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McConnell's Challenge: Please the Base, Keep the Majority

Senate Minority Leader U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) answers questions during a press conference at the University of Louisville November 5, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Senate Minority Leader U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) answers questions during a press conference at the University of Louisville November 5, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
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Mitch McConnell must balance twin goals as the new majority-Republican U.S. Senate convenes tomorrow: pushing through measures to please the party’s base without harming members who will seek re-election -- or the presidency - - in 2016.

Republicans get to set the Senate agenda for the first time in eight years. Yet their new 54-46 balance of power still contains the recipe for past gridlock, with too few votes to overcome united Democratic opposition or vetoes by President Barack Obama and plenty of members eager for a fight.