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. Fed Up With Republican Garbage

    What a joke. This is just more Republican garbage that I'm fed up with...

    Republicans wouldn't know (or engage in) bi-partisanship if they're lives depended on it. During the Bush years, they did more to divide the country then anyone before them. PLUS, the Republicans are the ones who got us into this mess to begin with!!

    So to sit there and criticize President Obama is not only ridiculous, it is a giant slap in the face to America as well. Right now we need action, not more of the same crap from the right-wingers.

    February 15, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Rosemarie

    I am so sick of their republican negative crap. They created this mess, they offer no solutions to this mess, and they criticize anyone who is trying to fix this mess. Get over yourselves. It's time to open your eyes and ears and keep your mouths shut. You may actually learn something.

    February 15, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. Jim

    Ummmmm Hello McCain , President Obama has already accomplished more good for America in the last 4 weeks then Bush did in the last 4 years.

    Your party of NO is on it's last leg.

    February 15, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Ron

    This is coming from a guy who said, the economy is in good shape six months ago.

    February 15, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Barbara NY

    John McCain and Lindsey Graham are two of the biggest weasels in Washington. We the people recognize politics as usual. We saw President Obama reach across the isle and we saw Repbulicans slap his hand away. Also, why would anyone with more than half a brain listen to anything that John McCain says about the economy.

    February 15, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. bill

    just go hide somewhere mccain.you OLD WASHED REPUBLICAN.WHO CARES WHAT YOU THINK. AFTER ALL YOU PICKED PALEN FOR V.P.really shows how smatr you are

    February 15, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. stephen hymel

    After allowing the country's economy and foreign relations to descend to the lowest level in our country's history, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and others have their nerve to think that what they say and do is relevant!!!!

    February 15, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. JSU-TIGER99

    Why is that the Republican lawmakers want the President to fail? is it beacuse he is BLACK, There is noway you can make me beleive that the lawmarkers of the Should be GREAT COUNTRY want him to fail. everything he do or say someone say he is going to fail when he dont fail everyone want to take the credit for it. The Republican lawmakers had EIGHT FREAKIN YEARS to get this country back right but they put it in a place that only GOD HIM/HER SELF can SAVE. When BUSH ask for $700 BILLION DOLLAR he got it like it was candy and than they gave out $350 BILLON DOLLAR not $3.50 DOLLAR like it was bottle water to people who only made themselves richer and her The President is trying to help the little person they want him to fail. aAnd John McCain is a bitter old great-great granddaddy that is upset because he lost to a BLACK MAN get over it, What would he and Palin have done to help this COUNTRY nothing but made a BIGGER JOKE out of it.

    February 15, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. sandee in Portland

    This is like the kettle calling the pot black. It seemed to me that President Obama made a concerted effort to include republicans and it was the republicans who wouldn't make an effort to be bipartisan. Bipartisan would have been Gregg not dropping out of the cabinet just because he disagreed with the President on the stimulus bill and the census. Bipartisan would have been to stay in the cabinet. The President has continuously said he wants people in his cabinet that won't be yes men and he wants people in his cabinet with different ideas.

    February 15, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Cynthia

    How dare mccain or graham to say anything against President Obama when they have been screwing this country for over 2 decades. The President did his part as far as reaching across the party line then he had to do what needs to be done to try to get this country back on track. Stop your whing republicans you lost so get over it and move on before you are moved out.

    February 15, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Jan

    John McCain's comments sound like "sour grapes" to me. He is criticizing Obama's efforts at pulling the country out of our financial peril, cut what did he attempt during the campaign? He even stopped his campaign to go direct a bailout that obviously didn't work as he had hoped. From my vantage point, it was the Republican senators that added all of the nonsense to the bill before Congress because they don't know how to cooperate and be bipartisan. History show that with them it's either the Republican way or the highway.

    No one can actually say what will pull us out of our recession/depression, whatever it is being called. It seems to me that it will take a variety of everyone's efforts to fix our mess. I, for one, am praying for our President, and I wish McCain would keep his opinions to himself or on the Senate floor.

    Concerned in New Mexico

    February 15, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Tammy

    Look in the mirror McCain. You and the rest of your party is why bipartisanship won't work. The Democrats compromised. You and the rest of the old dinosaurs in your party wouldn't budge. You make too many promises to the people born with the silver spoon in their mouths and those are the only ones the Repuglicans care about.

    February 15, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Judy Mia Fl

    its people like him who are out of step – change is what we are getting finally and 53% of Americans thumbed their noses at the republicians and their coherts on wall street.

