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. msgij

    We all understand what the Republicans are saying BUT we also understand that President Obama is better prepared and is doing better than President Bush did and also doing better than Senator McCain would have done if he had been elected. The bottom line even down here in red Mississippi, the current crop of Republicans just do not have credibility.

    February 15, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. Paul

    Criticism from Sens. McCain and Graham can comfortably be ignored, except for the historical interest that it's usually considered bad form for a defeated candidate to start whining so early in the victor's presidency. This is clearly a bitter man and his best friend still trying to convince the American public they chose the wrong man. McCain's pettiness convinces me of exactly the opposite.

    If the Republican's don't have anything to offer than blind obstructionism, they'll lose yet more seats in the next congressional elections.

    February 15, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. Rachel

    To the GOP –

    If this is your way of "re-inventing" yourself...keep doin' it. 2010 is right around the corner and you will lose...this country is in absolute economical chaos and all you can think to do is grandstand, smirk, and call our President names – the President that just won handily because of the PEOPLE!!! Stop whining and start working with the majority as opposed to against it for no reason...

    February 15, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. a southern bell

    THESE ARE THE SAME SLEAZE BALLS THAT SPENT 10 TIMES

    THE AMOUNT OF THE STIMULUS ON AN ILLEGAL & IMMORAL

    WAR THAT WAS LAUNCHED WITH ABSOLUTE LIES. THE

    NAZICANS CALL EVERY DOLLAR, OUR DOLLAR, THAT IS

    SPENT ON THE AMERICAN VOTER, THAT SAME GUY & GAL, THAT

    THE DOLLARS COME FROM, PORK, BIG GOVERNMENT ETC.....

    ON THE OTHER HAND THEY ARE 100% FOR BUILDING

    4 STAR HOTELS IN BAGHDAD WITH, MIND YOU, OUR TAX $$$$S.

    February 15, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. connie

    Who cares what these people have to say? we are living thru the result of their policies from the last 8 yrs. We voted for CHANGE< and we have gotten what the American people voted in overwhelming #s for! Time will tell the rest of the story. These Politicians are irrelevant!

    February 15, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. 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.

    Of course, McCain would consider it a bad beginning....they are trying to justify their extremely negative campaign statements.

    I'm not interested in their old rhetoric!

    February 15, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Dan

    I agree whole heartedly with McCain & Graham. This was not a bipartisan bill. It was a group of socialists now running our country……

    February 15, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Byron

    I do not understand people who ask for bipartisanship when the other party is in charge... you politicians are like little kids seriously... even my kids don't act that way... but then again, all of you folks old farts that need to be outed.... there should be a law that prevents 50 year olds from reaching office... we need youth, new ideas, new essence.

    February 15, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. FORMER REPUBLICAN

    YEA, YOU SCUM BAGS DID SUCH A GREAT JOB FOR THE

    LAST 8 YEARS YEARS THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA & WE ARE

    GOING TO DO JUST WHAT YOU WANT & THINK.00000000

    ALL OF YOU BELONG IN PRISON.

    February 15, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. mjvonshrum

    Stop Sulking, Bad Loser. You are just mad because you won't be able to start World War III.
    My family members live in Scottsdale and they are not going to vote for your war mongering butt.

    February 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. Obaman

    John Mccain is obviously not over the elections. I can see why he wants Obama to fail. People should call him out on this one!

    February 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. jack2539

    They cannot see the suffering of the American people for Looking at Obama.

    February 15, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. Dennis

    The general public will be watching the political process closely. GOPs unwilling to work with the President with his many overtures to them will be voted out 2010.

    February 15, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. Mark

    Dear Republicans,

    Do you even realize how SCREWED you are if the economy starts getting better? You're takign the idea of shooting yourself in the foot to a whole new level.

    2009 is gonna be tough, but if things start looking better in 2010, you'll be the idiots who tried to stop Obama from saving the country after Bush wrecked it.

    You'll face a VERY tough mid-term election, and in all probability will even lose the ability to filibuster.

    Bye Bye.

