Massive Federal Spending May Lead Many Back to GOP, Senate Minority Leader Says

By Fred Lucas | February 27, 2009 | 5:47 PM EST

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (AP Photo)

Washington ( - Republican congressional leaders think runaway federal spending could drive a lot of Americans into the arms of the GOP.

“We must stage a comeback,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

McConnell recalled that when he was elected to the Senate in 1984, New Jersey had a Republican governor, and the GOP gained control of New England State Legislatures.

Today, a few Republicans hold federal office from New England, and no GOP senators are from the West Coast.

"We need to find the people who left the Republican Party,” said McConnell. “There was a good reason they were Republicans, and they need to give us a second look. We don't expect to expand our appeal by turning away those most loyal. Our message has got to get out."

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) (Photo courtesy of Boehner's House Web site)

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) decried the spending of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan and the $410-billion omnibus spending bill, currently working its way through Congress and which, according to the GOP, contains 9,000 earmarks.

"This is a big down payment on a socialist experiment," Boehner told the CPAC crowd.

"When I threw the stimulus bill on the floor of the House, Democrats said it was disrespectful," Boehner said. "Well, I think it’s disrespectful to take one trillion dollars from our kids and grandkids.”