Mar 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

McConnell book: Tight-lipped senator opens archive to AP reporter


Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Image

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), one of America's most inscrutable power players, has made the surprising decision to open his archive to a journalist, and sit for long interviews.

Why it matters: McConnell's signature has been to keep his counsel and hide his emotions — rarely showing his hand or sharing his mind, as he outfoxed opponents, generation after generation.

Mike Tackett — AP's deputy Washington bureau chief, and a former New York Times political reporter — has signed to write a McConnell biography, "The Price of Power," for Simon & Schuster.

  • I'm told Tackett has been granted extensive interviews with McConnell and access to his vast archive — his receipts.
  • The trove includes everything from childhood mementoes to official papers. Tackett has begun the interviews.

The book, from powerhouse editor Priscilla Painton, is billed as a deep dive on "one of the most guarded and powerful actors in the nation's capital ... one of the most consequential political figures of this century."

  • No publication date is set — it's likely years away.

Between the lines: The wily McConnell — who would become majority leader if, as is quite possible, Republicans win the Senate back in November — is clearly thinking about his legacy.

  • In 2016, McConnell — who turned 80 last month — published an autobiography with an incredibly apt title: "The Long Game."

Tackett told me he'll explore: "How is it with all the turmoil in the Republican Party— from the Tea Party through the Trump era, a period that saw two House Speakers step aside — that McConnell has retained his power and authority in the Republican Party?"

  • "Unlike many other Senate leaders — Howard Baker, Bob Dole, even Bill Frist — McConnell never wanted any higher position than the one he has."
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