published Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Sen. Bob Corker calls 'BS' on boss' diatribe

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker is well known for speaking pretty bluntly at times, but did the Tennessee Republican really use a far earthier version of the term bull manure to call down Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this week?

The Capitol Hill newspaper CQ Roll Call reported that at a tense meeting of Senate Republicans on Wednesday, McConnell, R-Ky., told colleagues he could have done better in a deal on presidential nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file Republicans.

Citing multiple sources, CQ Roll Call reported that McConnell’s tone implied he’d been kept in the dark about the talks by fellow Republicans as well as Democrats. But Roll Call said those same Republicans maintained McConnell was given updates throughout the negotiations.

The newspaper citing a nearly half dozen sources, reported that Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, became so frustrated he called “bull*” loud enough for many to hear.

Corker’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email today.

The dispute apparently underscored “buyer’s remorse” among some Republicans, particularly leaders, CQ Roll Call reported.

Multiple Republican sources told Roll Call that McConnell appeared to be trying to distance himself from the deal that resolved a number of filibusters launched by Republicans against President Obama nominees given that many GOP members were upset by its outcome, especially in the case of Thomas E. Perez, Obama’s choice to run the Department of Labor.

Perez’s nomination narrowly beat a filibuster attempt Wednesday on a 60-40 vote.

When asked directly about whether there was residual frustration with a deal brokered by Corker, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and others with Senate Democrats, most members demurred, CQ Roll Call reported, but gave hints to what had transpired.

“Not really. I think Sen. McConnell was completely informed about what was going on,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who backed McCain’s deal, told CQ Roll Call. “This is a good conclusion to a hard problem, as far as I’m concerned. No senator is bound by anything but their conscience.”

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