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.' "

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

    Republicans didn t care about how the war was paid for. They never asked the American people to pay as we go then. They are in the position that republicans are better at. Complain Complain. I knew we were in trouble back when they had the power and they were acting like democrats. Their job in government is to be the watch dog. They don t want to lead and I don t want them too either.

    Everyone knows that the government doing a lot of spending normally is not the right policy. Well these are not normal times. We need money flowing and if the banks won t give it then the government has too. This action of spending is not the final solution but it is buying time for the banks to get money going to the people again and allowing us time to solve the housing crises. Now we have to solve it or we still fall down the rat hole. THANKS FOR NOTHING FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH AND COMPLAINING REPUBLICANS.

    February 15, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Robert the Man

    It all boils down to this:

    Republicans = Generally smart people, who want the majority of the country to be apart from the government and have an independant attitude. Meaning Governemnt is for the people, not people for the Government.

    Democrats = Generally uneducated people who believe the media on everything. If anyone ever speaks against them that person is either evil or racist.

    Its sad

    February 15, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Jon Stewart

    Yes, this is bipartisanship for the moron republicans ... they lost badly and now crying. Republicans better get some good ideas and new brains (and throw out these oldies of Gramm and McShame) to participate in the bipartisan debate and not the same old, tired politics of Washington

    February 15, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Greg

    I think it's becoming obvious that the Republicans want the President to run their agenda, not the one that the President was elected on.
    Making it impossible for President Obama to be bi-partisan runs to the source of the newest culture within the Repubs. Sadly the "hope he fails" mantra has spread to their core. I guess that speaks to the country also. The Repubs just aren't going to let Obama be bi-partisan, and will go kicking and screaming to the end.
    Maybe this can be solved in 2010 when a few more Repub dinosaurs are removed from office with their old thinking, old and tired ideas- just a bunch of old, rich people.

    February 15, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Al, Los Angeles

    What GOP wants again? They screwed up enough, they robed the country, fed well their cronies. Can't they at least wait a little before we get country back to normal, get a surplus and well running economy – may be then they'd attempt to make a robbery again? Why now? Their greed replaced their brains.

    February 15, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. ac

    The Republicans in the Senate, with 3 exceptions, are the ones who are off to a bad start. Obama has already reached out to them more than Bush ever did across parties. Bush used to have meetings on policy that were CLOSED to Democrats. But Bush and the Republicans are also the people who saddled us with $2 trillion in debt for tax cuts for their friends. (Look around you now to see how that worked out.) They are also the same people who spent $1trillion in our tax money so far for expenses for their war. Like the no-bid contracts for showers that electrocute our soldiers. Really. We paid for that thanks to Republicans! Obama has a plan that he hopes will work for Americans, and that will put money into the pockets of Americans. Republicans are doomed by their lack of flexibility and their thinking that the same old slogans will be swallowed by us. We remember who drove this country into the ground, and it wasn't Obama and the Democrats.

    February 15, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. C. Martin

    To a Republican, compromise means letting them drive and after they've run the car over the cliff (again) agreeing that we're both at fault because we were the ones who let them drive.

    February 15, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Liz

    If the Republicians had all these ideas on how to fix the economy, WHY did they not do so under the Bush administration????????
    Now that President Obama is trying to get us some relief, all he get from the Republicians is negative response.

    February 15, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. witch

    How many times has he tried to step across party lines and he has been rebuffed. There is change but the repubs won't accept it. They want the Pres to fail which is so stupid because it is the whole country who will fail .I HAVE LOST ALL RESPECT FOR THE REPUBS IN OFFICE AND I AM NOT ALONE.............

    February 15, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Jerry

    Since when should we listen to Republicans? Didn't they screwed up everything? If they had a clue about anything, we wouldn't be where we are right now. They're against spending in their own country but they're for spending in Irak.

    February 15, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. farrisb

    Republicans slamming President Obama??!
    Who'da thunk it?

    Why don't we give the new Commander-in-Chief a break already; he hasn't been at this game long enough to warrant judgment. Not to mention he's entering the Oval Office at a volatile time when nothing he does will get the country back on track...not anytime soon, anyway.

    Besides which, just the thought of McCain and his cronies in office is enough to give me goose-bumps big enough to use as a washboard.

    That's my two pennies.

