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.' "

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Filed under: economic stimulus • GOP • President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (623 Responses)
  1. grandma

    The Republicans knew that this bill is the most important and refused to cooperate at all. Now they want to blame President Obama. I hope they wake up soon and realize the need of the country and stop being a bunch of wimpering crybabies. I am a registered Republican and I am sure ashamed of that fact at the moment. I hope that things change very soon or I will be re-registering for sure. I am surprised at John McCain. I expected much more of him- I am glad that he didn't get to be President at this point.

    February 15, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. ed

    If this jerk Mccain won the rich would have to NOT pay any taxes at all. The GOP ICHON, [the fat slob that is a druggie, IMPOTENT[ not a mispelling of important} radio jockey, who so far has cost the GOP the house the Senate and the WHITE HOUSE,the past 8 years. The prior comments and persons live in a different world then real Americans. Hopefully they will maintain their present endeavoers and 2010 will bring the U.S. to an even larger Majority. We have to get rid of Graham, he is probably America biggest detriment to any bipartisianship. He once came off as a half decent person ,now he is probably the biggest anti- bipartisian ever to be in congress. I do not know what is in the water in theCarolinas but it should be investigated ,how could normality exist and put out people like Graham and Edwards.

    February 15, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Oh No!

    "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.' "
    Why didn't you guys come up with change we COULD HAVE believed in during the last administration? Give us a break!

    February 15, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Becky in Vegas

    McCain is nothing but an obstructionist just like the other sore losing Republicans.....This country has been put in the gutter by the Republicans....it will take team work to get us out of it....and the Republicans do nothing to help...only hinder....they are nothing but a bunch of crybabies.......Wait til the next election in 2010....we will be getting rid of more of them!!!

    February 15, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. Marlon

    If the GOP senators had any innovative ideas they might find more bipartisanship – but all they offer are repeats of the past eight years of tax-cut-and-spend – so it's Mr. Obama's prerogative to point that out and say, "I've heard that one before - it didn't work - look where we are now - let's go with something that's more likely to work." Bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship (as opposed to the sake of helping the American people) is trash.

    The GOP is a failing party and its members need to understand where they've failed and how to change their views if they truly want to be heard in the national political dialogue.

    February 15, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Richard Miller

    John baby, you lost, get over it and quit being the "fallen" hero of the party that did nothing for eight years but drag us thorough the dirt in two wars we will not win.

    February 15, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. Hammer

    The nearly 2 million jobs lost in the last three months are a reaction to Obama's election as president. Business does not like the things Obama said he will do as president.

    February 15, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. itsaboutime

    John McCain needs to go some where and shut up. Bush and the rest of the GOP is the reason why the country is in the trouble that it is in now. Obama has shown already, that he will be the greatest president that we have ever had. Do the GOP have any better solutions, if they did, then maybe they should have shared it with Bush, before he got us in this hell that we are currently in.

    February 15, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Patty in the CA mountains

    These complaining republicans seem to think it is to their advantage to say there was no attempt to be bipartisan, that the last 4 weeks have been a failure and that nothing Obama is doing will work.....who benefits from this talk? They need to hide and watch....2010 will be another republican debacle, if for no other reason that we, the American people, clearly see what's going on. We see what has been tried; we recognize premeditated obstruction and don't at all appreciate McCain and others working to undermine our future. His future may be secure but mine is not....that's why I didn't vote for him to fix the mess his buddy left. Cooperate or move aside.

    February 15, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |


    February 15, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Earline

    I watch CNN everyday almost all day I am so tried of these politicans asking as if they had the answer to this recession ,if they did, we would n't be in this fix. The republican gave that money to the banks without looking at what they was going to do with it ,now they are trying to make OUR PRESIDENT LOOK like he do not know what he is doing,first of all hes is a real person in touch with real people. he know what's up. they need to chill before they won't have a job. PEOPLE put them in their job and people will vote them out. All of them idiots they do not want a black man to tell them what to do. And that is for reakl

    February 15, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Jana

    Same old, same old.

    The GOP are just sore losers. They can't have it their way, they want to sink the whole country with them.

    Somehow, they think they are going to look good by trying to make Obama look bad.

    The problems created by Bush's GOP in the last eight years has left this country in shambles. Enough of child's play.

    Thank God for Obama's decisive leadership. I love seeing our legislators working long and hard on our behalf, while our country is so suffering. Never seen anything like it under the GOP's watch. The GOP does not want to SHARE wealth. That's the issue.

    February 15, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |


    February 15, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Susan

    Of course, John McCain is critical of Obama's strategies and policies. He just couldn't wait until he had an opportunity to speak against him. If it wasn't for this, it would've been for the next policy decision down the line. And he talks about bi-partisanship?

    February 15, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. candid

    Now if only McCain, graham and the other republicans had presented a better alternative to the pla other than "more tax breakks for the wealthy" then I can see wheere their argument can hold water. I am fed up of this hypocracisy. graham and the other Grham and

    February 15, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. The GOP is going to vanish!!!

    Could you have done a better John?!?!?!?

    February 15, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Joe

    This is why McCain lost the election, because he doesn't understand that Americans are tired of playing these washington games. Obama reached out to republicans, and this is how they respond.

    February 15, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. texas

    A bittered fool!!!!! go count the number of houses you got!!!

    February 15, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. rhoward

    I guess the Republicans' idea of bipartisanship is that the Democrats give them everything they want even though they are no longer the majority party.

    February 15, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Bill

    The obstructionists crying Obama isn't playing nice. He did everything but kiss their feet to get them to help with the stimulus package. It's time to show more of these republican fools the door in 2010. Maybe they'll get the idea Americans aren't buying the nonsense they're selling.

    February 15, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Sanity has returned

    That's exactly right, Dems did win and they do get to write the bills. The stimulus bills in both houses were written and re-written with GOP amendments and that is as far as bipartisanship goes when bills are written. The GOP are so angry they were handed their collective backsides in Nov, they want the Dem Congress and WH to fail so they can find a top tier candidate to come rising out of the ashes like a Phoenix..Reaganesque style if you will. Unfortunately when the GOP were the majority, they got to write the bills and made the Dems hold their hearings in the Capitol basement and turned out lights and microphones when they didn't want to hear the minority Dems debate. GOP also rubber stamped every thing Pres Bush wanted without fail. Dems couldn't even filibuster without the nuclear threat option. There wasn't one huge spending bill the GOP majority put through that wasn't signed by the President. They have no credibility with the American people anymore and had better come up with something better than more tax cuts for the wealthiest. It just hasn't worked. BTW, GOP filibustered 104 times last congress, so I guess bipartisanship is a one way street.

    February 15, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. barackobama4prez

    there's a reason why the GOP got their butts whooped in 2008 and they prove it again and again every day.

    February 15, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. jason twombley

    JOHN MCCAIN 68 percent of americans say YOU and the republicans are wrong !!!! (CNN poll 2/15) the republicans just dont get it, and will continue to badmouth and lose, one election after another. JOHN..your horse went blind, WE THE PEOPLE se it as it really is, you republicans offer nothing except the same misery and bickering we have seen the last 8 years. we are sick of it and sick of you...go away some place and find a new life. WE THE PEOPLE are going ahead without you...BYE BYE JOHN

    February 15, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Julie

    Step up or shut up!

    February 15, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Sam

    There were a lot of changes in the bill the GOP wanted that were added and items taken out, but the GOP still remained partisan. They are the problem, not President Obama. Their ideas remain bogus.

    February 15, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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