    February 15, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. tee

    Republicana should stop acting like babies and give us a plan.
    SORRY TAX CUTS WILL NOT CUT IT!!!. aLL I HEAR FROM THE REPUBLICANS IS COMPLAINING, LOTS OF SPINNING AND LIES
    EITHER THEY ARE WITH US OR AGAINST US. STOP ATTACKING THE DEMOCRATS PLAN AND GIVE A SOLUTION.

    February 15, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. dr.mimi de la cruz

    WHO DIED & LEFT THIS SCUM BAG A CREDIBLE VOICE.

    HE HAS BEEN & IS PART OF THE GROUP THAT LANDED

    US IN THIS SH-T HOLE. THE NAZICANS DESAGREE WITH

    EVERY DOLLAR SPENT ON THE PEOPLE THAT ACTUALY

    OWN THOSE DOLLARS, THE AMERICAN TAX PAYER.

    February 15, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. MissKaren

    If the Republicans had put forth some new thoughful solutions (other than the same song they have been singing for 20 years) and the Dems dismissed them, I would be concerned. You cannot shake hands with a closed fist. The Republicans "got no game" and everybody knows it.. Players with no game sit on the bench.

    February 15, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. debbie

    Bipartisanship cuts both ways. There were only 2-3 GOP senators – and only two – who publicly made it a point to review the bill to see where agreement could be reached. And those 2-3 are now being targeted by conservative groups. President Obama reached out. Republicans held fast on "tax cuts" as the only way to recovery, apparently forgetting that tax cuts had done nothing to protect the economy from collapsing in the first place.

    What the GOP still does not realize is that Americans believe on Obama and want him to succeed. He will make mistakes, and he'll admit them. He's asked for help from everyone, he's made a point of soliciting input and listening, and it's pretty clear the GOP is not interested in anything but protecting their turf. This is going to blow up in their faces in 2010 and beyond.

    Bipartisanship doesn't mean the president, who won with a clear mandate as did the Congressional representatives, has to capitulate to GOP demands. Or that he has to play nice with them while hundreds of thousands of jobs are lost within a matter of days.

    Imagine George W. Bush with a majority in Congress. I wonder how much input the minority reps would have been given? Uh huh.

    February 15, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. hexham

    What a bunch of whiny-pants plutocrats. They cannot for the life of them put politics aside and help the country, the GOP can only put POLITICS first. I think in 2010 there will be far fewer of them around, and I'll be thankful for that.

    February 15, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. Justin from New Haven, CT

    Republicans haven't done crap to ensure bipartisanship. Screw them.

    February 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. Ann

    Who cares what Republicans think? Republicans totally destroyed the economy.

    February 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Brad

    John McCain. Poor boy, lost the election and still doesn't get it. His party doubled the National debt in less than eight years. ( the first half of the national debt began building after Andrew Jackson) Ruined the economy, ruined our image as leaders, stomped on our friends, started two wars (won neither of them) Now they want to claim doing the opposite of what they did will ruin the country. I don't think we can stand any more of their brand of fiscal responsibility. His idea of bipartisanship is to blame everyone else and stand in the way of getting anything useful done. I used to really respect him.

    February 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. Peggy

    Oh gosh, I'm sorry, Senator McCain! Most of us just don't understand that "change" and "bipartisianship" mean "same old tax cuts." You know, the ones that never work. The ones you keep screaming and whinning about. The President gave you too much of what should have been a better stimulus package. Please stop complaining and try to work for the people of this country and not the far right wing of your own sad party.

    February 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. ran

    I can only hope the great people of SC and AZ will get ride of theses two party only obstructionist once and for all . Graham would not know bipartisanship if it hit him in the face. The change that is happening is not what they wanted but it is what we the people wanted,which is get things done. If the Republicans continue their obstructionist ways we will have 60-80 Democrats in the senate by 2012 maybe if we are lucky by 2010. In sports once a play is made everyone tries to make it work;but with the Republicans if they don't get their way completely they cry and try to take the ball and go home. We the people want solutions to our problems not ideologies.

    February 15, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. AJ

    Republicans view bipartisanship as the democrats caving in to their every demand. When have republicans ever cared about bipartisanship? What a bunch of despicable hypocrites.

    February 15, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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