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. david goldman

    ANOTHER SCAB ON THE AMERICAN POLITICAL FACE.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA SHOULD LISTEN TO THE OLD BIGOT.

    AFTER ALL HE, CHANEY & BUSH DID SUCH A SUPERB JOB.

    WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH OUR NEW FOUND WEALTH.

    WE ARE LOSING 600,000 JOBS A WEEK BECAUSE OF THESE

    SLEAZOS & THEY WANT TO CONTINUE TO RUN THE ECONOMY.

    February 15, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. Bob

    I think the last few elections have shown what the American people think of the GOP and John McCain.

    If only Obama would notice...forget them.

    February 15, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. CTeditorials

    The Republicans want Obama to fail at bi partisanship so they can tell the American people that he failed come 2012. So if they don't compromise they somehow he failed. This is the problem with politics today – the parties care more about their image and the trashing the other party rather than working together. For 8 years the republicans practiced absolutely zero bipartisanship. Everything was party line. Now if Obama doesn't succeed in complete bipartisanship in his first month in office he is a failure.

    February 15, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. Pepper Hanrahan

    McCain and Lindsey two old men who bluster about. Old ideas and so they have to bluster about to be heard. Lindsey/McCain bipartisanship only happens when it goes their way. They are just shouting for attention.

    February 15, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    Oh no! Say it isn't so! Get over yourselves Senate Republicans. There are only three of you who chose not to be pot-holes oin the road to economic recovery. And I thank them profoundly.

    Thank you all for your opinions but we've got a county to get out of the ditch so if you don't mind..lead follow or get the hell out of the way.

    February 15, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. Ira

    Once again the Republicans would rather knock the new President rather than trying to help. Why should we think otherwise; they're the ones that let this all happen, when they were in control.

    February 15, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. michele

    sounds like someone is a little sore looser.

    February 15, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. independent

    What a smoke screen!
    These are the guys who said the economy is fine.

    We will see in 2010 if the voters support the party trying to work for them or the party that wants to do nothing, because everything is fine and will work itself out on its own.

    Are you fine? Is the Economy fine? Whom do you believe?

    February 15, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. Emily

    Anyone who thinks Obama's off to a bad start, I would just like to know who they think would be able to do any better with the country in as big of a mess as it is.

    February 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Lush Limprick is the real RNC chairman.

    At least the old fool, is not whining about how he would have practiced bi-partisanship if only President Obama had committed to 10 town hall meetings over the bill!

    Repubs LOST, after 8 years a good majority of the American voters decided to let you know your way SUCKED!

    President Obama cannot do any worse damage than your pitiful obstructionist party has done to the country.

    February 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Hall for Obama

    Is this the same man who does not know how many homes he own?

    February 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    Republicans are TRULY unbelievable LIARS! And the American people can SEE that. Why do you think we voted the way we did in 2008??!! By all means keep obstructing progress and recovery ... your constituents will remember that in 2010. The American people are not fooled by your rhetoric.

    February 15, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Wynter

    Well if thats not the pot calling the kettle black? Obama asked them to meet and discuss this bill. Then they added amendments that failed to gain agreement on the bill. They had their chance to be part of the bill and FAILED miserably to do their jobs!

    The GOP are being OBSTRUCTIONISTS! They are not interested in seeing this administration succeed at ANYTHING! They got more than they deserved out of this bill and they are still whining because they didnt come to the table with ANY IDEAS! PERIOD!

    February 15, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. SamSunny

    Sadly, John McCain is so undeciplined he takes every side of every argument, every other day. He could debate himself. Obama is a very intelligent, deep thinking, open minded individual.....John McCain is not. John has never really been very bright, and now he is old and bumbling......and it shows.....a lot. A Lindsey Graham parroting his every word only makes them both appear absurd.

    February 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. xargaw

    We all know what an economic wizard McCain is. He doesn't have a clue about the economy or about working within the Senate. He is a hot head with a vindictive streak that lost his bid for the White House. Sounds like nothing more than sour grapes to me.

