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A group numbering in the hundreds gather to protest the appearance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky., and the policies of the Trump administration outside of the Jeffersontown Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Jeffersontown, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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Capitol Hill Buzz: Mitch McConnell defends obstructionism

A group numbering in the hundreds gather to protest the appearance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky., and the policies of the Trump administration outside of the Jeffersontown Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Jeffersontown, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is speaking up for obstructionism.

Addressing a chamber of commerce meeting in his home state of Kentucky, the Republican said Wednesday that obstruction can be OK — as long as it has a purpose.

That’s different from futile obstruction, which he argues Senate Democrats are practicing to stall the formation of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

“Look, I’m not against obstruction if you have a purpose. And I’ve from time to time been involved in that myself,” McConnell said.

“Obstruction with a purpose is different from futile gestures. The futile gestures that are going on in the Senate right now are our Democratic friends using every tool available to slow the process down for Cabinet confirmations, but they have no chance for success.”

No Democrat would dispute McConnell’s acknowledgment that he’s been involved in obstructionism himself, particularly regarding former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, denied a hearing by McConnell for 10 months last year.

But whether obstructionism is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder, and Democrats believe their obstruction of Trump’s Cabinet is not futile. Democrats say they’re shedding light on the nominees’ records even if they can’t ultimately defeat them.

An occasional look at what Capitol Hill is talking about

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