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The Long Game - A Memoir

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In October 1984, a hard-charging Kentucky politician waited excitedly for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at a presidential rally in Louisville. In the midst of a tough Senate campaign against an incumbent Democrat, the young Republican hoped Reagan's endorsement would give a much-needed boost to his insurgent campaign. He even had a camera crew ready to capture the president's words for a TV commercial he planned to air during the campaign's final stretch. Alas, when Reagan finally stepped to the microphone, he smiled for the crowd and declared: "I'm happy to be here with my good friend, Mitch O'Donnell."

That was hardly Mitch McConnell's first setback, and far from his last. But as he learned when running his very first campaign for student body president in high school, you don't have to be the most popular, the most athletic, or even the luckiest kid to win. You just need to run the best campaign. So he swallowed hard, put his head down, and kept going. Four weeks later, in the biggest upset of the year, his dream of being a US senator came true-by a margin of about one vote per precinct. By persevering, he'd be the only Republican in the country to beat an incumbent Democratic US senator.

McConnell learned patience and fortitude during his post-World War II youth in Alabama. His mother helped him beat polio by leading him through long, aching exer­cises every day for two years. His father taught him the importance of standing up to bullies, even if it meant tak­ing the occasional punch. It turned out to be the perfect childhood for a future Senate majority leader. "In the line of work I would choose, compromise is key, but I'd come to find that certain times required me to invoke the fight­ing spirit both of my parents instilled in me."

The Long Game is the candid, behind-the-scenes memoir of a man famous for his discretion. For more than three decades, McConnell has worked steadily to advance conservative values, including limited government, indi­vidual liberty, fiscal prudence, and a strong nat
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