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. common_man

    Now the president can't even have beer lighten up !

    July 31, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. miguel

    I'm a conservative who thinks Obama's initial comments about the Cambridge incident were ignorant. But I admire the way Obama admitted he misspoke and I think inviting Gates and Crowley for a beer was a great idea. The idea that the president doesn't have an hour to have a beer with these two guys is dumb. He can't (and shouldn't) focus on healthcare or whatever 24 hours a day.

    July 31, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. Rob from MO

    The poor Republicans; I almost feel sorry for them.

    July 31, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Jeff

    If Bush had been throwing a BBQ in the Rose Garden for a similar purpose, this guy would have been lavishing praise on the entire event.

    So partisan. So political. So tired.

    Republicans, please get with the program. Your future really does depend on it.

    July 31, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. rainbowgirl

    One hour out of his day and the world will fall apart? Give me a break. Some people are just looking to criticize ANYTHING the President does.

    July 31, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Jim El Paso Tx

    Sounds like Larimer should chill out and have a brew herself:) Republicans....get a life!

    July 31, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. Alvin

    Oh please! It was a great gesture of reconcilliation and it really ticks me off that these right winger types who "profess" to love the Lord are totally oblivious to the Beatitudes..."Blessed are the peace makers". God loves reconcilliation. That's why He sent Jesus .If what happened yesterday can have any positive affect on a police department which is often insensitive and brutal to the citizenry its "PAID" to "protect and to serve", then it was worth it. Some of you have been watching waaaayyy too much COPS...Trust me, they don't show you when they screw up!!!

    July 31, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. TLD

    What a cheap political ploy, calculated to capitalize on the public's soundbite-based method of information gathering. Of course the meeting at the White House was not about beer, rather it addressed race and was designed to defuse a real, impassioned event. Leave it to the Republicans, with their cynical view of the collective intelligence of the American public, to try such an adolescent attempt to damage the president.

    July 31, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Carole

    Are we to assume then, that Representative Larimer is not engaging in any relaxing, fun activities until all our solders are home from Iraq and Afghanistan? That she is issue focused and takes NO time for any nonsense, like having dinner with friends or the like??

    July 31, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. lance braun

    No president took more time off (and expensive as well) as GW. How is resolving a potentially volitile social situation losing focus? RNC is grasping at straws.

    July 31, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. fideauxdon

    Amazing! While the GOP powers-to-be are criticizing the President for having a beer and defusing a bad situation by bringing the dissenting parties together, something that his predecessor never did, they are wasting an incredible amount of time by trying to prove that Obama isn't a citizen, and trying to debunk every last plan that the President proposes, without having a single idea of their own!

    July 31, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. jeff

    Obama had a happy hour, Bush had a happy eight years.

    July 31, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Kevin

    Is Larimer going to hold his fellow Republicans to the same standard? I assume Sen. Ensign was focused on the country's problem while he was sleeping around. It was one hour!

    July 31, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  14. Eddie Williams

    We really love being at war!

    July 31, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. RK

    Is there anything that could make GOP happy? Everything the President does or does not is criticized. Yeah! it is wrong; it is not what our country is about. our country is about profiting from wars and sending our troops to find WMDs even if they don't exist. That makes GOP happy and that's what the party is all about.

    July 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. J

    I truly feel sorry for the GOP, they are running out of thing to complains

    July 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. Joyce

    The President is entitled to a beer at the end of the day without it being made a political issue. President Obama was addressing a situation in an informal setting and there is nothing wrong with it. The issue of what beer was being served was a media event.

    I don't understand people who say the President should not drink beer when a carrier is being launched, the economy is bad, we have troops in Afghanistan, etc. Would all these problems immediately cease if the President didn't drink a beer?

    When will we as a Nation become real and stop trying to make issues out of everything? Can't we work together to make the US great?

    July 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. roger

    politics over beer its not what our country is about?? our national anthem used to be a drinking song. nevermind that obama was trying to mend the fence between 2 parties of a high-profile social blunder..

    i think larimer needs to stop nit-picking obama's attempt to be "one of the people" and focus on the war, since thats what she's so concerned about

    July 31, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. mike martin

    It is amazing to watch the behavior of the politicans that the "american people" have elected to office. How can we as nation allow this behavior? The situation that America finds itself in, is the direct result of republican and democratic neglect!!!! No adminstration could fix this in six months. This is an absurd idea!!! Why do we allow this!1

    July 31, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. Rick

    Give me a break.

    This was a brilliant move by Obama as he clearly smoothed over a difficult situation. It gave Gates and Crowley time to consider their actions, and you can bet they reconciled.

    Obama saw this as a teaching moment, and the entire country can benefit from it. The lesson is that when we're in a situation in which our emotions may be getting the better of us, it's better to take a deep breath, calm down, and talk things over before doing something rash.

    This episode is a reminder that, though this country has come far in race relations, the bitter legacy of the past still lingers. It's good to keep that in mind. It's not reasonable for us to expect that pain to just evaporate. But if we just treat each other as human beings, treat each other the way we would want to be treated, then we can grow beyond the past.

    July 31, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. Virginia

    Good grief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Get a life!!!!!!

    Did you complain when Pres Bush went to Texas all the time? Wasn't he out of Washington for about a third of his entire presidency cutting brush at his ranch in Crawford???

    And you think the nation needed a president on the job so badly he couldn't take an hour or so off to address the actions taken in Cambridge???

    You guys are really becoming the joke of the day, day after day. It's either an hour for a beer, the birthers, the posh rental for a ONE WEEK vacation with his family, etc, etc. So pathetic-–

    July 31, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. Patty

    I'm sure President Obama is quite mindful of what he has on his plate. However, because of the leader that he is, he should have taken this opportunity to work on the wars that are within this country. Whether we like it or not, the race issue is still an issue to a degree. it's steps like these that will help to overcome it. Although, it will probably take another generation to get beyond it.

    July 31, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. What a fool

    This fool should talk...when their hero Bush was in office he spent weeks down in his faux ranch, pretending he actually does work. He was rarely around, rarely working on government affairs. He spent his days riding his bike and trying to think up photo ops to fool the rest of us.....Nobody from the Grand Obstructionist Party complained them. I think most would agree that Obama works extremely hard on solving so many issues, most of which were left for him by Bush/Cheney. It seems again these morons who follow Limberger and O'Really religiously are always voting and speaking against their own self-interest. Just read the comments on the Health care issue. People would rather be mad at Pelosi and Obama then improve the system. It's hard to understand. Just bitterness over losing to a woman and black man, I guess.

    July 31, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. Blue Dog

    Whine and complain, whine and complain.

    And the GOP wonders why their message doesn't resonate with the overwhelming majority of Americans. You're nothing but crybabies with your infantile complaining and no plans, no solutions and no strategies; only criticism.

    Grow up GOP!

    July 31, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. Mitch

    Really...how can Obama have a beer when he should be cleaning up the mess the last GOP president put the country into. How dare he? Is this all they GOP have to whine about?

    July 31, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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