February 15th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
8 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. Scott L

    Obama is already the worst President ever.

    A party line vote is NOT bipartisanship and if Obama keeps saying it is, then he needs to stop smoking the smack and doing the blow that he has already admitted to doing.

    February 15, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. KG

    Hey It could be worse Obama could sell the UNITED STATES to EUROPE, they have aready offered to get us out debt.Anyway It's In GODS hand now.

    February 15, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Pat Marin

    Their lame efforts never fail to amaze me. They are still stuck on the same old, same very old message and policies. Why would more of their same junk work now? Isn't that how we got here today? Get over yourselves – the rest of the country already has.

    February 15, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. seriously?

    Gibbs is exactly right. Obama has reached out to Republicans and they won't reach back.

    Funny how we get a Democratic president and Republicans complain that he doesn't do things the Republican way. No kidding!

    February 15, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Peter

    Hey John and Lindsey, Obama is trying to correct what the REPUBLICANS have done to this economy for the last eight years. Also, he tried to reach accross the aisle and you clowns said no. Blame your own party. Not him

    February 15, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Doanld,Canton, NC

    Am I to believe the current Republican leadership and congressmen in both Houses of Congress all of a sudden got religious over their party's basic principles and phylosophy?

    This after eight years of willingly allowing George Bush and Dick Cheny to bankrupt this nation and trample on the Consitution.!!!

    Give me a break! This is precisely one of the reasons you got trampled on in last November's elections.

    Now all you want to be is obstructionists to anyone who is trying to bring this nation's economy back from the edge of a bottomless abyss which YOU directly contributed to.

    For John McCain, John BONER, and Eric Candor, along with the rest of your mouthpieces, along with Rush Lumbaugh, I have one thing to say - SHUT THE HELL UP AND HELP GOVERN TH IS COUNTRY INA POSITIVE MANNER OR GO HOME.

    We, the people, can no longer afford your endless tirades on both floors of Congress and your goody-two shoes concern for future generations. Where were you the past eight years!!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Monet

    Republican should stop bickering.This country is in financial distress due to their errors over the past 8 years.The country did not hear all these comments when President Bush was in office.They have been part of the problem.They are men & women with old ideas and do not want to change. They want to change the entire bill to suit their own personal agenda of keeping the rich rich and keep the poor poor. Their ideas and ideology did not work before and they will not work now.This economic stimulus package is certainly better than what they have done and have to offer.Get on board with new President and his administration or go somewhere and sit down. The American people are tired of the REPUBLICAN PARTY.

    February 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Big D

    So if the GOP knows that Americans want them to do it differently – why aren't they? Why aren't the GOP being more bipartisan and so serve the people that they were elected to represent, in the way that those people want to be represented? Right now, they're just screaming 'no' for the sake of saying no, and then saying because they didn't cooperate it shows that the whole process isn't bipartisan. Nevermind that Obama reached out to the GOP more than the GOP ever reached out to the Dem's before. Nevermind that the voting public really, really, really wants the GOP to cooperate positively to get things done, not obstruct negatively just to be able to claim 'no change' and 'not bipartisan'.

    February 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Independent_me

    Yeah. Right.
    The President met with you guys, invited you to participate; put Republicans in his administration, hired one of you when you asked for the job (Gregg)...and all you have done so far is spit in his face.

    Your contempt for President Obama is stunning. You are trying to spin his efforts, and we can see right through you.

    George Bush never, ever even attempted to pretend to be bipartisan during his 8 years in office. So don't even go there. You guys are like nazis. You march in lock-step to the party line and threaten those moderate Republicans who dare break rank.

    Obama needs to forget about trying to include you bunch of failure-no ideas-ideological-despots in anything that he does. You hat him more than you love the country and so you are wiling to do anything to make him fail.

    Your lies and twisting of the facts won't work. Not this time. We are on to you!

