February 15th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
3 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. Lucy, Austin, Texas

    The Republicans have voted unanimously against the new bailout, despite the fact the the previous bailout was with Bush and Paulson was the final failure ending the 8 years of Republican rule. Our networks have been showing the obscene clips from the show "American Corporations Gone Wild" produced by the Republicans for months. If they had all the answers, then why didn't they stop the absolute train wreck of our economy?

    Obama said that no one has all the answers, but we have to act now. I understand that it is a long way to recovery and yes, there will be mistakes and changes along the way. I believe Obama said he wasn't going to listen to the "same old same old" that got us here in the first place and American wants change. Obama evidently had enough of the Republican "whiners" and got the "new show" on the road. No one may be thrilled with our new "trip" with the Democrats, but I am glad I am buckled in and at least the plane has taken off. I would rather die trying than waste any more time listening to the Republican "whiners".

    February 15, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. 228rory

    I think it is clear where the bipartisan effort is coming from. Hey GOP... It takes two. There has been no clear indicator from anyone from the right that they wish to compromise for the benefit of the country, except for the senators from Maine and Sen. Specter. You can not pull from a sincere effort to embrace and then whine that the other didnt try. Stop playing "hard to get" and give a little.... just a little...... THATS WHAT WE VOTED FOR!

    February 15, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Elaine

    The GOP is correct – there has been an enormous failure of bipartisanship. The blame, however, rests squarely on the republicans and I hope the voters reinforce that message loud and clear in the polls and at the ballot box.

    Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths to invite, include, accommodate and respect republican participation. This latest republican "campaign of terror" is, in my opinion, yet another sleazy effort to divert the public's attention away from the important issues facing all Americans, be they democrat, republican, green, independent or other. I hope this reactive, emotional "hail Mary" fails just as the others have in the last few months. 2010 can't come soon enough so we can drum these divisive, backward looking idiots out of office once and for all.

    February 15, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Steve

    Well, well. Looks like the talking points were carefully instructed and then distributed by the lackeys.

    That opening skin on SNL last night was funny because it was true. The Republicans are out of step, out of ideas, and they aren't offering anything but "no".

    February 15, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Tony

    They do know no one is listening, but thier own narrow minded bound up base? Donn't they?

    February 15, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. bankheadguinn

    Here we go again John McCain and his Rupublican ccoleagues in the Senate being negative about a bill that hasn"t even begun. Can we not just let the President sign the bill and give it time before we start critizing his efforts. John McCain go back to the Senate and spend some time on some legislation like the banking problem and the mortgage problems that our country is facing. Put yourself to work and stop the ngativeity about our Preeident. I am so sick of this decension.

    February 15, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Mark, MO

    Give thinking people a freaking break.

    The definition of bipartisanship by Republicans is "Give us everything we want and take out everything the Democrats want.".

    The Republicans do not want any kind of bipartisan negotiation. They want everything their way and they are going to cause all kinds of problems to get EVERYTHING their way.

    The Republican party is acting like a school ground bully saying if everyone won't play the way they want they will take their bat and ball and go home. That is NOT bipartisanship but just the opposite.

    The Republicans are acting the exact same way they acted when they were the majority under Bush. It's their way or nothing. Scorched Earth policy is how Republicans want everything.

    I think everyone will see the Republicans will be doing EVERYTHING they can to make sure President Obama and the Democrats FAIL on everything. They don't care about the American people they only care about getting their power back and making sure everything the Democrats propose FAILS.

    When will people wise up and make sure these Anti-American Obstructionist Republican Congressmen are not re-elected in 2010?

    February 15, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. amt, CA

    McCain & Grahm just make me sick ! ! They & their admin led us into the mess we are in & now they act like they have all the answers. All they want to do is criticize & pick apart what Pres Obama does, because they are not the ones calling the shots. They had 8 yrs to come forward with all their wisdom & good ideas they claim they now have & did not. McCain lost. Pres Obama has made every effort to work with the repubs, more so than any other Pres, but the repubs want it to be all their way or not at all. That's the way they have always been. Congrats to Pres Obama for doing a marvelous job so far.

    February 15, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Jaime

    2 words..."POOR SPORTS"

    HE won, get over it! Geesh how fast the republicans turned from obstructionists to whiners?

    I guess all the one on one meetings with republicans and compromises he made on his bill don't spell bi-partisanship to the GOP, however digging in your heels and demanding it be your way or the highway (aka no votes) is.

    You guys are unbelievable!

    February 15, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. daniel cabrera

    The so called bi-pasrisian aproach never has been the cup of tea for the democrats.And so, it was a deception from moment one'

    Obama and his gang eventually will go down,...it is just a matter of time, they are embarked in a ANT-AMERICAN OR (if you prefer) UN-AMERICAN VECTOR OF ACTION, AND THE PEOPLE WILL REJECT THAT.

    DC,
    Merrillville, IN

    February 15, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Jenn

    We didnt vote for you for a reason, we do not agree with you! Get over yourself old man and GO AWAY!

    February 15, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. Mark, MO

    Give thinking people a freaking break.

    The definition of bipartisanship by Republicans is "Give us everything we want and take out everything the Democrats want.".

    The Republicans do not want any kind of bipartisan negotiation. They want everything their way and they are going to cause all kinds of problems to get EVERYTHING their way.

