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 in Louisville

    Let's see, Obama leads with his chin to work with the Repubs, and gets his face slapped. Then they criticize him for not being more bipartisan. The Repuglicans: The party of lies, fear, war and simplistic thinking.

    February 15, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. once upon a horse

    looks like the GOP still believes that being bipartisan means that the Dems agree with THEM on every matter. They are right about one thing, so far along those lines NOTHING has changed.

    February 15, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. Amanda

    McCain and Graham are two old farts who are material for comics. Their grand standing is pitiful and frankly they should retire to a nursing home.

    February 15, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. IndiePA

    Not that the Republicans would have done any different....or any better...but, in this instance, McCain is right. There's way too much of Pelosi's pork and no attempt to continue E-verify. This means that money going to the construction industry, which is one of the largest employers of ILLEGALS, will get funds to put 300,00 ILLEGALS to work. And, the taxpaying citizens of the U.S. who are unemployed will stay that way. Way to go, Congress! For those who blindly buy into the infused rhetoric, you and your children and grandchildren will pay, too. No wonder investors are buying gold!

    February 15, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Brian

    In the inevitable twilight of the once-great Republican Party, the few hangers-on in Congress have abandoned representative government for frat boy pranks: "Hey I've got a great idea–let's all vote 'no' to whatever Obama does and accuse him of not being bipartisan!" The only thing funnier than this being accepted as actual "strategy" is that they don't realize how transparent it is.

    February 15, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Billy Bob Bobson

    McCain and his sidekick Lindsay have acted like spoiled children during this process. You are currently in the right wing fringe of American politics. You should wake the heck up and smell the coffee. The people does not want republican solutions anymore. We tried it – it didn't work!

    February 15, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Ron

    This is rich... one would almost think that McCain had lost the election. The republicans in D.C. are bereft of ideas. There are millions of terrific republican/conservatives around the country who could really use some leadership. How do you have a party without leaders or ideas? Sad.

    February 15, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Ike

    It is McCain and GOP that has a very bad beginning not President Obama. American people are aware of the great effort Obama made for bipartisanship which McCain and his GOP faught had to discourage. We understand very well that President Obama's success in the office is their failure as such they are working had to see him fail. They should know that President Obama success story is the American success story and anyone workig against that success does not want America to succeed. It is unfortunate that McCain and GOP are working against the success of President Obama and the will of Americans.

    February 15, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. wally

    Hilarious response from John...the man who chose the most illiterate and ignorant Vice Presidential running mate, not to mention saying that the President should consult with the likes of Carly Fiorina (a corporate loser who relies on a golden parachute from HP's shareholders to support her political ambitions) and Meg Whitman (a woman with a 12,000 sq ft house in Nevada).

    February 15, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Toby in Illinois

    Obviously, to the GOP bipartisanship means letting the minority party rule.

    February 15, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Sammy

    So what else was Obama supposed to do? The GOP had the same old ideology that brought us into this mess to begin with and the sole reason for their opposition to the bill was they lost the election and wanted to do everything they can to make this presidency fail. When THAT becomes clear as daylight, why should the Dems give a rats behind about what the GOP wants, as their motive is clear and obvious, and we as Americans will not let this presidency fail.


    February 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    See the change the republicans can't see is this bill went to help the people of this country and not the top 1 percent see the plan the republicans wanted was the same ol trickle down economics that we voted out last year see the republicans think they lost because they spent to much money it wasn't that it was who they spent it on their buddies in the business world not the american people see they just don't get it and speaking of bi-partisanship the republicans will vote
    for a wall street bailout but a bill to help with everyday americans they will toe the party line.

    February 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. sally

    President Obama has done whatever he can to be bipartisan, and the
    Republicans have rejected out of hand all of his efforts. They are a
    group of nasty, vicious, politicians who care only about their own party
    and nothing about the welfare of this country. This is WHY they are no
    longer in power. SOUR GRAPES and g. t. h., all of them.

    February 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Rumsfeld

    Easy for you to say now, Senator. So much for all your campaign rhetoric regarding bipartisanship and consensus building. You are a disappointment.

    February 15, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Dan

    Well, John McCain just has to face the fact that he lost the election. If the american people had agreed with his vision for America.............he would have won the elections. That is what elections are all about. Almost-made-it-to-the-white-house arguments are not enough to dictate the direction of the country. The PEOPLE have spoken.

    February 15, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. Lori

    Is this sore loser serious? President Obama has done everything he can to reach across the aisle but the Republicans think that they can now act as if they are not the ones who caused the economic crisis in the first place and are here to 'save the American people from the Democrats'. What a joke!

    President Obama needs to treat the Republicans the same way the Republicans and Bush treated the Democrats- like garbage! We cannot afford to take economic advice from the same people that caused this problem- the Republicans!!!!

    February 15, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Wayne Smith

    Of course Republicans say that the President is off to a "bad start". They have to – all they know how to do is say "no", criticize, and want everything their way or no way. What baffles me is that even as thick skulled as they are, the Republicans cannot "get it" that America has changed – fundamentally, and generationally. I just shake my head in disgust. Can you imagine "W" acting as intelligently, boldly, decisively and rapidly out of the gate as Obama has and will continue to do? Puleeeeze.

    February 15, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Lilly Rose

    "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."
    No you don't. Bipartisanship is when two parties work together. President Obama tried, but the Republicans, but for three forward thinkers, bit his hand when he reached across the aisle. Actually, I don't think he owes you jerks anything else. President Obama's genuine reach across the aisle IS THE CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN. Unfortunately, the Republican party doesn't plan on changing. You will kick, scream and obstruct as much as possible So basically, on the Republican side of the aisle there won't any change. Big surprise!

    February 15, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. LA2NC

    I've really had enough of these GOP clowns. Where were they the last 8 years when our country was being run into the ground? I can tell you where they were.............. right there with Bush, taking turns holding the shovel as he and Cheney dug us into the hole that we're in. My advice to them.......... SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP if you have nothing other than tax cuts and moaning, groaning and complaining to bring to the debate.....................

    February 15, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. william reid

    who cares what John Mccain says?he lost the American people rejected Mccain strongly yet here he is talking he needs to mind the business of his Arizona constituents and stop trying to be the 2nd president he should retire here was a good man corrupted by politics.Its sad go marching home Johnnie while you still have some dignity left.

    February 15, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. Nancy

    It is so easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize what Obama is working on (what would McCain have done differently...more tax cuts that we've already watched not work?). It takes more than one person to fix the huge mess we've all contributed to (yes, even the past administration contributed). The Washington culture will not change overnight and the only way to get anything done right now is to have the majority in power. Our president knows this and is working the system that is in place now; the long term "change" we are hoping for will take some time.

    February 15, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |

    For real!!! His policy is go along with whatever i say or i will sick the media on you, call you a racist, call you an obstuctionist and the most annoying is listening to all these cluseless brainwashed college kids spew there hatred and ignorance.

    February 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. Peter North

    I like beans.

    February 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. America

    GOP seems to want to run the country down with the hopes of the President failing. McCain and buddies are too late to show real concern
    after 8 years!!!!!! They continue not to worry about whats happening HERE AND NOW!

    February 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Anthony from Miami

    Didn't you lose the election?

    February 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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