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McConnell: Democrats should stop silencing opponents

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell bashed the Obama administration and Democrats for trying to control political debate, saying in a speech today at the American Enterprise Institute that the president is resorting to nefarious tactics in order to restrict political speech.

“A great freedom is at stake,” said McConnell. “When you’ve got an administration that’s willing to throw core constitutional protection out the window for the sake of an election, we’re in dangerous territory, indeed.”

McConnell, a top Republican Senate leader and vociferous defender of First Amendment rights, referenced court cases and a Democratic proposal that would require corporations to disclose political advertising spending to make his point.

He criticized the Obama administration continually for its tactics of “harassment and intimidation,” calling it “radical” and saying “the government should butt out of the business of picking winners and losers” in political debate.

“In other places, at other times, those in authority may have asserted a right to limit speech, but not here,” said McConnell. “Not in our country. The government simply does not have the authority.”

McConnell also urged the audience to recognize these threats and fight them, and he stressed the importance of “even the most casual observer to hear all views.”

“This isn’t just a conservative fight,” he said. “It affects all of us because everyone in this room – liberal or conservative – is engaged in what they regard as a very important battle of ideas, and the First Amendment makes all of that possible.”