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. Karen Beaumont, TX

    I say, forget the bipartisanship. Obama tried and the Republicans did everything they could to give him a hard time. Republicans just want to see him fail so they can gain control...that is all they care about.
    They don't seem to care about "regular folk".

    February 15, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Brook Mantia

    Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? Rooting for failure like loyal little dittoheads. I don't think the GOP really gets it that, if you want to do things differently, then you have to DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY! After getting trounced in the last few elections, you think they'd get a clue. They just sit around, with the same old tired objections, complaining that they don't get their way. I don't think they have any conception of the notion. I don't think they would know bipartisanship if it pulled down their pants and bit them on the backside. The concept eludes them. They bring us to the brink of disaster, and then hem and haw over unpleasant remedies while offering no viable alternative of their own. They just do the same thing over and over, expecting different results...and I think that is the definition of insanity. President Obama is doing a FANTASTIC job considering the mountain of crap he inherited, so GOP foot-draggers can just shut up and get with the program.

    February 15, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. C W

    Just because Republicans are stubborn and won't put the country ahead of their political agenda, does not mean President Obama has failed, nor does it mean President Obama has not brought change.

    It's the Republicans who haven't changed as they continue to try to push policies that have brought our country to our current financial crisis.

    For McCain to blame Obama for his own party's mistakes is ridiculous! And very typical of Republicans to blame everyone else but themselves for any problem.

    To Lindsay Graham, yes, the Democrats won and yes, the wrote the bill. They solicited your input and if you declined to participate, then it's your fault, not the Democrats.

    The Republicans are nothing but a bunch of cry babies trying by any means necessary to get their way. They need to accept that their policies and their party failed.

    The American people want what President Obama and the Democrats are proposing, not the same, old, tired, incompetent, failed voodoo economics of the past.

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

    CNN: We all know our road and bridges are crumbling – we see it everytime we drive around. We know our school are inadequate – we see it everyday – our Country's future is worrysome. We all know our Country needs upgrading – now and reading for the future. Imagine how many jobs this will create – perhaps even more than outlined. Imagine America and Americans leading the world into the 21st Century – it's so awesome and so possible and within our reach if we only see beyond today – getting our Vast Country ready for the future, just as our dads granddads did in the 30's and beyond. The dams and bridges they built, they did for their Country themselves and for us. – we can do that for the future as well.

    February 15, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. MsRotten

    NEWS FLASH TO MCINSANE.......

    We don't care what you think or what you have to say.

    Nobody (except the right-wing nut jobs) listened to you while you were on the campaign trail....nobody is listening now!!

    Do us all a HUGE favor....take Palin and ride off into the frozen tundra of Alaska!!

    February 15, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. jblak

    Teamwork is a two way street. to delay and do nothing is normal for the repivlican party as well as voting along party lines. the change should start based the last votes taken in this country, that will indicate were the change needs to occur.

    February 15, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. yuri

    Lindsay Graham, comfortably, forgot to use the term "the country is screwed" when "W" was in power and this lends ample credence to the fact that Graham is a thoroughbred hypocrite. Simply lashing out the toungue without trying to offer a mild mannered and constructive criticism, Graham and others, by adopting a "holier than thou" attitude, run the risk of earning the wrath of common Americans. Graham! You do not screw the country, please. Do not act like you know everything, and do not pretend to be an oracle, because, you, simply, are not.

    February 15, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Morgan

    McCain still has no clue or idea about the economy. If he were President we would probably do nothing because the fundamental of the economy are strong. We are only under a "mental" recession. Give me a break. i don't think you have to concede your ideology to make this bill more bipartisan you just needed more common sense from Republicans on recognizing when the Dems were making concession it's a good thing and you should follow suit. This just seems like Republicans were more interested in making political points than help the American people.

    February 15, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Allan

    We just held a national referendum on which party and which candidate's ideas about fixing the economy we supported. Obama won. McCain lost.

    McCain sits there smirking about generational theft when he voted for an alternative plan that would have added trillions to our national debt by giving MORE tax cuts to the wealthy.

    Go home and have Cindy change your Depends and get the hell off my TV, Grandpa.

    February 15, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Yinka Lawal

    I want the public to know that the economy is hurting our great nation
    and this is mostly cause by the ignorant of the republican, they will rather support a bill that will spend tax money in Iraq instead of at home, they forget that sometime when your house is on fire you don't care about the cost of the water. someone please tell republican to shout up, this are the people that vote for spending 10 billion in a mouth in Iraq. And I thought old man with old brain dont know anything about economy.

    February 15, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Crazy Cat Lady

    Baloney. The President met with GOP leaders more than once, the stimulus bill had a number of GOP-driven amendments made to it, according to Senator Arlen Specter a number of his Republican colleagues confessed privately to him that the bill was a good one - but when it came time to vote, what we saw was a bunch of histrionics and intransigent obstructionism, with all but three brave Republicans in lockstep to the party bosses' orders. Heck, Boehner and company boasted even before meeting the President that they were going to refuse to support the stimulus bill.