    February 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. joe

    Anyone else find the Republicans cries of not being listened to simply hilarious? After eight years a Republican says the country is screwed! How do you think it got that way? Every economist says we have to spend big now. Eight years with Americas first MBA president and we got screwed. The banks stole our money, the guys on Wall Street drove the price of gas higher and higher and we waged a war of choice on the national credit card and now that all of those problems are being dealt with the Republicans feel left out? You don't ask the party that brought us here to contribute solutions. More tax cuts for the wealthy won't work. The whole trickle down theory has been proven worthless. Shoveling money to the rich only makes them hold onto it. Not create jobs. Look at the banks. They created the problem, we handed them billions and instead of fixing the problem they just held onto it. Thats why their rich folks. They horde it. They don't share it. If the Republicans think the country is screwed now you have to wonder what they though was going on the last eight years.

    February 15, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Amazing

    Obama went to these folks, and their response was... not ONE supporter. When we talk about "no change", we're talking about members of the Republican party.

    The Repubs are only willing to play if we keep using the same strategies that allowed us to get in this big mess.

    This spending package is not any bigger than the TARP. The difference is that it's not going to their buddies.

    The choices now are... Lead, Follow, or Get out of the way. They have three choices, but choose to Stand in the way instead. Then, they whine that the Dems do it without them.

    BTW folks... the childish name calling doesn't help. Please leave that to Rush and his kind.

    February 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. sick n tired of CNN moderators

    Oh so I suppose the Republicans are suddenly experts on bipartisanship now! I don't recall McCain or Graham ever being cheerleaders for bipartisanship at anytime in the past 8 years! All these 2 buffoons ever did was lobby for deregulation of corporate America and Wall Street and look where we are today! Why don't you 2 take a bow! The charade is over!

    February 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Justin

    I'm beginning to the GOP's idea of bipartisanship is for them to get their way, when they want it. It's this "our way or the highway" ideology that cost them the election. It was their failure to sit down and compromise. Now, here we see they've learned nothing.

    February 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. DC

    dude its only been 3 weeks...its not going to happen ASAP

    February 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. PatCJack

    John McCain you lost now show the people of this country you claim to love so much some teamwork. Pick yourself up and help the president. Stop fighting against him and the country.

    February 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    If Bush was still in there they would think it was great, the republicans just wanted to drag it out longer, I do wish they would have read it first before they voted yes on it.

    February 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. D

    Sorry Mr. McCain, you lost, and you are bitter. What else is Obama supposed to do? He brought the bill down from almost a trillion to $797 billion, he included many tax cuts, he took out a lot of wasteful spending. You are just bitter that you lost and are trying to blame the President. The only ones to blame are the Congressional Republicans, especially John Boehner, and John McCain himself.

    February 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. P J Evans

    Republican definition of bipartisanship: 'Do what we want, or we'll wreck the country.'

    They haven't learned anything from the last two elections, and are trying really hard to remain clueless.

    February 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. S. Burns

    How dare those Republicans criticize Obama for partisanship when they were as partisan as they could possibly be! As I recall McCain's campaign slogan was "Country First". How quickly that changed to "Party First." I have no sympathy for their obstructionism and am happy that there were three GOP senators that did put their country first. Most of the GOP's idea of bipartisanship is to do it all their way; otherwise they're a party of whiners!

    February 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. WhoisRight

    When was the last time a liberal kept what (s)he said he(r) would do? Are you suprised then?

    February 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Dan from Kitchener

    Why doesn't CNN research the Daily Show where Jon Stewart showed clips of the GOP Senators speaking a few years ago and then contradicting themselves during speeches on this bill. That would be true journalistic reporting without bias.

    February 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. robby

    Hey republicans, if you insist that tax cuts is the ONLY solution to any economic crisis, then you aren't going to get much attention from the other side. Basically, bipartisanship for you would have meant $800 billion in tax cuts with majority of them going to the wealthiest.

    February 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Moonbeam

    Um, what else would you expect from GOP? Especially from a man who lost?
    What they are actually doing are trying to make nation to forget eight horrific years of Bush, neocons and people like McCain and Graham running this country.
    Obama has been a President for the whole three and a half weeks! It is time to trash him , folks. God, what a bunch!

    February 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Joe the Troll

    What hypocrites. The world saw Obama try – far more than any Republican tried when the Patriot Act was crammed down our throats. Any failure of bipartisanship lands in the Republicans' laps.

    So if there is "no bipartisanship," can we remove all those worthless tax breaks put in to mollify the Republicans before it is signed?

    February 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. John McCain

    Don't blame me. I voted for the other guy.

    February 15, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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