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.' "

Full story

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

    The Republican politicians are being incredibly disingenuous and hypocritcal. Over the last 28 years the Republicans have held the White house for twenty years and the Democrats eight. The national debt has grown by eight trillion dollars under Republicans and one trillion under a Democrat. They cannot hide behind Congress because Republicans controlled the Senate for nineteen of those twenty eight years.

    The bottom line is that while the republican mantra is smaller government and lower taxes, their policies have saddled the future children of this nation with a huge debt and they continue to play politics as if they had nothing to do with it. The leaders of the Republican party i.e the biggest hypocrites, ( McConnell, McCain, Graham and Boenner) should be looking for a rock to hide under so that they can stay out of the way while another Democratic president has to clean up the mess that Republicans have left behind.

    February 15, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Jon

    John McCain is a bitter, OLD man who times has come and gone. I suggest he cling to his guns and his religion because his time on Earth is coming to an end and McCain really has NOTHING to show for it.

    February 15, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. RC

    Will someone tell this old fart to go back sleep and let some competent people take control and run this country. We had 8 years of nothing getting done under Bush. Republicans want to go back to those days, let them. The rest of us want to move.

    February 15, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. GKL

    You can't negotiate unless you want to be negotiated, The repubs are sore losers.

    February 15, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. McCrazy

    If anyone cared what McCain thought, he would be the president.

    Obama tried to reach. Republicans still dont get it. Complaining while offering no new solutions, except the tax cuts that got us into debt to begin with is not going to get you support. In fact, if this is how they want to play it, 2010 is going to be a real tough season for the GOP.

    February 15, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Georgia Gal

    The problem with this is that Obama is the one that made the effort. He was one that went up to the hill and met with Republicans to try to get them on board, but Republicans turned him down and apart from Senators Collins, Snowe and Specter the Republicans made no effort to work with him or try to get a compromise. IMO, Republicans not Obama are the ones that failed.

    February 15, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Larry Houston Texas

    They should have accepted the First pakage, before it was changed
    at least they read it, at that time...That's what the republicans get, for constantly being a gridlock....Hope they get what they deserve....Now, since Obama is Pres, they don't know how to function (the repubs)
    especially when they don't have the Bush to lead them by their noses.

    February 15, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. sherry

    What would senator McCain have done if he was president?
    Tax cut's.?.......Yea that sure has worked the last 8 years.

    Why does'nt everyone just wait and see....give it a chance and see if the stimulus works. The republican party is so quick to blame.....but in denial when they cause havoc.

    February 15, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. MD

    The "GOP" (i.e. John McCain) needs to grow up and realize that Obama is just trying to fix the incredible mess the a former president left. To stonewall the unfortunate actions that Obama is having to take is down right childish and ridiculous. They haven't figured out that we are no longer playing cowboy politics. It's time to come to the table and compromise. What a bunch a partisan idiots. Desperate to save their precious party and not willing to admit that their party's policies of the last eight years has caused the biggest financial mess in US history.

    February 15, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. ObamaKennedy

    How could Obama achieve bipartisanship when the GOP is composed entirely of racist white people? Maybe McCain should do more inner reflection on his racism before criticizing another african american. Racist people like McCain makes me sick, especially in this age of Obama.

    February 15, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Shannon

    I think it is a shame that the gop want Pres.Obama to fail. Its like they want us all to fail. They lost this election give the guy a chance. Its not like he didn't meet with the gop and talk to them , he did and he was trying. Their the ones that are dumb and dont want to change their ways. I hope that the Gop get voted out of office and Obama turns this horrible mess around.republicians made this mess and we the people know this. Good Luck Mr. President were here and were with you.

    February 15, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Crzymoon2

    What's wrong Maverick, for 8 years you never complained on how the country was heading now you start to speak up. Too bad all you care for is tax breaks for your rich "White Americans" (just see pictures of all your political rallies). Obama has only been in office for less than a month. I say we give him a chance to try to fix this big stink hole your party took us down.

    February 15, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Pam

    Personally, I am not pleased with the stimulus package... but that is not important at this time. I just know I don't have the answers. However, with no disrespect to Sen. J. McCain, his comments & behavior are of a sad little man still smoldering from his loss. He & his party need to move on... take responsibility for most of this mess we are in & do the work they are paid to do. Stop the attacking & get onto the real business... move your EGOS aside & maybe show the country how to be bipartisan.

