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. mary

    This comes from McCain, the same idiot who picked Palin to be vice president? Give us a break. The GOP can all leave Washington!

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

    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 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Leslie

    Really? John McCain and his party are such HYPOCRITS!

    February 15, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Sharon

    That's righ McCain....keep the negativity growing in this country. I truly believe by writing about this the media has magnified the economic desperation we are in causing additional job losses. McCain is a stupid old man that is coming across as a sore loser here. It's time to support our country and get us out of this mess.

    February 15, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. Larry

    The only thing John McCain knows is bad beginnings ...

    He's a Pro at it

    Go home John ...

    Soak your teeth ...

    February 15, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  6. John Y

    I don't think republicans can even spell bipartisanship let alone act in that matter.According to Rush Limpballs you are supposed to shut up when you don't win the election so I guess it's time for the repubs to shut up!

    February 15, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    McLame should go steal some more from America so he can praise himself for being a good Republicant!!!!

    February 15, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. michaelb

    Please Mr McCain just shut your mouth. You had 8 years to do it and boy did you and your Republican cronies you ever do it to us! You and your party gave us the Iraq war which was based on lies; a complete fabrication. You doubled the national debt and made the ultra rich even richer while devastating the working man. Thanks but I'd rather try anything the Democrats offer than the tired useless rhetoric of your party.
    We tax payers have to pay for and clean up the mess you folks created and now you say that Obama is off to a bad start? Incredible, just incredible.

    February 15, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. John Turner

    Can any one ask all these senetors who voted against if they wouldn't touch the stimulus money coming there way?

    February 15, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Arkansas Undertaker

    He promised to take a shot at bi-partisanship, not roll over to every stupid and out of touch idea the Rethuglicans thow at him!

    Thats exactly why McCain lost the election!

    February 15, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. Jay

    The GOP did a fabulous job getting us into this mess. We voted for change - and the change is what the democrats are offering, not what the GOP is offering. The GOP deserves to be sidelined - they've been spending our money like drunken sailors in a land on the other side of the globe. We should only be so lucky if they're shut out for the next 8 years while we get this country on the right track.

    February 15, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. H in AZ

    Interesting that the self-proclaimed maverick toed the party line. The real mavericks were the Senators from Maine and from Pennsylvania, who rolled up their sleeves and worked with the President instead of jeering from the sidelines.

    February 15, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. Michele

    McCain voted against millions in aid for his own state, which has an almost 7% unemployment rate. But hey, he and Cindy are good, she made AT&T put a tower out by their house so she can get better cell phone service. Their motto : "Let them eat cake". John should go out and visit some of homeless constituents in AZ before he's so quick to trash the stimulus plan. Does anyone know exactly what more the Republicans want in the package anyway?

    February 15, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. William Korn

    This is fabulous. Aren't these the same folks who ordered their troops not to support the stimulus before the discussions even started?

    The Republican Party is in a time warp. They seem to think that all they had to do is please themselves. If the 2006 and 2008 elections haven't taught them anything, perhaps they can stay in the dark until November, 2010. Maybe the third time will be the charm for them.

    February 15, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Sandra Rector

    Republicans are still in the Bushy Bush/Richy Rich mode, only out to keep the rich/rich and poor./poor. they know their party has screwed up and screwed us so anything they do now is campaining and dirty politics.

    February 15, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  16. Judy

    Sour grapes! He lost.....

    February 15, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. no

    the republicans are hypocritical as usual. what a bunch of bull.

    February 15, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. bunkai

    so the GOP who are the ones responsable for this mess figure they have the answers? The only thing they have left is to say no to anything and everything since all their ideas ARE THE REASON for the problems. The people spoke, they were aware of what Obama wants to do and the GOP will only find themselves on the outside looking in worse then they are now. They need a complete overhaul just standing on the sidelines trying to understand why they lost and critisizing only makes them even more insignifigant.

    February 15, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. comb-over

    Could McCain be any more irrelevant? What is this guy doing to help the economy? Still pushing those ridiculous tax cuts? He balks at a 787 billion dollar stimulus that creates jobs, though he voted for Bush' tax cuts which cost 1.2 TRILLION dollars, and created... well.. an even bigger gap between the rich and the rest of us.

    February 15, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Salliesue

    Seems to me that Republicans think that bipartisanship occurs when Democrats compromise on a Republican bill, but not the other way around. I'm getting really tired of Republican whining – get over it and get to work!!!

    February 15, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. Rita in Mississippi

    The GOP look just plain FOOLISH whining and claiming that our President is off to a bad start. They're going to whine themselves right out of office and not soon enough.

    February 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. Simmy

    Sen. Graham and Gov. Sanford are both from South Carolina. Their state needs help just as much, if not more than some other states. For instance, 20% of their people are living below the poverty level. 50% more are either laid off or the "working poor," and are using food stamps. Gov. Sanford says he will not request any money from the Stimulus Package. I wonder how the residents feel about that. On second thought, that's a red state, so whatever. In addition, Sen. Graham, you may know bipartisanship, but you don't plan to embrace it. You've shown your true color.

    Sen. McCain's, your words carry as much weight as a sheet of cheap tissue.

    February 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. Steve

    At least he tried, John. You have done nothing but snivel about what a terrible job Obama has done, and is doing. He beat you in the election by a significant amount. Maybe it's time for some introspection. (that means look at yourself in the mirror and think about things that might be your own fault to you right wing Republican reactionaries).

    February 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  24. Kevin

    Let me get this right. Republican Senators can continue to conduct business as usual, but President Obama must change. Are they kidding? President Obama has made some mistakes but he has made a sincere effort to change the party line politics that poison our politics. President Obama tried to include Sen. Gregg on his cabinet, and went above and beyond by ensuring Sen. Gregg’s seat remained Republican. What was the result? The Republicans pressured on Sen. Gregg behind the scenes to coerce him not accept the cabinet position. Any relationship requires both parties to compromise. Can someone remind the Republicans there have to change as well?

    February 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. Lisa

    Angry old man shouts at the sky. McCain go home, you are irrelevant.

    February 15, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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