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. gl, Pittsburgh

    Enough all ready. We the people had to put up with McCain and Palin bad mouthing President Obama for two years duing the elections and we the people have spoken loud and clean. We hate all this negative coming from McCain that's why he is not the President. McCain is to mean spited and out of touch with the average American People with his old ideas, tax cuts, tax cuts and more tax cuts for the rich.

    February 15, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Can't fool me again

    Get over it Republicans. You had 8 years to pad your pockets as well as your executive friends. (Socialism on the upper end.) It's time for the people who make this country what it is to have a voice and some prosperity. You speak on values but that's it. It's hard to pull your self up by the boot straps without a job to go to. Wish you all well but never the White House again.

    February 15, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. Ken Kaye

    Perhaps of McCain, Graham, and company looked into a mirror they would see the reason for why they complain about the lack of bipartisanship. They continue to hold outdated Republican party principles above what is good and necessary for the country.

    February 15, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Irma in North Carolina

    All these republican senators are just ticked off that John and Sarah did not get in the white house, and they are going to be bitter about this for at least 4 years or maybe 8 years. Cause if they keep acting like this it will be a sure win for the President in 2012. Of course they will have Sarah to vote for 2012, here we go with more hate rallys. The american people showed John and Sarah they did not go for the hate rallys and the never ending bashing of the President. The republican party is loosing members all the time, and I for one have left the party because of the way they are conducting themselves. By 2012 there wont be enough republicans left to vote in their candiate. And i am sure they wont get the vote of too many do the democrats. I wonder if John even will make it back into the senate in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Ron Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

    Hear we go.Lets face it the republicans have a fight on there hands.And the democrats are ready.America is ready to fight the republicans and they are in a no win situation now.They are to blame for this disaster and they will now pay dearly.They must be punished for ruining our economy.And all they are doing is standing in the way of building america into a great nation once again.Obama will go down as the best president we ever had hands down and you republicans can take that to the bank.Your all selfcentered greedy and dispicable.and make me puke.

    February 15, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. dee

    Obama could end all war, solve the climate crisis, end hunger and get everyone a job...but the GOP would still not be satisfied.

    If nothing else, the GOP is predictable. Obama is holding out his hand, looking for a bipartisan approach and the GOP is slapping it back into his face.

    They should be ashamed of themselves.

    February 15, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Jody

    Ughhh!!! Republicans .... the party that spent eight years destroying the country .... want bipartisanship????? Not me. I want the Republicans and their philosophy to shut up and go away!

    February 15, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. gl, Pittsburgh

    You two old farts and most of your party are the once not trying to be bipartican becasue he can not contiue your tax cuts for the rich.

    February 15, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. neil

    No difference between the Dems or the GOP, they just want our taxes for their special projects and lobbyists that donated money to them.

    February 15, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Steve from Florida

    John McCain--you lost, shut up!

    How dare you say that President Obama is not trying to act in a bipartisan manner when all of the GOP House and all but 3 of the Senate voted against the bill. Guess what-we are in the MAJORITY now and the country will be a lot better for it....

    February 15, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. willow55

    Why does CNN and John King continue to let John McCain and the republicans vent their frustrations over the election? McCain, you lost so get over it. The American people want a different direction and the electoral vote expressed just that. Trickle down tax cuts for the wealthy do not work, eight years was enough. I like John King's new show, but when I turned it on and he was questioning McCain on whether Obama had enough experience , I had to turn the TV off. McCain is bitter and angry.

    February 15, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Chris

    "If ya can't make them fear, be sure to smear."

    Thanks for trying to help our country out of the mess your GOP president left us in.

    February 15, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Griff

    Whatever John. It will not work, for Unemployment. Your Imports and your Exports need to be balanced first. What kind of Import Tax on Goods. Is there any real help, with Exports. Cost of Transport!!
    You have to start at the Roots.. But what about the Foundations?

    February 15, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Stefan

    Shameful!
    It is the GOP who is not acting in a bipartisan way. Obama made great efforts to reach out as well as allowing multiple changes in to the bill from the Republican side. The mark of bipartisanship is not how many votes you get from the other side, but how hard you try to reach out. Unfortunatley, ithough Obama is bipartisan, the GOP is fiercely partisan, and then they try to hide behind the usual name calling. GOP, get off your big partisan butts and DO something for the country!
    Laying the blame at Obama's feet: Shameful!

