February 15th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
4 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. Davis Miller

    The smallness of Republicans is nothing short of astounding. Tiny minds, tiny ways of viewing the world. How sad and unfortunate.

    February 15, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Irish-American

    in 2001 after George Bush barely won (or stole) the election, congress handed him a $1.32 Trillion tax cut (mostly to the wealthy). 8 years later, the economy is in shambles. How much more evidence do they need to understand that the right is not right and has not been for the last 8 years?

    The bottom line is, Republicans DON'T KNOW much about the economy.

    JUST SHUT THE F@#&K UP, JOHN "THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ECONOMY ARE STRONG" MCCAIN.

    February 15, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Richard Neffson

    John McCain give me a break. You claim that the stimulus package is theft that victimizes our next generation but what about your alternative plan that you introduced that would steal $2.5 trillion from our next generation to pay for more tax cuts to the very rich.

    President Obama did reach out to Republicans and after meeting with Republicans included more tax cuts then many progressives wished to see in the stimulus plan. Hopefully the people of Arizona will wise up in 2010 and realize that you need more time to spend in your seven homes.

    February 15, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Bill

    It is so important to republicans to get back some of the power that they have lost that they will actively work to ensure that he fails, even if it further damages the country. They have nothing to lose. Especially since most politicians at their level are multi-millionaires like John McCain. These boot lickers did nothing to stop the Bush agenda, but now are preventing Obama from repairing some of the damage. Sadly much of America is dumb enough to believe them. See for yourself what Foreclosure Phi l(Nation of Whiners) Graham has done for us.

    February 15, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Malbert

    So this is the Rush-publican strategy?

    Stonewall and then slam Obama for not reaching out?

    The American People are still waiting for an alternative from the GOP, who dug this hole for us in the first place.

    February 15, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Mike NC

    Dear Mr McCain and all Republicans since you are the ones that have screwed up America why don't you just be quiet. President Obama tried to work with you but if it was up to you thereis only idea that you have.
    CUT TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATE AMERICA. Can't you understand that we have tried this for the last 8 years and it does not work. If you had an idea like telling corporate america if you want people to BUY AMERICAN then you should bring back your outsourced jobs so that your products are made by AMERICANS. Also how about financial institutions which have outsourced jobs to foreigners that have access to our personal information so they can service and monitor our citizens accounts . AND NOW ALL THEY TALK ABOUT IS IDENTITY FRAUD. Maybe then we would listen to Republicans again. BUT THEN IF YOU DID THIS YOU WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GET THE KICKBACKS FROM YOUR BUDDIES.

    February 15, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Irish-American

    in 2001 after George Bush barely won (or stole) the election, congress handed him a $1.32 Trillion tax cut (mostly to the wealthy). 8 years later, the economy is in shambles. How much more evidence do they need to understand that the right is not right and has not been for the last 8 years?

    The bottom line is, Republicans DON'T KNOW much about the economy.

    JUST SHUT UP, JOHN "THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ECONOMY ARE STRONG" MCCAIN. America rejected you and your old, worn-out outdated, failed ideas and philophy. Now is time to go on retirement.

    February 15, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. barbara

    The Republicans are proving to be such whiners. Does anyone else remember them turning the lights off on the Democrats when they were trying to have a meeting a few years ago? Can you imagine what Lindsey Graham would do if the tables were turned? I'm from S.C. It's a beautiful place. Please don't judge us by our senators. They are an disgrace!

    February 15, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Indyal

    When I read some of the comments coming out of high ranking Republican's mouths I xan do nothing but shake my head, do they really believe what they are saying? They are talking about themselves, not the Democrats. John Boehner asked Republican's to vote no on the stimulus hours before a meeting between Obama and the Republican's to discuss the stimulus plan...if that's not a closed mind I don't know what is. Actually, I'm tired of both sides. I'm sick and tired of each side caring more about winning a political battle than doing what's right for Americans. I believe the bubble inside Washington is completely out of touch with what's going on in the rest of the U.S. I wish we could get rid of the two party system, I think this would go a long way towards more cooperation.

    February 15, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Emma, San Jose

    If you are a member of a political party that has lost a lot of power, would you not criticize the most powerful person in the world? But what good does it do our country to carp rather than moderate political strategies after demonstrating failure for eight years? John McCain would do well to remember Americans did not agree with his platform.

    February 15, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. barbara

    The Republicans are proving to be such whiners. Does anyone else remember them turning the lights off on the Democrats when they were trying to have a meeting a few years ago? Can you imagine what Lindsey Graham would do if the tables were turned? I'm from S.C. It's a beautiful place. Please don't judge us by our senators. They are a disgrace!

    February 15, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. alvino

    Who is the old man in the picture that is yelling at clouds? He looks familiar.

    February 15, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Polly

    Don't worry. He may come running back to Republicans after the economy starts showing itself for what it is. He doesn't have the answers to fix it.

