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. CJ

    This from a man who last Fall stated our country's economy is in good shape! This from a man you had no plan at all and who supported the first bailout! And With no accoutibility. This from man who supported this stimulus ,but now is cowering down to his cronies who are anthing but wanting this President to succeed. This from a man who is such a poor judge of what this country needed that he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate thinking we the American people were not smart enough to see throught this ploy!

    And as for Lindsay Graham , I try very hard not to listen to him speak and when he does he is the biggest butt kisser and yes man around DC . He has no orginal thoughts.

    I have no clue if this stimulus will work , but at least President Obama is doing something . All the Repubs do is sit around and belly ache and pay homage to the like of Hammity and Limbaugh. They are a patheic bunch!!! I guess they think they can snow the American people into believing this nonesense. I pray for our President , I pray for our country and I pray for leaders on both sides of the isle . But the way the repubs are acting is just really childish and pathetic.
    God Bless America!

    February 15, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Matthew, Detroit

    To all the Democrats that Suggest Republicans should not take the

    money that is in the spending bill, that is a very naive thought.

    They are being forced to pay the taxes, they are forced to accept their governent going deeper into debt. They should Definitely take the money that comes to those states. It is not hypocracy it is the reality of a government both reflective of President Bush and Barack that spend more than they take in. Two wrongs do not make a right.

    I am from Michigan and I believe our Governor has destroyed our state. I dont believe that people in other states should be paying higher taxes because she has misspent the money we sent her.

    February 15, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Doug in Georgia

    Lindsy Graham and Jim DeMint are Senators from South Carolina, a state that is perpetually near the bottom in any substantive measurement economically and socially.

    Why would anyone care what they say except so that they can do the opposite?

    February 15, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Zion

    The country saw Obama try bipartisanship, but the Republicans continued down the same path that lead us to the point of collapse that this country is in. Naturally, Democrats are going to support a Democratic president just like the Republicans behaved as a rubber stamp for Bush which again, lead us down this road of disaster. One of the criticisms many have against Obama is the fact that he is trying too hard to win Republican approval when they obviously want him to fail. Republicans technically have nothing to lose therefore no one should win. Lets see if CNN will post this comment instead of deleting those that support the goonery of the Republicans.

    February 15, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. J

    Really? It's not Obama who failed, it's the republicans. Digging in your heels then accusing him of not trying to bridge the gap with you guys is utterly ridiculous. He lived up to his side, and the republican party stonewalled him. Pathetic.

    February 15, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Barbara from Atlanta, GA

    John McCain,

    You lost; please get over it. You are too old to keep trying to dig ditches for Obama. If anyone, except those like you, felt what you say mattered, they would have elected you president.

    Obama is not off to a bad start; you and your little friends are trying to make him look bad and set him up and everyone sees it.

    You are a sore looser – but you are still a looser.

    February 15, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    This seems so hypocritical. If you want bipartisanship you're going to have to give a little, on both sides. We all know that if the Republicans were in charge it'd be the reverse of the current situation. The Democrats would be talking about how the GOP won't let them do anything and the Republicans would say the Democrats are refusing to compromise. Isn't finger pointing the exact opposite of what you would want to do to help promote cooperation though?

    February 15, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Hope Monger

    Somebody, remind Mr McCain that he lost the election. His head must be in the clouds to think the President needs his blessing before carrying out his duties.

    February 15, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Oregon

    And you're off to a very bad ending McShame. PRESIDENT Obama invited you specifically and other republicans to have input, you got what you wanted and then voted against Obama's plan. That is completely partisian. Retire now before you are humiliated further in your upcoming senatorial race. in Arizona. GOP=Hypocrites

    February 15, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Ann

    Mr. Obama and the Democrats should take full responsibility of what they are doing.

    February 15, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Tom

    To Republican Politicians: for the time being, you are beaten. You have neither credibility, nor power. Stop whining and be adults about it.

    February 15, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Joe - Chicago

    Yeah, the Democrats are being so mean and petty after how well the Republicans treated them while Bush was President. Besides, the republicans took a failing US Economy left to them by the Clinton years and turned it around into something we can be proud of. So the Democrats should be letting the Republicans write the legislation.

