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. maeve

    Bipartisanship means both parties must act like adults and both sides must WANT to work towards a middle ground.

    This was not in evidence especially on the repubs side in this. They started off saying, "no," said, "no" all the way through, and ended all their closing arguments with a final emphatic, "no," regardless of their stipulations being included and alloments that concerned them being reconfigured in the final package.

    Along the way, Steele announced his thought that "bipartisanship is overrated," and Limbaugh wished loudly for the whole effort to fail.

    Even repubs on the Ticker pray aloud for our collective fiscal doom for no other reward than that they might be able to say, "I told you so."

    God help us. One side looks for progress while the other side looks for failure....and McCain and Graham bluster on.

    Gone are the dreams of working towards the common good.

    February 15, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. therealmarie

    Old White Hair Dude, irrelevant.

    February 15, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Lee Terry

    What a bunch of liars. The truth is they were not willing to compromise. You cannot market the same supply side economics bad ideas and expect the President and the country to follow. I feel like the Republicans are all about politics and nothing about trying to help our country.

    February 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. rob

    John McCain and the Republicans better learn real fast that the rules of the game have changed. They are no longer the party in charge. We don't want to hear from him or them in fact. Obama reached out to you and got the back of your hand. Now deal with it, and be quiet.

    February 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Blame the REPUBLICANS!!!

    @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.Why didn't you 2 Zeros join the three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Now that is bipartisanship you made a choice to be partisan and course get on the bad side RUSH the Repubs Leader

    February 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Obama can talk about "bipartisanship" all he likes, but unless he reins in rabid tax-and-spenders like Nancy Pelosi, he's not going to get it. She's arrogant and seems to have a personal dislike-ranging-to-hatred of the Republican "enemy."

    And, by the way, it might do Obama some good to practice a bit of "multipartisanship." I'm most definitely not a bible-thumping Republican neo-con, but I'm not a mushy-headed Democrat either–as a libertarian, I don't have a lot of use for either of the variation-on-a-theme-of-huge-government "major" parties.

    February 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Guillermo Bert

    I'm disgusted about Republicans bickering on Obama's stimulus package, particularly of Senator McCain that not only lack of original ideas but it seems that he forgot that he was just defeat it big time for this reason in the last election.
    Also he was voting with Bush constantly so he is responsible for the mess that Obama is trying to clean.
    President Obama inherited this night mare that affect everyone in the USA precisely from the same people that criticize him for been "reckless" and "to put a big burden in the the future of our children".
    I think they should do this criticism looking at them self in the mirror and allow President Obama to govern.

    Guillermo Bert
    Los Angeles Visual Artist

    February 15, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Carol, California

    Whatever Obama does – it's a hell of a lot better than having McCain in office.

    February 15, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Frank

    At least Obama had a beginning...HE WON. Now how did that election work out for you McCain? You, the rest of the OBSTRUCTIONIST REPUKES and the pill abuser should do what is right for the American people and STOP YOU SHENNANIGANS

    February 15, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. EW

    Whatever losers.....keep crying.....we dealt with your garbage for 8 years and there wasnt even an attempt at bipartisanship.....

    February 15, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. Larry

    “I know bipartisanship when I see it.” says Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona If this what the republican party sees as bipartisonship then I am voting Democrat the next time! The Republican party looks to me like they didn't hear the election is over.
    Country First?

    February 15, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. What Up Please

    Republicans need to get a clue.

    Right now they don't have one.

    They want to talk the same old nonsense they always do, to the people who always believe it – so be it.

    But many of us have learned from the Bush/Cheney/Rove/Gonzales/Rummy era.. and are not buying any of it any more.

    February 15, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. pikerover

    Republican bipartisanship = 100% what they want.

    February 15, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. FuzzyFocus

    Sounds to me like the raving of a loser. Grow up, man. Bipartisanship is a two-way street.

    February 15, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. no credibility at all

    It is a symptom of how sclerotic and braind-dead the DC-centered press corps is that they are giving the grousing of Republicans so much air time, even when polls show that Obama still enjoys great and deserved support while the GOP is properly viewed as the political equivalent of the bubonic plague.