    The Republican party is acting like a school ground bully saying if everyone won't play the way they want they will take their bat and ball and go home. That is NOT bipartisanship but just the opposite.

    The Republicans are acting the exact same way they acted when they were the majority under Bush. It's their way or nothing. Scorched Earth policy is how Republicans want everything.

    I think everyone will see the Republicans will be doing EVERYTHING they can to make sure President Obama and the Democrats FAIL on everything. They don't care about the American people they only care about getting their power back and making sure everything the Democrats propose FAILS.

    When will people wise up and make sure these Anti-American Obstructionist Republican Congressmen are not re-elected in 2010?

    February 15, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Stimulus? Patooey!

    How many teachers, firemen, and poliscemen can we hire for $550 Million Dollars? Answer: A lot. So why are the Democrats spending $550 million on condoms, Pelosi's white mice, ATV bike paths, frisbee golf, and Philipine soldiers who fought in World War II?

    If anyone believes this is the best use of our money while so many of us are losing our jobs, homes, and retirement savings, then you are either from Mars, or have an IQ the level as donkey doo doo. Please folks, our government leaders can do better than this. I don;t care if you are Democrats or not, call your Democratic Senator and COngressman and ask them to take the pork out of the bill, and put it where it is needed ...they can do this, even now, with an addendum to the bill.

    And while Mr Obama chastises bankers from going on a conference to Las Vegas (where they would stimulate the local economy). the Dems spend $100 million on an outing in Virginia.

    February 15, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Steph

    I completely disagree with the Republican Senators. I saw President Obama reaching out, and I saw Republicans saying they weren't going to participate. I heard a conservative talk show freak saying he wished Obama would fail, but I didn't hear any Republican officials disagree with said talk show freak. I see a bunch of tax cuts in this bill, but only three moderate Republicans voted for it! I still have no idea what the Republicans' alternate solution for this economic crisis actually is...maybe they don't have one!

    February 15, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Claude

    Shut-up McCain & take your TIRED, OLD behind back to Arizona and let us not hear from you again. YOU LOST THE ELECTION! Get over it. You have NOTHING to offer. NOTHING! And take Lindsey Graham with you. You two can have adjoining rooms at the old folks home in Sun City.

    February 15, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. McMoron

    the sourest of sour grapes.

    Is the economy still sound, you moron?

    February 15, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. jonny

    it wasnt bipartisan because most republicans refused to be part of discussions. They dismissed the bill and refused to vote for it before it was even released.

    February 15, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. RQF

    The Republicans with zero credibility and a hefty amount of dishonesty need to shaddup, stay home, take notes and possibly learn how they have screwed up this country. Once they have accomplished that, they may show up for work in the senate and the house, I figure four years. Of course each and every one of these hypocrits must take an oath to preserve and protect the constitution.

    February 15, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Bailey

    Let me get this straight....GOP interest groups have gone so far as to threaten Republican congressmen saying they will run someone else against them next election if they vote for Obama's stimulus package...and then they try and convince us it's his fault he can't get a bipartisan vote???? How stupid do you think the American people are?

    When you have to stoop to BLACKMAILING your own party to keep them from supporting the president, it's clear who would rather let the country's economy collapse in order to preserve us vs. them politics, and who is really working for change.

    February 15, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. rs

    Well, that's just silly. Remember the last 8 years? Dems locked out of legislative activity completely. The Reps don't want bi-partisanship, they want compitulation. Too bad they lost.

    February 15, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Bill in ABQ

    I can't believe that Obama has been in office less than a month and these idiots are already criticizing his "failed" bipartisanship. Those few Republican senators are the very reason there wasn't more bipartisanship. But I guess with the Republican party being in the state it's in, they really have nothing to lose by making such deplorable statements.

    February 15, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Goldn

    John McCain and the rest of the Republicans need a laxative because they are full of poop!

    February 15, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Madeline

    What a pitiful, petulant, whiny joke of an old man McCain has become. Could somebody ask him whether he's told anybody how to catch Bin Laden, per his strident campaign claims or whether he's still keeping it a secret?

    Seriously, how can we have any bipartisianship when they only thing republicans are doing is recycling their same old failed policies? Obama said they're going to do what works, and everything the republicans are suggesting are the things that have failed.

    February 15, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Bonnie

    This is EXACTLY the change we voted for! Why can't the GOP get it thru their heads. We didn't vote to keep their bad ideas in play, we voted for NEW ideas, democratic ideas, good ideas. McCain is such a sore loser. They sure didn't care about being bi-partisan the past 8 years, but all of a sudden that's what they care about?

    February 15, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Failure is a Republican

    The Republicans got over 40% of the Stimulus package turned into Tax Breaks which leading economists say will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to stimulate the economy. They got exactly what they wanted added to the package. The Democrats basically folded like wet cardboard and added an over abundance of Tax Breaks and took out MANY good things that would have stimulated the economy to try and PLACATE the Republicans.

    Sadly the republicans still had a temper tantrum like a 2 year old and voted against the very things they wanted added. They ONLY way they would have voted for the Stimulus is if 100% of the stimulus were tax breaks.

    There was no bipartisanship on the Republican side while the Democrats bent over backward to give them what they wanted.

    February 15, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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