"The relationship started off rather rocky, as you might imagine, but Mitch committed immediately — when he realized that the primary was over — committed to being helpful to Rand, and he was," Adams said.
Pragmatism is a hallmark of McConnell's political style, and he has a history of engaging in party affairs in Kentucky. He has interviewed candidates for local posts, raised funds for statewide office seekers, and in 1999 helped engineer a Republican takeover of the Kentucky state Senate when two Democrats — at McConnell's urging — switched their party affiliation to Republican.
McConnell said his support of Paul's filibuster stemmed from his interest in defending the Constitution. Paul cited due process protections guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment as the basis for his protest last week. After Paul had ended his filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder assured him the government lacked authority to kill U.S. citizens with drones unless they present an imminent threat.
Brennan was confirmed for the CIA post by the Senate, though Paul and McConnell both voted against him.
Citing free-speech protections guaranteed under the First Amendment, McConnell has opposed campaign finance limits and in 2006 was one of three Republicans who voted against a proposed constitutional amendment giving Congress the power to ban desecration of the U.S. flag. The proposal fell one vote short of passing.
"No act of speech is so obnoxious that it merits tampering with our First Amendment," McConnell said at the time.
In his push for re-election next year, McConnell has raised at least $7.4 million as part of an effort to intimidate tea party groups threatening to recruit a primary challenger and Democrats who see ousting him as a symbolic victory akin to the 2004 Republican defeat of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.