February 15th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
8 years ago

Republican senators slam Obama's early efforts at bipartisanship

Sen. John McCain says the Obama administration is off to a bad beginning.

Sen. John McCain says the Obama administration is off to a bad beginning.

(CNN) - Top Republican lawmakers Sunday called on President Obama to change his political strategy, arguing that the passage of a massive stimulus bill on a party-line vote showed he has failed to deliver the "change" he promised.

"If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country's screwed," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told ABC's "This Week." "I know bipartisanship when I see it."

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Obama was off to "a bad beginning," out of step with the vow of bipartisanship both men made after Obama beat out the Republican presidential nominee for the White House in November.

"It was a bad beginning because it wasn't what we promised the American people, what President Obama promised the American people, that we would sit down together," McCain told CNN's "State of the Union With John King."

The $787 billion bill made it through Congress with the support of three Republicans - Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Obama is expected to sign the bill Tuesday in Denver, Colorado.

"This is not 'change we can believe in,' " Graham, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, told ABC. He said Democrats "rammed it through the House" after starting out "with the idea, 'We won - we write the bill.' "

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Filed under: economic stimulus • GOP • President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (623 Responses)
  1. Anthony Vela

    To hear Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. John McCain and the other Republicans complain about how President Barack Obama isn’t being bipartisanship is a joke. Where was the call for bipartisanship by the Republicans when they were in office?

    The Republicans and their old ideas are what put us where we are today. Everyone knows that in the end, it’s the party in power that moves their agenda forward. If the Republicans what to just sit by and complain, than the Democrats should move forward without them.

    There is a reason why the Republicans are on the outside looking in and it is because they have no new ideas, and they don’t really care about the common man. I like their plan of attack because it will only make them even more irrelevant than they already are.

    February 15, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. Gloria

    Lindsay Graham wouldn't know bipartisanship if it hit him square between the eyes.

    February 15, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. GARY

    America voted for him.lets see what time will tell.I say we will be in deeper debt. They will say anything to get elected.Its after they are what, happens.

    February 15, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. eduvigis

    The republicans talk so much about religion and beeing conservatives; what happend with there faith. All they talk about is that they are scare the stimulus is not going to work. Where did there faith go? T hey are running so scare now; but sat down like sitting ducks when Bush bailed out the banks. There politics are politics of fear. They don't know the first thing about faith and hope. They are so worry it is our money ;but can I call them to send me my money to pay for my son's house that is on foreclosure? It is not our money is the rich's money and they don't want to let it go. They are not worried about the poor; they are worried that there is no money for them to control and help the rich get richer. Where were they hiding when we got in this mess? They should not talk about God if they don't have faith.

    February 15, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. Dev

    Did I expect McCain or any of the repubs to say anything different. Not really!

    Bipartisanship is a two way street senator!!!

    February 15, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Robert

    What else would you expect McCain to say – The republicans are the ones not reaching out, they got whipped good for the mess they created and now are in full steam ahead in attack mode on the dems which will get them further in the murky waters they like to swim in come to think of it; a good place for them to remain for the next 12 years or more.

    February 15, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. Paul H

    There was no effort what so ever, and they didn't even care that the general public was watching the whole time. They can do what they want.
    That's why by the time it's time to vote again people will be sick of this, and want change yet once again.

    February 15, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. Sandra,Atlanta

    It is only bipartianship if the GOP gets everything their way. They are all a bunch of hippocrites! They keep trying to re-write the history of when they were in power and let Bush and Cheney do exactly as they liked.
    But in the interest of making progress for the people they are elected to serve, I think they need to get rid of Pelosi, Reid, Boehner, McConnell, McCain, and some others to try and make headway for the people they serve. They all are in it for themselves and I personally think all of them are worthless.

    February 15, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. texasgreenacres

    fact is the republicans wasn't all that bipartisan when they was in power the last 8 years.enough said . so as far as the people of this country are concerned and i mean the majority the ones that rule.You know majority rule! We are saying to the IDIOTS STICK IT WHERE THE SUN DON"T SHINE. THEN SIT ON IT!

    February 15, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Shar

    McCain, what are you and all of your cronies doing here? If Obama fails, we all fail. Give the man a chance and let him get the job done without a lot of negative attack all day and all night long. If it were intended for you to be President, you would have won. Instead, you made bad campaign decisions before you could even get through the gate. I shudder to think about the awful mishaps you would be making up as you go along if you had won. Please stop. And tell Sarah to go hide in a hole like Cindy.

