that he believes it is time for the GOP establishment to stop conservatives and Tea Partiers.

McConnell argued it is “utter nonsense” for groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), which has endorsed his primary challenger businessman Matt Bevin, to argue that Republicans like him in Congress are not fighting hard enough to defeat Democrats. In the interview, McConnell focused on deriding Tea Partiers for leading the effort to defund Obamacare—something that, coupled with the Democrats’ refusal to compromise on the soon-to-fail Obamacare, resulted in a government shutdown.

“The Senate Conservatives Fund is giving conservatism a bad name,” McConnell told the Examiner for the piece titled “The Establishment Fights Back: Mitch McConnell leads GOP battle against Tea Party insurgents.”

“They’re [SCF] participating in ruining the [Republican] brand,” McConnell said. “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 had not only personally opposed, during the shutdown, the effort from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to defund Obamacare, he actually whipped votes against them, according to a Congressional source. Cruz and Lee had staked their battle on a key cloture vote that would have, if McConnell had united the Republican Party to deliver 41 votes against the use of taxpayer money to fund Obamacare, stopped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from using a procedural ploy to fund Obamacare with just 51 votes.

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