McConnell on Obama meeting: 'It's not the bourbon summit'

McConnell on Obama meeting: 'It's not the bourbon summit'
McConnell on Obama meeting: 'It's not the bourbon summit'

Before Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell was scheduled to meet President Barack Obama at the White House — their first sit-down since Election Day — the incoming Senate majority leader said the pair would not be drinking bourbon on the job.

"It's not the 'bourbon summit,'" McConnell told Olivier Knox on the premiere of Yahoo News' weekly SiriusXM radio show. "Drinking bourbon in the middle of the afternoon would not be good for either of our careers."

McConnell's comments come less than a week before a possible government shutdown, something the Republican said won't happen.

"There's not going to be a government shutdown," McConnell said. "The president has been way out of line with his executive amnesty, [but] shutting down the government is not the way to respond."

Earlier Wednesday, Obama told reporters he is taking House Speaker John Boehner and McConnell at their word, and that he's "been encouraged by recent statements" from the GOP leaders.

A day after the Democratic Party took a shellacking in the midterm elections, losing control of the Senate, Obama extended an invitation to McConnell for a drink.

"You know, actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell,” Obama said during a news conference at the White House.

During the Yahoo News interview, McConnell was asked about the Senate's agenda in 2015. Among his priorities as majority leader: approving the Keystone pipeline, repealing the medical device tax and embracing the U.S. energy revolution.

He was also asked his thoughts on two prominent Obama nominees: Loretta Lynch, who was named by the president to become the next attorney general, and Ashton Carter, Obama's reported choice for Pentagon chief.

"As far as confirmation, I have no idea," McConnell said of Lynch. "I haven't met her yet."

"All of our members will go into [the confirmation hearings] with an open mind," he said.

McConnell, a vocal critic of outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, said Lynch is "going to be asked a lot of tough questions about the current attorney general and his tenure."

Sen. John McCain, McConnell noted, has called Carter "a pretty good choice" and "leans toward supporting him."

"Again, I think we have to have the hearings [first]," he said.

McConnell also weighed in on the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., and the state of race relations in America.

"It was tragedy all around," he said of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by Officer Darren Wilson. "Regretfully, these things happen from time to time."

"My inclination is to defer to the legal system, and to the people who examine the evidence and reach a conclusion," he continued.

"America is a work in progress on the issue of race relations," McConnell said. "We've come a long way in this country."

One example, he said, is "the occupant in the White House."