    Further, I believe this crisis is way worse than what we've been told and if , if maybe Obama can't fix it , not because he's incompetenet but because of people like John McCain.

    John McCain go home – wait for 2010 – dems will be pouring money into your state.

    February 15, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. jimmy-ohio

    i swear the gop is like a 2 year old in a store,,,"give me everything i want or it's not fair",,,,all we heard during the negotiations was we want this or that,,,the President went to gop leaders and all he got were demands,,,,if only one party is willing there will never be anything close to bi-partisanship

    February 15, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. landandair

    Change can only happen if all sides participant. McCain and others are playing polictics when just about every American's future is in peril.Everyone that had an opportunity to fix the bill should have given it their best shot. By the way the GOP has no idea what bipartisanship. This comment is coming live from the heart of Republican country in Gwinnett County Georgia.

    February 15, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Mike M.

    CNN continues to cover politics and the economy as if they were sporting events or soap opera, and not the most serious crisis affecting this country since WWII. Instead of thoughtful analysis we get play by play. Who's up? Who's down? What snarky comment did a Republican leader make?

    Despite the great depth of talent at American universities, CNN seldom calls on people who actually have studied and teach about macroeconomics, How often do you see a Nobel laureate interviewed? CNN instead turns to its political analysts for comment. As a result, when John King gets Sen. McCain on his show, he is as defferential to McCain on the subject of the stimulus as one might be asking someone questions about their religion. McCain's bellicose comments then get headline treatment on CNN's home page.

    CNN's coverage is too focused on inside the beltway politics and is doing a poor job of actually covering economics issues in a way that would enlighten rather than inflame viewers.

    February 15, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. tricia

    HAHAHA! You can't spin this one. The American people are behind Obama by an astonishing margin, and are much smarter than the GOP gives them credit for being. So stall and filibuster and throw your hissy fits, but you are irrelevent.

    February 15, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. GW

    It is amazing how the punditocracy buys and facilitates this nonsense. It is clear that McCain is bitter and angry not constructive. Wake up press, you are being stooged again by the GOP> People like this president and think he went way beyond the call of duty in asking for their input, instead whining and games. As Axelrod said – inside the Washington bubble you all are out of touch (and look stupid)

    February 15, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Independent

    Sen John McCain and his team shouts of not achieving bi partisanship by Prez Obama. But the same during Prez Campaign had called himself a maverick- Washington Political groupism breaker etc,,, Where is all the much touted actions. It seems like he has fallen into the trap that he never wished to be in. Not in power, may not be able to help recover the economy or the American Struggling people. He looks like deflated Auto tire now. Joe the Plumber actions are needed to unclog the Economy pipes. Where is his team? He can not call others foul till he can deliver that he campaigned for; Power or no Power it is Humanity not Politics.

    February 15, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. Keith

    Why are we listening to all those sorry M-F's that have us in this B-S in the first place. As far as the country and possible the world is concern, eight years is enough B-S, what-else do we need from them. Do we even need any republicans in there anyway!??? I'd sweep every last one of them out of everything that has to do with government, and put half of them in jail. It is now time for them all to just back off and watch a real human being take charge. Shut up, listen, and follow the examples..

    February 15, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Scot

    Sit down and shut up! You had your turn and look at the mess you idiots left! Do you really think anyone besides your own actually listens to you anymore? Go away!

    February 15, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. wam

    so let me get this straight Mr. Graham........you want the losers (the GOP) to write this bill, using their same old failed ideas, hope you have a different outcome? When you go looking for the answer to why America has rejected the GOP, you might want to look at your logic first, for it is very twisted.

    February 15, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. punkvoter

    Honestly, Obama has made more efforts at bipartisanship than either Bush OR Minority Leader Boehner. It's not Obama's fault that all Republicans do is whine whine whine and still don't give any new alternatives to what's already been done (and failed).

    The irony of McCain's words is that Obama HAS tried to get Republican input for the stimulus package, and none but those three Republican senators did anything but gush about how "awesome" Obama is personally after he did have those separate talks with Republicans from both the House and the Senate.

    Hypocrisy, thy affiliation is Republican.

    February 15, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. eric

    first off john mccain looks terrible in that picture. the Repubs have made no efforts to be bipartisan either. they are acting as if they still run this country.

    February 15, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Nathan

    It would appear to me that the Republicans have determined the best strategy is for Obama to fail. If the country fails too, so be it. Anything for revenge.

    What a bunch of sour, regrettable, unpatriotic losers.

    February 15, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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