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NYT: Tea for 2? Rand & Mitch in Marriage of Convenience

New York Times: - WASHINGTON — Their relationship got off on an awful footing. In a Republican primary in his home state of Kentucky, Senator Mitch McConnell backed the establishment candidate in 2010, blinkered to the historic Tea Party wave that swept in the political newcomer Rand Paul.

Mr. Paul refused to say during the primary if he would support Mr. McConnell’s re-election as the Senate Republican leader. The two appeared in Frankfort at what a McConnell aide recalled as an “incredibly awkward unity rally.” In a seven-minute introduction of Mr. Paul, Mr. McConnell uttered his name once. Mr. Paul, unsmiling, shook the hand of Kentucky’s most powerful Republican, avoiding eye contact.

Today, the iciness has been replaced by a powerful force in politics: expedience. Mr. McConnell, 71, the embodiment of Washington establishment, and Mr. Paul, 50, a grass-roots insurgent who harbors a brightly burning presidential ambition for 2016, have formed an odd-couple, scratch-my-back alliance that stretches from Washington to Louisville.

Some weeks, it can even seem that the balance of power has shifted between Kentucky’s junior and senior senators.


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