August 1st, 2009
03:20 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP leader bashes Obama's happy hour

RNC Co-Chairman Jan Larimer sharply criticized President Obama on Friday for his 'beer summit' meeting Thursday evening.
RNC Co-Chairman Jan Larimer sharply criticized President Obama on Friday for his 'beer summit' meeting Thursday evening.

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) – Republican National Committee Co-Chairman Jan Larimer criticized President Obama Friday for his White House meeting with a professor and a police officer, saying the president needs to focus on more important issues.

"We are at war and Barack Obama is talking about beer in the White House," Larimer said at the RNC's Summer Meeting. "And it is wrong. It is not what our country is about."

Larimer was referring to Obama's "happy hour" at the White House a day earlier with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police officer James Crowley. Crowley arrested Gates at his home after responding to a call that someone was breaking into a house. The arrest sparked a national discussion on the issue of racial profiling, which was amplified when Obama weighed in on the matter.

Leading up to the meeting, there was much discussion in the media about what type of beer would be served.

Larimer, who represents Wyoming, offered the sharp critique of the president as she recounted to her fellow RNC members her feelings about watching the USS Nimitz deploy earlier that day.


Filed under: President Obama • RNC
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. tim

    Oh please, I think this shows excellent leadership on Obama's part. This is not about beer in the White House, which I'm sure President Bush had plenty of, despite his profession that he quit. This is about Obama stepping in on one the more important issues of his Presidency, race. When has our country not been at war? If we are to overcome our current crisis, we must be a united front, that means justice and equality for all, not just upper class whites.

    July 31, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Obozo the Clown

    So, boys and girls, the "Teachable Lesson" we've learned....

    ... is that when you elect a Community Organizer – expect he will be muddled-down by the affairs of his bigoted friends.

    America needs a LEADER who understands that America is a great nation because of the opportunities of entrepenuership and freedom FROM a heavy handed government.

    Obama FAILS to understand this critical point... and thinks American will only be a great nation when the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT becomes great (in size).

    July 31, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Allison in Atlanta

    Larimer needs to loosen up. Of course, racial tensions have never bothered her. She's all for the rich and preferrabley white in color.

    July 31, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Kate

    I really don't see why this is wrong. The President was trying to defuse what could have been a violent point of contention by showing that two people who appear to be on opposing sides can sit down and have a civilized conversation about their differences. Maybe this lesson was taught more often, we wouldn't be at war.

    Or maybe the republicans are just bitter that while Bush gave off the appearance of "being a guy you could grab a beer with", Obama, as always, is putting his money where his mouth is.

    July 31, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. T, California

    Hi Ms. Larimer:

    What else Mr. Obama can do for the nation but just cheer people up and make them love him? He has been doing so from the day he graduated and got good life by doing so. We, American chose to elect a President who can talk sweet and not doing anything so that people can feel as all the matters are gone. Mr. Obama wants to hide all difficult things under the rugs so that our children will take care of those in the future.

    July 31, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Madsal

    If the replublicans would focus more on trying to help get this country back on track since the previous administration rather than bashing the President on everything he tries to get accomplished, maybe the American people could get back to being the proud Americans we have always been. They are just like a pack of dogs sitting in a pack just waiting for something to go by for them to jump and bark at. They are only heard when there is a negative remark to make. Hey! Repubs, how about trying to contribute to the Country you claim to be so proud of instead of continuing to tear it down?

    July 31, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. Tim, Seattle

    Hey Larimer, where are your ideas? Where is your plan? What are YOU doing talking about beer, What do you have to say besides no?........waiting

    GOP-
    No plan
    No ideas
    No future

    July 31, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Huh...I didn't realize the President wasn't allowed to have personal time. Not to mention it probably made him look like more of a real person by discussing things face to face.