    February 15, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Eileen

    These comments coming from John "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" McCain, really mean nothing. Remember, this is the candidate that had the political acumen to select Sarah Palin as his running mate! Good Lord. He has proven himself to be nothing but an angry, bitter loser. Obama was very gracious to him – much more gracious than McCain deserved, and McCain reacted with the mental maturity of a 7 year old.

    CNN, why do you even bother with drivel like this from McCain?

    February 15, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Marty

    I am not sure how this is being considered bipartisan.... There were only 3 Republicans out of the over 100 in the whole congress that voted for it.

    February 15, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. dee

    Republicans ran this country into the groung with bad fiscal policy and short sighted bandaid solutions. The American people threw them out of power. They now need to sit down and shut up.

    February 15, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Richard in California

    Graham and McCain must either be joking or delusional. To say that Obama's failed efforts at achieving bipartisanship on this stimulus bill are the President's fault is being disingenuous at best. I have been very disheartened at the GOP's efforts of tearing down President Obama's economic recovery efforts, and by extension, tearing down of the economic health of the US, in the hopes that the US economy slips into another Great Depression, just so they can say, "I told you so." How about stepping up to the plate, Republican Senators, and doing what's right for the country, and not just for your political party.

    February 15, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Susan

    C'mon, do you really expect major change in less than a month? Obama IS reaching out, it's the stubborn politicians that want to continue the status quo- They all need to grow up! It"s disgusting~

    February 15, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Carmine Abbattiello

    Republicans don't want bipartisanship. They didn't want it when they had the final say and they don't want it now. Instead they want Obama to fail so that they can reclaim the top spot in 2012. Talk about being in denial!

    February 15, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. John King - McCain - BFF

    John King:

    Do you take you donuts with or without sprinkles? What style of BBQ did McCain bring you?

    What's that brown stuff on your nose?

    McCain:

    Sour grapes – you WATB! Expected more honor from a war hero.

    February 15, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Danny, OH

    What is wrong with the GOP? Whom did George Bush contact for bipartisanship? They lost and will continue losing.
    Hypocrites.

    February 15, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Proud to be an American

    The Republicans continue to put party above country. If they can't have it exactly their way they toss the whole lot and revert back to party loyalty. Republicans put party before Country, party before Country, party before Country. Republicans are bad for the United States of America. If they want to live in a country with only one political party they should move to Russia or China and leave or Democracy alone!

    February 15, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. Ultima Ratio Regum

    This is not a game the democrats can win, since no matter how much they reach across the aisle the republicans will play party before country every time. Any failing here is clearly not Obama's fault – he has spent more time on the hill talking to the other party than we have seen in recent memory.

    And the republicans will wrap themselves in the party flag and claim they really know what's best for the country, in spite of the fact they are the ones who out us in this position with failed, failed, failed policies. They had congress, they had their man in the whitehouse, and all they suceeded in doing was blowing the surplus, increasing the size of government, and critically wounding the prestige of America the world over.

    Look up selfish partisanship in the dictionary and you'll be referred to the term "republican".

    February 15, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Proud American

    Let's look at this comment. McCain Loser is giving advice to the President of the United States. Isn't this the same Moron who tried to give us Palin as Vice President?

    February 15, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. Indy

    You need two to Tango! But when your partner closes his eyes and ears and yells tax cuts, tax cuts, then it just shows that they are irrelevant. Republicans will need to decide what is more important to keeping Rush Limbaugh happy (hoping that Obama and the country fails) or helping the American people.

    February 15, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Mike in Cincinnati

    The credibility of these guys is zero. Obama is off to a great start. Not without a few mistakes (specifically regarding nominations), but he has accomplished more in the first 4 weeks than probably any other President in history.

    The Republicans have one thing on their mind.... how to try and neutralize an extremely popular President with a popular mandate to act in the face of incredibly difficult problems that were largely the making of the Republican leadership over the past 8 years. (Admittedly not solely the R's fault, but largely.) The Republicans, in trying to maintain some level of power and influence, have no reason to compromise, and every reason to want to see Obama struggle. That is why you see ridiculous statements like the ones they are making.

    Sadly, they are missing the point that abandonning old style politics and workly faithfully with Obama on behalf of the country is the best way to increase their relevance. Hopefully, they will figure this out soon.

    February 15, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Kathy

    Thank God this man didn't become President! These people are unbelievable. They would finish running the country into the ground before they would support anything Obama tried to do. Your party is now over..now just..go..away.

    February 15, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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