    February 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. Carl again

    Many bloggers on here, including a Michael in Dallas, have said things like:

    Well Republicans that accept the bailout money for their state have no spine blah blah blah...

    Well, in case you bothered to read up on the stimulus bill and what the WH is saying, states MUST and WILL accept this money.

    It's like when Wells Fargo refused TARP money, and Hank Paulson told them they will take it and like it.

    I'm sick and tired of the same old argument from the same people here that simply don't bother with anything else.

    I get it, some of you dont' like Republicans. I get it, some of you don't like Democrats.

    Guess what.... BE QUIET!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. Karl Rove

    Republicans are not happy with compromise anyway, if they don't have it there way then they obstruct.

    We saw it for the last 8 years – there was no attempt to listen to the Dems.

    The difference now for the "up or down vote" Repub hypocrits is unlike the Dems who never filibustered (and probably should have) they instruct their members to obstruct and threaten filibuster.

    Too bad Harry Reid is such a wimp and doesn't make them actually filibuster in front of the American people.

    February 15, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Karl Rove

    Grumpy old man!

    February 15, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. WEST2910

    I am totally fed up with the Republican's behavior in regards to the stimulus plan. Their out of touch and hypocritical tactics are unbelievable. They should be ashamed of themselves. I have no words except – “You have got to be kidding.” Their obvious plan of attack will not work.

    February 15, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. Joshua S

    Does it seem to anyone else that the GOP had a big meeting in which they declared not to support any of Obama's proposed plans to make it appear as if there was no bipartisanship, in hopes that the generated headlines would "ensure" a victory for them in 2010?

    February 15, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Lisa in St. Louis, MO

    Guess what...by Democrats putting this stimulus bill through with virtually no Republicans, it DOES give us the CHANGE we wanted...the CHANGE was getting rid of the idiot former President GW and his policies (which were supported by the Republicans in Congress by the way) and giving the new administration's policies a shot... GW Bush and his Republican fat cat buddies put us in the mess we are in today, I am putting my faith in the Obama/Democrat plan to begin to get us out...

    February 15, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Jay

    After 8 years of not being to handle their own "son- W", these folks are taking the stage being critical of a president , in less than a month in office, has framd the real issue our country faces, and providing solutions, that are different. That is the change we elected this president to try.
    If these folks learn to say NO to their own president, and not conduct unjustified war, give the rich all the tax cuts, maybe we will not be in such a mess that different solutions needs to be attempted.

    How about the press outline some of the solutions these people are suggesting and do a critical analysis, instead of talking what this president has or has not done in three weeks on the job.

    Also, it will do you all good if you take a look at the mirror and see what you have done in the first three weeks of your first major position in life and see how you compare to wht this president has started.

    Focus on the positive and let us get on with progress.

    February 15, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Cire

    Oh I agree, if bipartisanship means that every time Obama comes up with an idea the Republicans shoot it down, the country really is screwed

    February 15, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Erik in Iowa City

    Since the GOP has no interest in working with Obama, I don't have a lot of sympathy for the white old man crew.

    February 15, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Stewart

    First I'm independent, I'll vote for anyone I think can do the job.
    There are very few Democrats that will do what is truly needed to save this country, and far fewer Republicans. The Republicans are handling there own demise quite handily, and with the Democrats we could throw out Pelosi and Frank as first choices to leave the island, and continue from there.....
    Obama appears to be the only person right now that we should keep included in repairing our country. He is the only politician I have major confidence in right now.

    February 15, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. D.Holiday OH

    Obama may be off to a bad start, but that doesn't mean it will always be that way first off. Second, you republican numb-skulls are the reason the country is in bad shape in the first place. I guess reporters and the American people forget the Democrats were no challenge tot he repbulican strong hold for 6 years of Bush and then the Democrats couldn't get anything done because the Demy's didn't hold enough seats to overide everything that bush vetoed. He never vetoed crap the first 6 years, so if Obama's off to a bad start it's not his fault. Let's not forget that Obama didn't put us in this position. Bush and his cronies did. Republicans are afraid that Obamas going to do a good job and that's why they are put obstacles in the way of him getting the tools he needs to do a good job. Bipartisanship? The republicans don't want that. Oh, if it were me I'd steam roll the repubs. Hey you had you 8 years; let's have our four before you start running you greedy mouths. Let see what Obama can do. If the American people don't like it...Well then I guess we will choose someone else. Otherwise...drive on!

    February 15, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. rob

    (copy of an email I sent to John McCain today)
    Dear Senator McCain,
    Your comments about President Obama's job performance are disturbing to read. I'm also dissapointed that you didn't support the stimulus package. Obama's off to a GREAT start Sir! The American people voted for change on 11/4, and that's exactly what we are getting. President Obama is a paid public servant, doing his job... acting on the will of the people!
    Sincerely,
    Robert M

    February 15, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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