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. Steve

    My question is why can't the GOP reign in their rogue members in Main and Pennsylvania? These three alone just shoved 800 Billion dollars in debt on my self and my descendants. There should be a spacial place in hell to slow roast these traitors to the US taxpayers. Too bad they were not on Continental flight 3407 which would have saved the taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars in wasted federal spending.

    February 15, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. heidi

    What is the problem with the Republicans? Can't they see that THEY are the ones preventing change? They accuse the President of not keeping his campaign promise, yet they were clearly invited to the table to make a difference and they chose to behave in the same old stuck in the mud way they have for years. The President can extend his hand across the aisle, but only the Republicans can control if they return the gesture. So stop blaming the President for your own short comings GOP!!

    February 15, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Byron Caplan

    The way i see it, Obama spent the first few weeks of his presidency specifically reaching out to republicans. But when you have right wing GOP radio pundits like Rush LImbaugh saying that he hopes Obama fails as president, i see no evidence that the Republicans want anything to do with bi-partisanship. it's like they are sore losers and they are just not going to play ball. Their justifications for their stand ring as hollow as they did during the campaign last fall.

    Not only do the Republicans appear to be obstructionist, but I believe that to want the president to fail as president, is downright unpatriotic. After all, If he fails, we all suffer. I didn't like Bush, but at least i didn't want him to bring catastrophe upon my own country.

    February 15, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Griff

    Democrats. Republicans. If States don't Work together. They Won't because of Ignorance... When you Dictate in a Country you are a Communist... The States will not Work together... That is what destroys Democracy..

    February 15, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Sam

    Grumpy old men!

    February 15, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Perhaps John McCain still thinks that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong"...is that why he and the GOP stonewalled on so many aspects of this plan rather than supply alternatives? Hey, they GOT us into this mess with eight years of tax cuts for the wealthy and a one TRILLION dollar war of choice!

    February 15, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Amber

    Excuse me, dear Republicans, you lost the last election in a major way. Your esteemed opinions can no longer be taken seriously.

    February 15, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Cry Me A River GOP

    Oh Please,

    I would love to see the republicans come up with some better ideas. Bottom line, if Obama would have picked a stimulus plan filled with tax cuts, they still wouldnt like it.. Bottom line: GOP got us into this mess now they are afraid the obama will fix it

    February 15, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Dulcie - Denver

    Well, gee, it seems to me like Pres. Obama tried like heck to get them to propose *anything* besides tax cuts for their rich buddies and multi-million dollar corporations who offshore their labor force. In fact, they had to trim tax cuts for working families and cut education spending to get even *three* Repubs to sign on for the bill.

    The GOP has had control for 8 years and all they've done is balloon the deficit (no, it didn't just happen the day the Pres. took office) and widen the gap between the wealthy and the working poor. As far as I'm concerned they can screech foul until they're hoarse – I'm not listening.

    February 15, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. arkebo

    What is clear the Republican party lost in November and so did John McCain by a large margin , their policies rejected, it seems they just don't get it. Why would America listen to anything that John McCain and Republicans have to say now after eight years of voting with George Worstever Bush. The Republican hypcrites conmtinue.

    February 15, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. kuriya

    What does McCain knows about the economy was he not the one who did not know anything about the economy? Before the debt he even ask Hillary to help him what to say about the economy. I know he use bipartisan line I wonder if he did that when he lost to George Bush. He is a man who hold to grudges and say anything to hide his weakness. Republican say Obama is to a bad start. They should be ashamed of themselves. After all Obama did, even put their tax cut in the stimulus package, and do more to get their support non of them vote for the bill. They should all be worried come next election. What a hypocrite bunch of liars who care only for their party and not American people. I hope CNN will post my comment because they never so.

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

    Are those red or white grapes John?

    February 15, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. darby

    These Republicans are overcome with this New Religion: conservative government spending, bipartisanship, caring about the American people. Hogwash. Lindsay Graham's pugnacious mouth "is stinking up the place." These are the same cretins that rubber-stamped every deficit spending bill and budget, every expensive and nonsensical Iraq War bill, and all that neo-con, faith-based economic deregulation that got us into the mess we are in. Now Obama wants to spend some money to rebuild OUR country for a change, and all they can do is whine about not having enough say. Too stinking bad.

    February 15, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. S.M.R.

    How in your right mind do you think Obama would want to listen to your ridiculous right-wing ideals that got us into this mess in the first place. Are you people stupid. After the last 8 years of bankrupting our Country, YOU GOP CLOWNS SHOULD BE PUT OUT TO PASTURE!!!

    February 15, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. On The Fence

    Why is CNN falling for the GOP talking points? This is a non-story. The GOP is struggling for relevance at this point and will say anything to try to get a win in the daily news cycle since they have no answers or policies to actually address our problems. The only GOP policy response was tax cuts, which was already part of the package that President Obama wanted, so they had nothing else to offer. Then the new head of their political party suggest that being a fireman is not a real job because it is created by government - just nonsense.

    It is not credible that the same people that created the mess we are in over the last eight years somehow have come up with the right answers to these serious problems all of a sudden. If they had the right answers they should have already done something already when they were in power. The GOP needs to regroup and come up with some logical and coherent policies and principals instead of just stupid political tactics designed to feed cable chat shows.

    February 15, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Wayne

    I don't care about bipartisanship as long as something gets done to help regular people. That is what the country voted for and that is what Obama is providing. John is simply trying to keep himself and the rest of the republican relevant. We the people could not care less what you and your republican buddies think. We voted for Obama's ideas and for him to lead this country. You either jump onboard the train or we will run you over and leave you behind.

    February 15, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. j

    What i think they are failing to understand is that "change" was really "change from what they've (Republicans) been doing...and what got us into this mess". I love how the republicans are all about working together now that they are not in power. Stop whining.

    February 15, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Sarty

    Shut- you old prune.

    February 15, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. GA teecher

    Awwwwww Shucks! McCain is still miffed about losing...cry me a river!

    February 15, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Sandy

    The Repub's keep complaining that Obama is not bipartisan, but it seems to me that the Repub's idea of bipartisanship is that Obama let the Repubs' dictate what happens, and the Dems just get to take it. They do not want any give a little get a little in their version of bipartisanship. They want complete capitulation to their point of view. Bipartisanship has to work in two directions, where are the \Repub's efforts at bipartisanship?

    February 15, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Marty

    A sour looser.

    February 15, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Bridg


    February 15, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Diana NJ

    I saw this interview with the Gop candidate that lost... and the one who said the that American banks are sound... He has not gotten over loosing... He has done everything he can to go against the president... and if he were the candidate who knows how to reach across the isle.. He certainly is not showing it... OR IS HE SHOWING HIS DISRUBTIVE STYLE... .. He will be out of town when the President will visit his state? He said no to joining everyone for the football game, He votes aganist everything the President puts out..

    February 15, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Griff

    What Technowlegy you put in Schools does dont help everyone.
    But "Public Libraries" everyone has Access to... Every Public Library should have the Best Equipment available.,.. Plus every one have total access..

    February 15, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Lisa

    My God – these Republicans are disgusting hypocrites. Several problems with them – while many of us may not agree with all the stimulus – did they have any better ideas than their old tried-and-not-that-effective tax cuts strategy to fix this economy? And Obama has reached out to them more in one month than Bush did to the Democrats in EIGHT YEARS!! Pathetic!!

    The absolutely worst hypocrisy is that the past 8 years our debt has doubled under a Republican president – and for 6 years of the 8 – a Republican congress. Where were these so-called fiscal conservatives then?

    February 15, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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