    February 15, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Molly Weasley

    Oh, the irony from the bad losers.

    Obama invited their input every step of the way. He met individually with Republican senators and representatives. And because they lost, and because potentially powerful policy that could really help the country is going to be signed into law, they'll do everything they can to denigrate it. They're actually HOPING for the country to do worse. They don't have anything positive to offer; they will obstruct all they can and say, "I told you so."

    Welcome to the incredible shrinking Republican Party - the party of "no." They're digging their own graves.

    February 15, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. RIP GOP

    bitter old man

    February 15, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Robert

    Isn't McCain the same guy that said, "Country First?" He's even commented that he wants to work in a "bipartisan manner" if he or Obama wins. Ha! It's going to be the same ol politics. Republican ideology – "If it isn't my way, then it's no way."

    February 15, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Betty in Arizona

    Just to hear Graham, McBush, and other loud mouth Republican Senators speak sicken me. What more could have President Obama done except to hand the bill over to them and let them do to it what they have done for 8 years, NOTHING!!!!!!!!! They couldn't get anything right when they could have. I hope we the people of Arizona tell McBush loudly in 2010, stick a fork in you, you are DONE. Outta here. We never want to hear from you again.

    February 15, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. mb

    Mccain should take the time and work with the people of Arizona to help curb the big problem of Illegal immigration in his state.

    February 15, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Colin, RI

    Wasn't this expected? This is the whole reason the Republicans have been fighting against the Democrats in Congress – to "prove" that President Obama can't deliver the change he promised in the campaign. They keep this up, there will be another change: fewer Republicans in Congress come 2010.
    The stimulus bill may be far from perfect, but it will still create more jobs than tax cuts will. Besides, how do tax cuts benefit those who don't have an income in the first place? The Republican party needs to stop looking at this like a spending bill and start viewing it as an investment. After all, you need to spend money to make money.
    And although President Obama did say that he was going to do his best to promote bipartisanship, I think the change we were all really looking for was the end of government corruption and the reformation of pointless programs, ie. No Child Left Behind and the Iraq War (which cost us more than than this stimulus package while we received NOTHING in return).
    Ramming legislation through Congress? At least the Democrats are getting SOMETHING done.

    February 15, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. J.

    I used to admire and respect McCain, but no longer. The GOP has one strategy and it is to obstruct and block everything that Obama wants to do. They are in a desperate position. They lack vision and courage. Obama did reach out, and they slapped his hand away with the same tax cut mentality that got us into this mess. Tax cuts won't do any good because corporations will take that money and invest it where jobs are cheap...and that i not the US. Tax cuts only help the rich, who are in no danger of loosing the homes. This tax cuts is $13 a pay check, how is that going to help me pay my bills or stimulate the economy?

    February 15, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    OH SHUT UP.... all the GOP does is put party ahead of our country.... it never changes.... look at the mess we're in because of GOP partisan, prohibitionist policies.... SHUT UP, McCAIN

    February 15, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. alvino

    The republicans took a great deal of pride in refusing to work with the democrats. Cable news had them all on, making it look like they knew what they were doing. Rush led them like sheep. The republican congressmen now have an approval rating below 30%. (democrats are up a little to 45%)

    What a bunch of whiners. Even though their actions were junior high school at best, I hope the American people remember this in 2010 and it comes back to cost these republicans dearly.

    February 15, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. JPM

    McCain was calling Republicans and working behind the scenes to get the Republicans to vote against Obama BEFORE bi-partisanship had a chance to work. McCain will do whatever he can to thwart this president at all costs. He can't stand Obama, there is no way he is going to work with him.

    February 15, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Paul, Riverside CA

    McCain = The voice of a bad looser.

    CNN, you should check out the poll on the home page that asks people the same question. If you wanted any idea how out of touch the GOP is, you'll have your answer:

    Do you think President Obama is off to a bad start 68% NO, 32% YES.

    If the GOP ever thinks they are going to gain power in D.C. again, they should avoid talking points from Rush & Hannity, and listen the American people.

    February 15, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Sebastian

    Hey McCain,

    You republicans had your chance for the last 8 years. This is your mess that someone else has to cleanup.

    How about do now what you did during your election when the financial crisis took a turn for the worste – suspend your politics.

    February 15, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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