    February 15, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. See Thru.

    Bitter complaints and negativity... Do us all a favor and stfu.

    February 15, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. jeff in Fla

    Senator McCain and the rest of the 30% party (GOP) had already decided not to vote for the stimulus before Obama even met with them. They claim that the House and Senate bills were drafted only with the input from the Democrats. This is a lie.

    President Obama and President-elect Obama met with GOP leaders, including McCain, for months prior to the drafting of these bills. Many of the tax cuts that Obama wasn't even necessarily for were included in the original forms of these bills. There were concessions on these bill, both in the original draft, and in the final bill, that were made to try to appease republicans, and have pissed liberals off.

    Obama can try all the bipartisanship he wants, but Republicans have decided that it is a better political strategy to oppose everything and then hope for the administration's failure. What a winning strategy.

    McCain is being intellectually dishonest. He is well aware that he isn't telling the truth, but his anger (at losing, etc...) is compelling him to say these things anyway.

    February 15, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. ahk, beverly hills, ca

    And whose fault would that be? Oh my God–these guys know how to twist anything to make it work for them.

    February 15, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Oregon

    And what would you have done McSenile? Start a war with Russian, perhaps? Like The Three Stooges said (and I'm actually not talking about McShame, Boenher or Graham) There's no profit in peace.

    Shameful! All GOP's will be voted out of office this next go around.

    February 15, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    The only thing not changing is political gamesmanship. Do they really think that the public thinks that 100% of the House Republicans and all but 3 of the Senate Republicans voted as a solid block out of individual conviction for what was right for this country? Shame on the irrelevant Republican party. They continue to be TONE DEAF!

    February 15, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Ryan

    These republicans are RIDICULOUS, which part of bipartisanship is it that the Democrats have to do what the republicans say?

    Democrats invited them in on the process which means we listened to them, we invited them to the meetings, they choose to vote zero on it even after we gave in a little to them.

    What the problem really is, is that the republican party refuses to change, at all. But luckily we can obviously side step them now that we got the numbers

    February 15, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. One

    Given the overwhelmingly partisan way that the Bush White House was run, these Senators' comments are not only false, but laughable.

    Obama is striving for bipartisanship in the very people that he nominates to his cabinet. He is obviously trying to create an atmosphere that's not just about surrounding himself with "Yes Men".

    I am sick of the GOP's whining. The country I love is in a shambles, and they are not proposing anything to fix it. John McCain has a bad case of sour grapes, and Lindsey Graham is a another political con man who would sooner line his own pockets than help the poor people of South Carolina.

    February 15, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. Michael in Oregon

    The only thing not changing is political gamesmanship. Do they really think that the public thinks that 100% of the House Republicans and all but 3 of the Senate Republicans voted as a solid block out of individual conviction for what was right for this country? Shame on the irrelevant Republican party. They continue to be TONE DEAF!

    February 15, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. slack al san diego

    poor sad powerless Republicans

    February 15, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Oregon

    Look McSenile – do you really think the American people are that ignorant? You insult our intelligence everyday with your ridiculous remarks. Obama tried to be bi-partisian in a way I've never seen before. YOUR party decided to go against anything Obama does for the sake of Party – to heck with Country.

    Retire now before you're humiliated further in your upcoming senatorial defeat.

    February 15, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Bridg

    I don't know whether to laugh or to vomit. Republican, the party that compares itself to the Talliban. Enough said.

    February 15, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. James

    What the Republicans don't get is, nobody gives a rats behind what they want or think anymore. They had the White House for 8 years and the house/senate for 6 plus. They ran roughshod over any and everything with their corprate driven agenda and through away the constitution in a highly partisan manner. They were voted out of power for a reason and are still out of touch with reality.

    February 15, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Alicia

    Tell me why CNN always headlines the sour grapes these Republicans are currently dispensing and further disgracing themselves with? Not a single fresh idea from that tired old crew; just ranting on the sidelines. Why showcase their collective sulk? They are certainly behaving like the poor sports and perennial losers they have proven themselves to be. They have learned nothing and will spend the next years tearing down, grousing and fervently hoping for failure in the new administration. Why don't you place their repetitive, predictable comments down in the news queue where they belong?

    February 15, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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