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. saftgek

    The legitimacy of Senator McCain is all but zero. He should shut his mouth, continue to exploit his constituents for his existing term, and wander off into the Arizona desert. He has nothing to say worth an audience.

    February 15, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Hal

    McSame. . . This guy has lost it. He know nothing about the economy and apparently has forgotten about the whole "Country First" motto he promoted in the election. The GOP has decided that their "party" is more important than their country. Just like they slam the government "of the people, by the people and for the people." We should give tax cuts to the Southern states and repair infrastructure in the rest of the nation and let their economies go into the toilet along with their infrastructure.

    February 15, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Blake

    Wow priceless, never seen revisionist history begin so fast lol. The fact is only three Republicansattempted to be bipartisan and actually took the time to sit down with the other side and negotiate. Bipartisaship is like mutual respect, it takes two parties to actually respect one other.

    It's obvious, especially after the blatant partisanship of even making the statements in the article (sounds a lot like a parliament), that their strategy is to get in the way, not do anything, complain about everything and then blame their actions on the other side. Sounds childish and irresponsible to me.

    They must think the American people are extremely naive.

    February 15, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. tjaman

    The president's willingness to listen to the Rs does not obligate him to agree with everything they say, and vice versa. So long as the communication is open, that's really a good starting point. Incidentally, where the heck is John McBeth in this photo, on a ski tram in Innsbruck?

    February 15, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Karen

    The Republicans don't seem to realize, even though they supposedly can read the polls, that they are coming off as whiny losers. They seem to think that Democrats have to do what they say or it is not bipartisan. Heck, this stimulus bill contains more tax cuts then they have ever seen - it's just not for their top 1% of the income buddies.
    Despite they continuing crying and the media's constant giving them a platform, Americans are hurting and we know who is not helping. Grow up and give the American people some help.

    February 15, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. NoMoreExcuses

    You can expect the GOP to whine about the last few weeks, but all in all, the House and Senate on both sides looked kinda WINDED after doing REAL work for the people. I am getting a kick out of how the GOP as a whole is pretending the last 8 years never happened though. You just gotta love POLITICIANS. YOU BETCHA !!!

    February 15, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I think that the Republicans are fully aware that it looks like THEY are the ones that are the party of "NO", being divisive and not wanting to work with the Democrats. They have to come out and say something that makes them not look like the villians in this episode. It may work with some people but I think the opinion has already been set . They still seem bitter and act like the little kid who unless he can win all the time will take his ball and go home. They did a nice media blitz to try to get most of America on their side with this deal and it worked for a while but started to slip once the president hit the streets to tell his side of the story. SO now image is a problem and they have to do a "NOT US" claim. Let's see if outside the far right if this will work too.

    February 15, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. linda

    Some of the GOP'S had already made up their minds before obama even went thru with this issue-they had already said to themselves they was going to make it hard for Obama-okay but remember what goes around comes around,and they have to be accounted for their actions,when not voting for the package-some will return when the american people vote again-then those who voted against will not have a job, well they made their bed hard so they will have to lay in it,they are not even trying to reach out to others,just mean spirited,hateful and discussing & has it out for President Obama,but they better be careful very careful in trying to destroy him instead of working together for the good,that's why they are in the mess they are in today being greedy,dishonest,cruel and ridiculous-maybe one day they will learn things don't always go their way . They are not going to be civilized about anything Obama do it will always be wrong in their minds,so I don't care what the republicans do for I know it's all a ploy and set up to make themselves look good-when time comes to vote what will they do then when no one votes for the republican party.

    February 15, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. Lennon for president

    1) what do these people know about A. Bipartisanship (I don't believe they ever tried to reach accross the aile) B. the economy
    2) McCain lost BIG TIME...who is he to judge policies that help working people....a man with seven houses? yeah he can relate!!! NOT
    3) it was the republicans screwing around that got us into this mess in the first place

    February 15, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Dal CA

    McCain feels that the grapes are sour. Lets see if the economy starts to come around say at the beginning of 2010 then what will he say. He is sulking and is bitter about his lose. He needs to be more like Obama and meet people half way. Come on McCain lets talk. If you think both parties sat down and thrashed this bill out when will it have been approved or even written. I see it would have been 2012 before you guys would have agreed on any thing at all. Get over it and walk the walk and talk the talk.

    February 15, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. AB

    wait a sec....did'nt we just had an election
    who give a tooth about what the GOP says and thinks
    the country cant be more screwed than the last eight years
    give me a break

    February 15, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Staunch Democrat

    WELL, HE & THE DEMOCRATS DID WIN, SO WHAT ROLE DO YOU THINK THAT WINNERS PLAY GRAHAM????

    ARE WINNERS SUPPOSE TO ACT LIKE LOSERS IN ORDER TO LIFT YOUR PARTY'S LOW SELF-ESTEEM?

    HAVING A SEAT AT THE TABLE DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET SERVED FIRST, OR GET THE BIGGEST PIECE OF THE PIE. IT MEANS YOU'RE INVITED TO GET A PORTION AND YOUR PORTION WAS AN INCREASE IN TAX CUT, A CONCESSION THAT DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN.

    GOP CLOSED FITS TO AN OUTREACHED DEM HAND GAVE YOU NO MORE TAX CUTS. KEEP IT UP AND NO MORE SEATS AT THE TABLE.

    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.' "

    February 15, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. Staunch Democrat

    WELL, HE & THE DEMOCRATS DID WIN, SO WHAT ROLE DO YOU THINK THAT WINNERS PLAY GRAHAM????