    The senator currently criticizing Obama are precisely the people who got us into this mess through their misplaced priorities, venality, and downright stupidity–yes, the Democrats have some blame to shoulder, too, but let's not forget who was in charge of the exective and legislative branches for 6 of the last 8 years. The Republican leadership was also notorious for shutting out those on the other side. So Obama actually makes a real attempt to hold out his hand, and he received a middle finger in return.

    Well, my friends on the other side of the aisle, elections have consequences. You could have mitigated those consequences by realizing that you would have done your own political futures and your constituents a favor by working with President Obama. You have instead chosen the bankrupt ideology taxcuts and the well-worn strategy of trying to shout down common sense. Good luck with that.

    February 15, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. Suzy, Auckland, new Zealand

    With the Repugs intent on "making life difficult" for the President and wanting to make sure this President fail, how hypocritical of McLameDuck to even to comment on the lack of change and bipartisanship. The Americans should be thankful that he and his mouse chilli running mate didnt get into the White House !

    February 15, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Ravi

    Senator Lindsay Graham needs to watch his mouth. I am tired of these old-style GOP folks defining bipartisanship as "agreeing with us 100%". President Obama has reached out to Repubs like I've never seen!

    Also, both the States and the People spoke clearly on Nov 4. We all wanted change. Not just in the bad behavior, but also in policies.

    February 15, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. donna,fl.

    Why would anyone listen to this angry old man,not I..He's a loser with a big republician chip on his shoulder!

    February 15, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. Paul DObro

    I remember the Dems being steam rolled for years (like 2000-2006) and did not see any republicans reaching across the isle, but now its WAH WAH WAH.

    Get used to it republicans.

    February 15, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. dennisk

    The American people are smart enough to see through the (continuing) lies of the GOP. They have no interest in working with the new administration to accomplish anything of substance for America. Just like their god, Rush Limbaugh, they want to see our president fail, and they are doing everything they can to make it happen. But they will fail, because true Americans will rally around our president and accomplsh much in the next four years, despite the best efforts of the Republicans.

    February 15, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. ajay

    Why are we giving any attention to this pathetic loser who picked such a horrible choice to be a heartbeat away from the most powerful job in the world. John McCain made terrible choices over and over again during his long tenure in the Senate, and during his campaign, both for working Americans, as opposed to the tiny wealthy elite he is part of through marriage to his wife's beer fortune money, and for all Americans with his wasteful votes for the Iraq debacle and his sleazy behavior during the Keating bank scandals of the 80's. Even with a bill offering huge amounts of tax cuts – cuts all economists agree are virtually worthless to stimulate the economy – see how much good the last Bush tax cut did? these enemies of the American working men and women continue to only say No to any plan that does not stick to their own narrow and backward looking agenda. we have news for you guys, and John McCain – YOU LOST!!!! get over it, and let us try a different direction without your constant efforts to derail positive plans for change – if you had wanted bipartisanship – you could have ad it – you guys walked away.

    February 15, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. GOP = Geriatric Obstructionist Pityparty

    Sounds like a bitter old man has gotten out the knee-pads so he worship at the alter and get back in the good graces of the bald, bloated bonehead party chairman.

    P.S. All you folks that are now and will be unemployed soon, remember the repubs thought any help to the unemployed were "entitlement spending".

    February 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. TBS

    The Repugnicans simply have no shame.

    "Bipartisanship" and "Caving in to Rush Lardbaugh" are not synonyms.

    Obama made repeated attempts to win over draw them into the process. The world does not revolve around the GOP. We would not have a recession/depresison now, if their leadership were grown-up enough to realize this.

    February 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. Peter E

    I would trade every single member of Congress, both major parties, and all of this "bipartisan" rhetoric for one actually NON-partisan person with brains and goodwill.
    No, bipartisan is not the same as non-partisan!

    February 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  25. BOOTSTOMPER

    What a hack McCain is. Old and senile. Good thing he already lives in Arizona he wont have to go anywhere when he's put out to pasture.

    February 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25