    February 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Rollon Thompson

    It is time for Senator McCain to shut up. He thinks has all the answers but the American people thought otherwise in November. He should use his energy to help unite the nation rather than challenge most of what President Obama offers. The American people voted for change, however, McCain would rather continue to think he has the answers.

    February 15, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Eric

    Lindsey Graham makes me sick.

    February 15, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. Dianne

    Give me a break. Sen.McCain should stop his crying and work with Obama. He lost the election because he had NO new ideas. The people voted for Obama's platform. The Republicans just don't get it. Maybe the next election will give them another jolt.

    February 15, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. pj451

    The gop can take their criticisim and shove it up their collective dark hole! President Obama has been wrong about one thing and one thing only, and that is his efforts to work with the republicans. Bringing them into the admisistration is a huge blunder as is thinking the gop gives a rats arse about america. We don't waan their help nor do we need it. Enact the nuclear option in the Senate and lets move on with getting the peoples business taken care of.

    February 15, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. Don't Vote For Hate

    They still don't get it. Bipartisanship doesn't mean a guy will do whatever you tell them to, it means you will listen with an open mind and put party aside for the good of the country and its people. Republicans should give it try.

    February 15, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. Lynn

    Where are the thoughts on the other side of the aisle. I especially thought President Obama's comment that he was "an optimist and not a sap" was an excellent summary of the lack of sincere bipartisanship of the "maverick" and his sorry team.

    February 15, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  22. Chipster

    Well, didn't the President make more of an effort at bipartisanship than did the Republicans? Boener openly pouted like a child. I never heard any constructive suggestions from them and please don't say "more tax cuts for billionaires!" That's what added $4 trillion to the deficit over the past 8 years. I really wish Republicans would explain why they suddenly oppose deficit spending after helping the previous administration dig the hole we're in. My advice to them is to grow up and either help the new President or get out of the way. His plan may not work but we know for a fact that theirs didn't.

    Sen. Graham: What exactly do you believe in? Continuing to cut taxes for the wealthy and hope they'll drop a few crumbs is certainly NOT change!

    February 15, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  23. Herbie

    OH YEA, OH YEA, OH YEA. YOU BASH A NEW PRESIDENT FOR TRYING WHEN YOU MR MC SHAME VOTED WITH THE PRIOR ADMINISTRATION MORE TIME THEN NOT AND BROUGHT THIS TRAGIC MESS UPON OUR COUNTRY. WHY NOT JUST BE QUITE, RUN OUT YOUR TERM, RETIRE, AND GO TO ONE OF THE MANY HOMES YOUR BARBIE, WIFE, BOUGHT FOR YOU. IN THE MEAN TIME QUIT TRYING TO BRING DOWN THE MAN WHO HAS, IS, AND WILL TRY TO BRING HOPE, TO THIS TROUBLED COUNTRY AND WORLD WE LIVE IN.

    February 15, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  24. TruthOnly

    John McCain and the entire republican party in both the house and the senate is a part of that " Good Ole Boy" CRAP, with no attention to vote for the Bill NO MATTER WHAT. The Whole World saw the President and Dem Party reach out for them. Its the same CRAP with that repub party. They said they didn't get the chance to read the bill, but the were on TV complaining it was too much PORK in it. These people DONT LOVE America. What a SLAP in the face of US Vets. They need to change places with our BRAVE Men and Women that fought in the war, came home, and now live in the streets. That entire repub party in both the house and the senate need to be disolved. They are useless, These people still have views that are 70 & 80 yrs old. We can see as plain as DAY, were going to vote them OUT and replace them with the Party that love the Country and that's the DEMS

    February 15, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. Evan

    Yeah, it's not what the American people were promised. President Obama keeps trying to get both factions to work together, and the Republicans keep acting like spoiled brats who have had their toys taken away. It's the Republicans' fault, but they'll never own up to it. They haven't taken responsibility for the nonsense and disaster of the last 8 years that they caused.

    It's a very bad beginning thanks to the Republicans.

    February 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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