    July 31, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Chris

    Larimer and the far right have a serious case of Obama Derangement Syndrome. It was officer Crowley who suggested that he, Gates and President Obama have a beer at the White House. The President obliged and they had a good discussion. The far right crazies would have criticized the President if he didn't have Crowley over to the White House. And by the way Larimer, where was your outrage when President Bush was eating cake in Arizona with John McCain during Hurricane Katrina? The hypocrisy from the far right is amazing.

    July 31, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. w.l. jones

    Our independence from England were concieve in a beer hall. Have a Bud. and come up with a way to get this economy moving again instead of using run on sentence.

    July 31, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. Nia - AZ

    She must have been upset that 45 minutes was used to work out an issue she wasn't invited to. It need to take place....
    Why to rethugs hate discorse

    July 31, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Patrick

    Jan Larimer – You are an idiot and a joke. Your attempt to introduce partisan politics into this is transparent and ridiculous. Attempting to address racial issues in a peaceful and productive manner isn't what our country is about? You imply that the president is not addressing more important issues. Your head is obviously either in the sand or in another place which I will not mention. Do you watch the news? You are just adding to the public's negative perceptions of the GOP.

    July 31, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Bush was playing golf and taking vacations during the war Jan!

    July 31, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. Sara

    The Republicans are such idiots! They will do, and say anything to Anything to get their names in the press!
    I suggest to the Republicans that they actually start doing their jobs in the Congress to get things done, instead of being haters, and obstrucrtionists, and spending their time with lobbyists, and filling their pockets with money from lobbyists like the Health Care insurance companies who have been buying of Republicans for decades.

    July 31, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. B

    What else is new with the GOP... I would like to see or hear something from them that is Positive and New!

    They are absolutely negative – about everything – period.

    July 31, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. jenn

    And yet, Larimer is more than happy to talk about whackadoodle conspiracy theories regarding Obama's place of birth......gee, that's such a productive use of time!

    July 31, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Johnny

    Maybe the GOP should realize that race relations is one of the most important issues today and for the last 230 years in our nation.

    July 31, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Mike

    I don't like how they kept stressing that they were meeting over "beer". It gave the impression to a lot of young, impressionable people that it's good to resolve problems with alcohol.

    July 31, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. steveb

    "We are at war and Barack Obama is talking about beer in the White House," This is the same political party, the Republicans, that watched George Bush play golf during the height of the Iraq War. At least Obama was working on healing race relations and not his putting! This is the height of hypocrisy.

    July 31, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  20. On tap in Oregon

    I think it's great that Obama can be real and have a beer with folks like a normal guy. It is that difference that is what we are about. We are not about war as the commentator said, we just happen to be in one right now.

    July 31, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. Chris

    This is EXACTLY what America is about: it's work ethic, courage, diplomacy and righting a wrong. We just don't use those skills anymore. They've been lost in hand-wringing, criticism, skepticism and greed. While I think President Obama should have extricated himself immediately after making such a knee-jerk response to the arrest and the 'beer summit' looks like grandstanding, he still made an effort to bring factions together.

    July 31, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. ib

    This was just another photo-op for King Obama. That's the only thing I have seen so far that he's good at.

    July 31, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. lb

    It is about time Obama starts acting presidential. His actions towards this issue and total disrespect of policeofficers shows his own brand of racisim. He may have distanced himself from Wright but actions speak louder than words! I have no faith in this man as a leader....every day he proves his lack of experience. Yes, he belongs in Chicago.

    July 31, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. Excuse me?

    She's just jealous she wasn't invited. If the media hadn't hyped this situation into a frenzy, the "happy hour" wouldn't have been needed. And, I think, it was scheduled in the evening AFTER working hours. The President can't even take a pee because "we're at war and the economy is already in the toilet." Well, that's thanks to #43. My President, #44, has been working since January 20th to fix this country. Repugs like Larimer need to start doing the same. What's her solution to terrorism, the economy, and health care refrom? What's that I hear? Crickets chirping? Dumb a$$.

    July 31, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. Mithras

    Bush took how many vaccations to Texas, and this guy didn't say a word?

    A couple hours talking to people over beer isn't really a waste.

    July 31, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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