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. Kristi

    Obama promised bipartisanship, but Republicans don't even seem to be trying. If you know work is going on in some room for something you want to be part of, go do it. Figure out where you need to be and quit whining.

    People voted for Obama because not even the Republican party believes in conservative principles. Otherwise the government wouldn't have grown as much as it has, and we wouldn't be running a national deficit.

    Those three Republicans deserve to be applauded for staying in the room until the job got done. Other members of their party chose to complain to the press that nobody's listening to what they have to say.

    February 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    President Obama is off to a bad start because it is not the start you would have started with Senator McCain. The problem simply put is that you did not win so you do not have a start sir. Now he is our President and I hope that none of us want to see him fail because if he fails then we all may fail as a nation. I do not agree with all he has done to this point but then I do not think you will find anyone who is totally happy with each and every decision a President makes but since he is our President, I will support him.

    I hope that others will find the same middle ground I have found because right now our country is not in a position to be going off in different directions. That is how nations break up and we as a nation have come to far to do that.

    February 15, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. GOP- Girls of Petty-ness

    at least he's trying, unlike the "Mean Girls" GOP clique.

    February 15, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. Alison

    Please shut up and go away, John Mc Bush. Why would u support an economic recovery package when u are still in la la land and think the economy is 'fundamentally strong'?

    February 15, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. Soldier girl

    Lets hold the Republicans accountable, we should see which of them accept stimulus money.

    February 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Charlotte

    This is because the only version of "bipartisanship" they would care to see is some fictitious version in which the Democratic President, Democratic House and Democratic Senate roll over and let the Republicans walk all over them and call all the shots. They did this for six of the last eight years – and stymied all efforts for the past two for the Congress to actually do anything constructive – and they just cannot STAND the fact that they lost. So they are reduced to standing on the street corner, screaming their displeasure to any who will listen, and trying to make out as if somehow they are owed an upper hand just because they have had it for the last eight years. News for you, Bubbas – party's over, and if you won't play with the winners then you cana sit in the corner and suck your thumb. Nobody cares what you think if you aren't willing to acknowledge that you cannot have it all your way now.

    February 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  7. Hans

    Has CNN's website a hidden agenda? This morning I read yet another critical headline saying that McCain thinks obama is "off to a bad start". After numerous comments that McCain is a sore loser, the headline is subsequently changed to "Obama off to bad start GOP senators say". Give me a break. Who is in charge of what headlines are pumped out to the American people through the CNN website? President Obama is with the American people. If CNN wants to go the errands of special interest and the GOP spin machine, all I can say is: it will not work.

    February 15, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Matt, Pa

    Are you kidding with this? Grown up. You had your chance.

    February 15, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. Lu

    For 8 years he was in lock step with President Bush for funding the Iraq war and building school, roads, bridges, etc in Iraq, But, building and supporting American citizens is a waste of money for McCain?? My friend that is just wrong and the American people can tell that this is just grandstanding the in same manner as suspending your campaign durind the elections. However, I must give him credit for voting against the TARP money last fall, he knew his friends on wall street were crooks,

    February 15, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Larry

    I truly can not believe the Republicans are as blinded as they are ...

    How do they sleep at night

    They care only for the Party ... Not the people of this country

    Any effort to block the efforts of the Obama administrations efforts to better this country is TRULY UNPATRIOTIC ...

    Period ...

    February 15, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Why does this NOT come as a surprise. These yo-yo's cling to the "Dead Idea" that tax cuts (especially for the wealthy and other big shots) create jobs. This position is without doubt, ludicrous, as history has PROVEN so many times.When you are "brain dead" as these people seem to be you come across as out of touch, business as usual morons. Now to be sure, the Democrats are in the same boat but at least they seem to WANT to help the average Joe and Jane. As long as the GOP philosophy remains as it is there will be little if any positive change. I dread the cost but hope and pray Obama can bring about that positive change but right now it seems a forlorn hope

    February 15, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. Former Repub

    John Mccain It would be interested to see if you accept money from the stimulus package you reject.

    February 15, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. Scott

    Whatever you neo-con tools. I heard the same old same old from you bums in 1993 and look what happened in the 90's, we had economic growth, lower unemployment and (GASP!) less deficit. I'm so sick of this crap from them. Where was all their complaining about irresponsible spending the last 8 years?? Oh that's right, if its Bush spending a trillion $$ thats no big deal, if Obama does it its "socialism". I hope you people start waking up.

    February 15, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. Greg

    I just realized what these 2 characters and their story line remind me of- the characters in the movie Grumpy Old Men. Didn't Sen Graham say that he would do his utmost to obstruct anything Barack Obama might try to achieve if he's elected President. John McCain, well.... This is the scorched earth policy they adopted during President Clinton's administration. Maybe, just maybe, Nancy Pelosi's take on their motivation is correct. It's not about the country, it's about their mantra.

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

    Republicans don't even know how to spell BIPARTISANSHIP ...

    Never mind try to practice it ...

    Please ..............................????????

    February 15, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Craig - Hastings, MN

    I kinda liked how Senator Dodd and his colleagues slipped that "Executive Pay" provision into the stimulus bill.I've been hearing how all this "talent" would flee to somewhere else. So let them flee.Their position where by they are "indispensable is ridiculous.

    February 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Steve L.

    Are these guys for real. The president reaches out to them and they spit in his face. The republicans have already made up there minds not to cooperate in any way. Hopefully, the American voters will remember these guys are just there to be the opposition and to make sure that nothing good comes out of this presidency so as not to spoit their chances to put another genius like W back in there.

    February 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. Larry

    Anyone in our US Senate or Congress that does not have the guts to stand up for what they truly believe ... has no business being in the chair

    If you vote in a direction because it's what Your Party requires ...

    You don't belong in my Government ...

    Get OUT ...

    February 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. Richard

    John McCain needs to go away. Has he done anything good for the people of Arizona??????

    His tired old way of thinking and constantly blocking everything the president wants him to do will get him thrown out in 2010.

    Good riddance. Im sick of this guy.

    February 15, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. joseph

    The Republicans still think that the economy is fundamentally sound.

    February 15, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. Boisepoet

    Wait...these are the guys who gave Bush everything he wanted, including carte blanche to start his own empire on the Euphrates. They added 5 trillion to the debt, while allowing big business to bankrupt our economy. They fought hard to keep the minimum wage at $5.15 an hour, while decreasing taxes for the richest 1% of the citizens by billions. And the whole time they had Rove telling them that they were the party of the permanent majority, and they didn't have to include the Democrats in governing.

    Now these hypocritical, soul-less obstructionists have the gall to criticize Obama's sincere efforts? The Republicans have come to represent the worst that politics and humanity has to offer.

    February 15, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Just add up all the time the Republicans spent in front of the cameras stating they did not have time to read the bill...they should have used their time more wisely...unless they did not want to read it just so they could complain...just a thought

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

    Where are theses so called people in the last 8 years...who issued a blank check for a spending spree? These people have no shame at all. They have cut the stimulus that would directly go to the people and increase the amount of spending on big corporation in which they are either an adviser or a lobbyist. Shame on all of you!!!!

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

    The Republicans have made it clear that they have no idea what Effort is ...

    Unless it lines their pockets ...

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

    Yes, like the Republicans have a leg to stand on... anything to stand on. Get out the way!!!!!

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