    ARE WINNERS SUPPOSE TO ACT LIKE LOSERS IN ORDER TO LIFT YOUR PARTY'S LOW SELF-ESTEEM?

    HAVING A SEAT AT THE TABLE DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET SERVED FIRST, OR GET THE BIGGEST PIECE OF THE PIE. IT MEANS YOU'RE INVITED TO GET A PORTION AND YOUR PORTION WAS AN INCREASE IN TAX CUT, A CONCESSION THAT DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN.

    GOP CLOSED FITS TO AN OUTREACHED DEM HAND GAVE YOU NO MORE TAX CUTS. KEEP IT UP AND NO MORE SEATS AT THE TABLE.
    ______________________________________________________
    CRY-BABY GRAHAM SAYS:
    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.' "

    February 15, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Roderick Knight

    REPUBLICANS SCREWED UP THIS COUNTRY, LOST THE ELECTION AND ARE NOW WHINING..GIVE ME A BREAK

    February 15, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Kathey

    Get over yourself Mr. Mc Cain! You're part of the problem.

    February 15, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Mike Dallas

    Remember, you small tired bitter old man, bi-partisanship starts at home, you might want to review the token head of the RNC's Steele's stated view that "bi-partisanship is overrated".

    President Obama tried to approach the repubs and deleted issues from the bill to please them, still no repub support.

    It seemed like a good idea to me, but after being rebuked by the reptiles, I say he should agree with Steele. to he!! with bi-partisanship.

    CNN, it would be doing a service to you viewer's if you reported the official stance of the RNC on b-partisanship, when you publish one sided stories that President Obama is not practicing bi-partisanship

    You are getting more like Fox daily presenting only one sided stories. Are you now worshipping at the Murdoch alter as well?.

    February 15, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. Thomas

    As the Saying goes:

    1. Only that is Good, will Sell.

    2. Only the One Who is Tough, will Win the Race.

    3. Only who Knows the Direction, will not be Lost.

    McCain is neither Good, nor Tough and Does not Know the Direction. He will Therefore neither Sell, nor Win the Race and is already Lost..... Ha Ha Ha Ha

    Thank God we don’t have McCain as President. He wants our Troops to be in Iraq for Ever. We would have respected his ideas, if you would want our Businesses and Industries in Iraq for ever, rather than our Troop.

    McCain is a WARMONGER.

    For the First time, we have both the President and V.P. who are Learned Lawyers and we Hope they will think Lawfully, Rationally and Prudently.

    February 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. db63

    The republicans blatant pitiful cries about "bipartisanship" and being left out are the lamest form of hypocrisy. How about the huge omnibus bills that were sent out for votes with millions of dollars earmarks written in by greedy republicans with democrats being completely shut out. Or how about the Democrats being completely shut out from any consideration for any legislation during the whole tenure of the the last twelve years. How about that if anyone takes the time to look at the senate roll call votes that Republicans support each other over 95% of the time and vote lock step with each other and Bush. Democrats cross the aisle more than Republicans ever do and the Repubs have the gall too talk about "Bipartisanship" please.. I say end the filibuster and let the repubs languish in irrelevancy for decades to come and let the Democrats get to work saving this country after the disastrous criminality and stupidity of the conservative rule Once again.

    February 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Michael, South Hadley, MA

    McCain = Sour Grapes, Republicans are so negative, destructive, divisive and non-cooperative. We need to vote them all out of office for their disgusting, selfish and greed driven sensibilities.

    February 15, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    What can you say unless you worship at the feet of Rush? What a bunch of jerks... they've decided to circle the wagons, label Obama a partisan ideologue who won't work with Republicans – a strategy that will ultimately take them down for good, once and for all. They just don't get at all what the voters screamed at them on Nov 4 ... can't wait for 2010.

    February 15, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. chris

    Oh the things people will say to get elected. Does anyone else think that this stimulus package is a second budget for this year and that it is unethical and not needed for the government to try to "stimulate" the economy. Even if it was possible dishing out billions to specific projects is not the right way to do it. So I say lets call the bill what it is "An Excuse For the Democrats to Spend More Money and Ruin the Economy Bill"

    February 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. St. Louis

    Hah! It's the Republicans who didn't participate in the bipartisan efforts! It's the same old, same old from them.........blame on everyone else except themselves even after coming out of 8 years of getting us into the crisis we are in.

    I'm not interested in their old rhetoric!

    February 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. mojo3

    It truly is time for McCain, to pack it up and head home. He is a mean...angry old man, who still harbors negative feelings toward Obama because he LOST!
    Get over it. You and your NEGATIVE party. With attitude such as you folks possess...the Republican Party in time, will become EXTINCT!!!

    February 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. David

    What a bunch of sour grapes! Obama just got won the battle for a Stimulus Bill. Obama's popularity with the public has risen to the 70th percentile since he was elected by only 53% of the voters. It is the GOP who is off to a very bad start. It is no wonder they lost the election for the Presidency. They are so out of tune with the majority of Americans they don't even recognize it. They are living in a cocoon of insulation in which they only hear echos of their own distorted versions of reality. The GOP/Bush/Cheney government got us into this financial disaster and they still want to govern by the same policies and processes that has brought this country to its knees. For shame on these politicians.

    February 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. chuck

    LINDSAY GRAHAM AND JOHN MCCAIN ARE TWO OF THE BIGGEST REPUBLICANS CROOKS AND NEED TO BE KICKED OUT OF THE SENATE AND THEIR LOCAL STATES. THESE BASTARDS WILL ONE DAY DIE WITH THEIR NEYES WIDE OPEN. THEY ARE NO GOOD FOR THE REBUILDING OF THE COUNTRY.

    February 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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