    February 15, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. RSB

    I think Obama tried but Republicans didn't want any part of it. With them it's their way or no way. They got us in to this mess and think it should continue. Even if he had a good idea they wouldn't agree. Really sad but until they understand how the average American lives they'll never get it.

    February 15, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. Pete, OH

    "Graham: I Dread The Day Obama Becomes President" – Aug-31-2008:
    So what else do you expect from this guy, other than endless cacophony? This is what Republicans do, they complain and destroy!!

    February 15, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. gsawalker

    I agree with Senator McCain! Washington is being run the same old way as the last administration! We just have a different group of greedy characters spending the tax payer's money on their pet, pork projects! We all voted for change, transparency and a government representing all the citizens. This is the largest spending plan ever in the history of our country! It is OUTRAGEOUS and before anyone agrees with it (all the bloggers) I sure wish they would take the time to read and investigate where all this money is going!!

    February 15, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. Dan in NY

    With all due respect to Senator McCain, his party did nothing to try to compromise. All the Republicans did was complain about the bill, but only 3 (Snowe, Spector, and Collins) stepped up to the plate. The President can't deliver a bipartisan measure if the Republicans are unwilling to compromise. The fact that the American people rejected Republican ideology on the economy should tell them something!

    February 15, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. louise, SAnta Barbara, CA

    You GOPers are just sorry you lost. You lost because you didn't do the last 8 years. Give the Man a chance and "play nice" for a change.

    February 15, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  16. Over It

    McCain, he meant sit down with republicans NOT just with you alone! He extended the invitation for bipartisan talks on the bill but almost none wanted to be a part of it. No one brought NEW, INNOVATIVE ideas. I'm sure if you were president right now, you too would have a hard time. To everyone on Captial Hill who insist on being so negative: if you spent as much time being positively productive as you do bad mouthing President Obama to anyone who will listen, CHANGE will occur. The democrats cannot do it alone nor can the republicans, everyone needs to work together....keeping the survival of this country's people in mind! People are losing their jobs, their homes, some cannot even meet their most basic needs! This is no time to be selfish!

    February 15, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  17. Oh Please

    These GOP ppl REALLY R full of themselves!!!! The president should take a page from Pres. Bush and tell Congress to Kiss his @ss and do the dayum thing that gets this country moving in the right direction. Not Right Wing direction. losers!

    February 15, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  18. John

    McCain & Graham along with the GOP are just driving more republicans to support a very popular President.
    I hope they continue so we will win more republicans like Charllie Crist!

    February 15, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  19. gungle555@yahoo.com

    When is obama going to realize he dont need these fools in the republican party,the gop will be absolete by 2016,because of the rise of the minority vote,its just immpossible for them to win anything,its not like 1994,when the minority vote was only 15 percent,but the minority vote is 28 percent now which makes it immpossible for the gop to regain power,you heard it here first people"the gop will be absolete in a few years because they cant over come the big minority vote

    February 16, 2009 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  20. Jessica-Independent

    If the republicans' idea of bipartisanship is to only have things their way is dellusional. it was clear since from the beginning that they were not interested in working together with Obama and never will. They are banking on him to fail so that they can get an advantage in future elections. So much for country first. I can wait for an opportunity to vote them out.
    The stimuls was not perfect and they could have done a lot more to make it better.

    February 16, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  21. Robert

    Please explain how the republicans have been bipartisan? All they offered were to continue Bush failed policies that has this country in mess it's in today.

    February 16, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. Elliana

    GOP need to shut up and get out of the way! They were quiet during the last 8 years and let Bush run this country into the ground! Off to a bad start, they say? Why? Because he is actually doing what he promised and that doesn't sit well with with Repubs? Shame on GOP!

    February 16, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. H R Mickelson

    The R’s remind me of spoiled children who when they don’t get their way, throw themselves on the floor kicking and screaming. Most parents know the way to deal with this kind of behavior is to walk away and don’t pay any attention. R’s quit your child like behavior and grow up.
    Don’t you just love poor losers? R’s you lost the election and most likely will lose again in 2010. Your selfish policies protecting only the rich and powerful caused this mess and you do not have the common decency, or intelligence, to admit your errors and really see your highly weakened position in this matter and act accordingly.
    However, I don’t believe for one minute that the R’s will act in an adult responsible manner, when you go to take away from the rich and powerful all hell will break loose. Let the knife fight begin.

    February 16, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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