    February 15, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Tony in Maine

    These are the standard bearer and representatives of the party that was repudiated by the electorate. For them to give advice is like the losing Super Bowl coach to tell the winner how to play the game.

    In fact, President Obama reached out to those he vanquished, but they saw it as a sign of weakness and demanded more. Of course, they make up a story that serves them better. Once again, conservatives prove that without lies, myths and urban legends, they'd have nothing to say.

    February 15, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Brian

    I started to watch Saturday Night Live last night, but the opening just made me so mad. Did Hollywood producers get their $265 million dollars that was in Obamas original Stimulus Proposal? Are all these people who are blinded by Obamas fame/charm etc... not realize that more voters have called Washington to vote NO than support it. A story yesterday reported that of 1300 CAT workers who lost jobs that were at a meeting, not one of them or their family told their congressman to vote YES. This is pretty clear as to the pulse of the country. All the emails, websites, TV commercials, teleprompted press conferences can not sell this piece of dung to Americans. Its too bad that their were so many earmarks and favors done in this one bill that will not help the economy. One year from today we will be hearing about the next stimulus package since this one was not enough because of how bad it was when he took office.

    February 15, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. J-Syxx

    Right because "change" to these Republicons is shoving the same failed policies back down our throats again. News flash, people voted against that crap. Forcing Obama to do what they want and obstructing anything else is not what people voted for.

    February 15, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. MB

    Shocking! The guy who lost the election doesn't care for how his opponent is doing his job. If you want bipartisanship, you too have to cooperate.

    February 15, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. larry

    i can say honestly, that i really can care less, they sit back and shot everything down but have no better ideals to offer. so who cares what they: say,think,do,feel

    February 15, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Keith

    What a shame, the Republicans are angry with the policy of "We won, we write the bill." As I recall, they haven't had a problem with it for the past eight years. Besides, we live in a representative democracy – we elect leaders who then make decisions for us. So yes, the winners do get to make the decisions. The reason the Republicans showed so poorly in the last election was because eight years worth of "just give everyone more tax cuts" as an economic strategy has blatantly failed. And then when Obama does go to sit down with Republicans to work out a compromise, what does the Republican party suggest? More tax cuts! Oh, ya, and also, they've decided that spending money on building schools is "wasteful spending." Apparently we can take over any other foreign country we please and build schools there, but it would be "wasteful spending" to build them here. I hope that bashing a popular president turns out to be a successful strategy for the Republicans in terms of rebuilding their public image...

    February 15, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. Hopeful in Houston

    Obama has done more good in less then a month than Bush did in his whole two terms. John McCain and the Repugs are just jealous. Talk about a sore loser!

    February 15, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. DG

    McCain and Graham are joined at the hip so of course they both have the same view about everything. Nobody cares what they think and true Americans sure don't like what they are saying. Those two guys wanted to win the election so bad and didn't. Lucky for us. McCain would be on vacation and his sidekicks would be with him. Yep, you know who I mean. Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham. They reminded me of the three stooges all during the Presidential Campaign. We are all so fortunate that Obama beat them out. Lieberman has to agree with the Dems in order to stay in Washington but we all know it's just an act. So folks, just let what they say go in one ear and out the other. They are pure old losers!!!!

    February 15, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Christina

    Senator McCain should retire. His ideas are old and stale - which is exactly why he did not win the election. His party has practically destroyed this country and now they are going to blame their horrific mess on our wonderful President Obama. Senator continues to look like an old fool. No fool like an old fool!
    Senator McCain could have gained back some of his self-respect, most of which he threw away during his dirty campaign, had he demonstrated some genuine concern about this country and put his party second as well as his sour grapes. President Obama has definitely reached across party lines! The Republicans have an ancient agenda and have no intention of reaching back. Great! Let that be the final nail on their coffin.

    February 15, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. gl, Pittsburgh

    Just look at the picture. McCain look like a very old angry man. This is not what we need for our country. McCain always looking for a fight and if he was the President we would be fight more wars instead of fixing the economy becasue that all he know is war. Thank God his is not our President so he words are noting.

    February 15, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Lisa from AZ

    Here in Arizona, we are at the bottom in education, have the worst budget deficit of all the states, are in the top four in the most foreclosures, and our senators...the "Johns"...McCain and Kyle...brag that they haven't brought one dime to help Arizona citizens. Tucson is 83 million in the hole. I am surprised to see McCain here this weekend, away from D.C. and New Hampshire. He thinks we are "pork" and only comes here for vacations and votes!

    February 15, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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