    McCain should shut his piehole after the disgraceful campaign he and his rabid running mate ran.

    February 15, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Tempered

    Wow - so much to say about this.
    1) These guys, who went along with Bush for 8 years, are now complaining about a lack of bipartisanship from Obama? That's rich.
    2) These guys, who were trounced in an election in which an overwhelming MAJORITY of Americans expressed their displeasure with the direction the Republicans had taken the country under Bush, are complaining about the direction Obama's taking the country? For real?
    3) These guys, who haven't cooperated with Obama at all, think he's actually going to stop doing the best thing for this country (which means undoing most of Bush policies) because they are whining about it?
    Keep it up, Republicans. You just keep digging that hole you're in.

    February 15, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Margaret in Maryland

    I find this amusing. It is the Republicans who aren't making an effort here. After 8 years of giving tax cuts to the rich, they suddenly were crying tax cuts for the middle in the stimulus negotiations. Trouble is, tax cuts won't create jobs or boost the economy.

    February 15, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. wes

    How can John McCain or any republican complain about bipartisan support when they are the ones who refused to work with Obama? This is a perfect example fo the games these jerks are playing. They offer zero help for the country. They only focused on political gains and how they can better themselves for the next election.

    February 15, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Sumar

    These two make me sick......Lindsey Graham says he knows bipartisanship when he sees it......give me a break......Graham says "We're Screwed" well who does he and McCain think screwed up this country in the first place? Who screwed up this economy? It was the Republicans and their leadership "Bush" . Now Obama in charge of this mess and instead of gripping about what Obama is doing to try to right the wrongs that the GOP made over the last 8 years...........they should be trying to work with the Democrats and Obama in fixing the mess that their party got us into........we have eyes and ears, we see and hear what you Republicans are doing to try to trip up Obama's Presidency, and we will remember come our next election, just like we did this election of 2008

    February 15, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Hopeful Optimist

    Either the media is not reporting things correctly or something is lost in the translation. Seems to me that Obama and the Dems are the ones reaching out to the Reps to join them in a bipartisan effort to make this legislation happen. I have a funny feeling that the Reps are playing a little game (probably orchestrated by their ideological guru Limbaugh) trying to convince the American people that they want to be cooperative. Its not working, and they'll regret this.

    February 15, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Luis Garza

    I don't put too much credence in men who's ideology caused the mess we're in...

    February 15, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. WAW

    John, for your information, this was a bi-partisan vote. The Republican Party was represented by three senators who put the country above their party. Too bad the party failed to do what was right for America. But then, that is nothing new.

    February 15, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Charles Qc

    If I was him I would not say anything, republican did nothing to reach out. And, I do not know if they noticed but they got slammed in the Election

    February 15, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. wycky

    mccain should now yake his nonsense to arizona, obama reached for you but you are stuck in the politics of ideology

    February 15, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. James

    2010 the year that the Republican party vanishes from the map.
    Thanks for loving party first and America second.
    A former Member...

    February 15, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. Jen the Mom

    John McCain certainly does not help matters by criticizing the President. Obama inherited this awful mess, he did not create it. This was 8 very long years in the making. No solution will be easy for our country but at least our President is making an effort to begin correcting the errors made by Bush & Co. I wish the media would stop giving airplay to the negative comments they are making.

    February 15, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. John in Canada

    Smells a lot like sour grapes... or maybe it's just McCain... either way it stinks.

    John.

    February 15, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Stella

    Oh it;s so hard for senator McLoser to accept he lost to President Obama with such a big margin and he just wants to be in the spot light with every chance he can get. GOP is dead you are all such arrogant, ignorant bunch of losers and its killing you to see that everything President Obama is doing which is completely against your policies is approved by his people. OBama is the change, and he has already showed that in only three weeks at the office by communicating every steps he is planning to take, he is the peoples President. Just accept that. Personally I don't think he should have had any replublican in his cabinet at all but then it shows what a decent person he is. OBAMA all the way . BYe Bye GOP

    February 15, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. ari from virginia

    Wait, let me get this right.

    President Obama was asked by the United States citizens to do a job.

    He tried to play fair by including everybody.

    Part of the people, we citizens thought that the people that ditched this country economically, politically, and our standing in the world–were continuing to predict gloom and doom and give all of our wealth to the "nobility" ie wall street.But, the present president wanted to play fair so invited them to play fair.

    Continues the tax cuts which these people wanted.

    Let me hear how many of these Senetors and Representatives will NOT be wanting the advantages from this bill.

    Keep whining–the election is just two more years away.

    You go Mr. President

    YOU'RE OFF TO A GREAT START!!!!
    WE ARE BEHIND YOU, SIR

    "if you are ticking them off you must be doing the right thing" !!!!

    February 15, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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