February 15th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
3 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.' "

Full story


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

    It's because the Repubs have vowed to try to block anything Obama tries to do. It seems Obama has been reaching out and no one reaches back.

    February 15, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. kaya.independent.

    He can't acheive bipartisanship if Republicans aren't willing to meet him half way. He can only do so much, he's not God. They need to stop being babies and most of all hypocrites. Because if this money was to fund another stupid war they would be the first ones to vote yes.

    February 15, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Kurt

    Your party brings the country to the brink of disaster. Your party is thrown out of power by the voting public. Now, your upset that your not getting 100% of what you want? Not giving the President ANY support on this was your choice. Good luck in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. Survivor

    Obama represents change for the country, obviously, there is no change in the Republican Party! It would not be "change" if he keeps playing by the GOP rules – it would then be four more years of the same past eight!

    Whats up with these dudes? Do they think we are "all" that stupid??

    February 15, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Patsy Madison, TN

    The Republicans lost and they can not take it. Graham was a big McCain supporter, and if President Obama turned this economy around tomorrow, it would not be soon enough for the GOP or it would not be good enough. They got together and decided they would not support anything that President Obama proposed. But, if you think the National Scene is acting like children, you should come to TN.

    February 15, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. mamanomia

    Nothing constructive from either McCain or Graham...why am I NOT surprised...

    February 15, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. rich

    Senator McCain needs to shut his pie hole. He needs to remember who one the election and most importantly for him, who lost. He has become a bittle loser, and his usefulness in Washington is rushing to an end.

    February 15, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Brandon from Ohio

    Now just so I can be sure I'm getting this straight - the Party who just got voted out of the White house, and who, two years before that, were kicked out of the Congress Majority, both for the same reason - tearing this country apart with partisan politics, getting us into a war with lies, and running our economy into the ground all the while violating its citizens' constitutional rights, are now saying the country is...oh what was the quote from one of their leading senators, hang on, let me copy and paste - "If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country's screwed," – Lindsay Graham. Thanks Lindsay, but I think I'll give the other team a try since you and your clown buddies have essentially torn this country to shreds over the past 8 years.

    February 15, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Peggy Lucas

    The President started off the right way; unfortunately, the Republicans decided to do everything in their power to make the President and the stimulus package look bad. This President is trying, that is more than the previous President or the Republicans did for the pas 8 years! They were the party that caused our economic crisis. I for one applaud the President for trying to do something right for the United States!

    February 15, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Billy

    How ironic. First the republicans don't support him. Then they say he's off to a bad start simply because they didn't support him. It is a clever strategy, but only a simple minded party would be concerned with trying to make someone's vision for change fail to make their own party look good–too bad the American people won't buy it.

    February 15, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. rich

    Sorry for doublepost. Please delete first.
    -----------
    Senator McCain needs to shut his pie hole. He needs to remember who won the election and most importantly for him, who lost. He has become a bittle loser, and his usefulness in Washington is rushing to an end.

    February 15, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    It would be difficult to see where McCain or Lindsey were actually trying to come even close to half way on these great issues – for them to say that the President has not tried one only needs to look at his admin to see 2 repubs in cabinet offices – this is more than bush even thought of – He (Obama) has alredy tried to meet with the repubs on there ground only to be critized for his efforts – For Lindsey to say that the country is screwed by Obama"s efforts is really just sounding a lot like there new leader Limbaugh the Clown.

    February 15, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Mockingbird

    Bad beginning? Please. The same people from the same party did the EXACT same thing to Bill Clinton's budget. Every single member of the GOP was ORDERED to vote against that budget, no matter what was in it. And every single one obeyed, just as they did this time around

    The current GOP legislators are lockstep, mindless obstructionists - plain and simple.

    February 15, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. Rich from Az

    You repubs have been screwing the country for the last 20 years. Lindsey and McCain are insignificant, nobody is listening to you two. You lost get over it.

    February 15, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Justin

    Why do Republicans sit back and play the "I told you so" card instead of moving this country forward amicably? Maybe its because I haven't met a republican yet who has lost their home. Maybe John McCain can lease out one of his seven homes.

    February 15, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Franky

    "Is President Barack Obama, as Sen. John McCain says, off to "a bad beginning"?"

    Talk to me when I'm finally wrong, because otherwise, I want my money by next week, LOL!!

    And by the way...my boy will be nice to you BUT the Dems...well, Andrew Jackson has a better sense what they'll do, LOL!! Hey, my boy can only so so much, you can hold your own bottle now...LOL!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. Franky

    OK so lets try this one again: YOU LOST THE ELECTION, PLEASE SHUT THE HECK UP

    February 15, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Franky

    You know, and I just remember...don't the GOP know about bad starts??

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. Jerome

    It's amazing to me that the Republican politicians in the minority continues "business as usual" of the last eight years, knowing full well they don't have the votes, just so they can claim the President is not bipartisan! It seems to me their idea of bipartisanship is for the Democrats to give in fully to their idea unwavering. The only gall bigger is that they then turn around and claim to speak for "the American people". I guess they didn't hear the American people speaking last November!

    February 15, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. Mike A

    The problem with the Republicans is that they offered only the same tired policies of tax cuts and deregulation that got us into this mess.
    Why would the Democrats give in to these proven failed policies as a sign of bi-partisanship.

    February 15, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Mary

    Why didn't they do something other than complain about the bill. They had eight years with Bush and six years of the Republican congress. Why didn't they get it right. Now that the country is in a mess they are still complaining. We know tax cuts don't work. The businesses as gotten tax cuts and billions of dollars. So, why have they continue to lay people off for years now. The Reps need to get off their egos and help the people whom they have forgotten about for many, many years. Give us some ideas, if you had no input, no votes so don't complain after the point. The economy will get better, it took eight years to mess it up and it will take years to get it right, before a Republican messes it up again. Let's talk about the trillion dollars that was there in the surplus when Bush came in office. What happen, gone! gone! gone! Let's get real here.

    February 15, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. mo hoffman

    why don't the banks auction off their bad forclosed properties???

    i'm against giving them more money!

    mc cain–sour grapes.

    tourism should be promoted, not demoted.

    February 15, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Jen

    Go away McCain.....

    February 15, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. HelloooOOOOO

    well, IF McCain really wanted to show his GOP party how bi-partisian works, why didnt HE go with the other 3 to negoiate TOO ???? Now, that would really have shown the republicans, he is a man of his word !!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    Bipartisanship doesn't mean the Democrats have to make all kinds of concessions for the Republicans. It means the Republicans get to make concessions for the Democrats. That's how it works when one party wins a clear and decisive majority two election cycles in a row.

    February 15, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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