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. Moderate Democrat

    Larimer said at the RNC's Summer Meeting. "And it is wrong. It is not what our country is about."

    Just an FYI: A republican, is the LAST person on EARTH, let alone america, that would know what this country is about. I'll tell you what it's not about...it's not about ANYTHING the republicans want it to be. We don't believe in MASS GENOCIDE, Torture, killing the poor or keeping the poor down. So STFU Larimer! When you find somethign to do...BESIDES complaining about something, then maybe you'll be worth the toilet paper I use. Until then you are worth less then the residue I leave on it. What a bunch of worthless lifes you are. Always complaining but not working to fix a darn thing you are complaining about. SICK!

    July 31, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. afp

    Jan... chill out! Have a beer!

    July 31, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. Brian Malcom

    I think the RNC needs to have a beer and chill out. I applaud Obama's savvy political move, and I vote republican. Obama used the casual setting to disarm two parties in a dispute that has captured national attention with undertones of modern race relations. Cheers, Mr. President.

    July 31, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. ato

    ONLY IN THE USA!!!
    Why is it that the PROFESSOR can't thank the SPOTTER, CALLER and RESPONDER for trying to PROTECT HIS PROPERTY?
    Utterly amazed!!! Big Fuss over a mole hill!!! And, this PRESIDENTIAL LIMELIGHT???

    July 31, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. BG

    Is everyone insane? These Republicans jump all over President Obama for being "too serioius, doing too much" (as if there weren't MANY major problems for him and his team to fix!), and then carp at him for having a light moment that also helps with race relations. They won't approve of anything he does, no matter what. And shame on CNN for constantly printing this type of drivel.

    July 31, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. REAL reform

    wow the one and only thing Obama could do to please the republican narcissists would be, besides stepping down as Prez, he'd need to change his ethnicity, because clearly, as diplomatic and well informed and contemplative as this guy is, which is only good for a Prez to be (recall Bush, not thinking first, and then the look of 'oh my god what have i done'), his main fault is that he's president of a country FULL of racist republicans. seems these republicans are the ones who need to find something to fill their empty time slots and empty heads.

    July 31, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. ephraim

    i love when the republicans scream about stuff like this. it makes them
    look like absolute whining idiots. this country has been at war for 200
    years over race and it still simmers everyday. the foreign wars while important do not need to be the sole purpose of each waking hour of the president. we have brilliant military staff that are handling that. obama
    did the right thing and will continue by reaching out to all americans
    and remind us of what a civil society is. they too easily forget when cheney is out hunting and shooting someone in the face while we are
    at war, or bush choking on a pretzel with beer while we are at war....

    ludicrous drivel being pumped by the republicans.

    July 31, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. Heather M

    Three men can't take time out at the end of the day to enjoy a beer. How long did they meet? Less than an hour? The RNC complain about everything. "This isn't what this country is about"? How many people here in the USA (men and woman) enjoy a beer, glass of wine, a shot of tequila at the end of the day? This is EXACTLY what our country is about...the RNC needs to wake up and get more in touch with the country.

    July 31, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. David P. Kronmiller

    Drop the story – it's old. Move on. I think every one else has at this point. What people have wanted to say they have said.

    July 31, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. mik

    How many days of vacation had the previous president accumulated at this point? The Gates issue was a big deal from racial profiling to the president's critique of the police. Why is Mr. Obama not allowed an hour to calm racial tensions, listen to a professors and an accomplished police office?

    July 31, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. ron levine

    Hmmm!! It's interesting, through the campaign, then Sen. Obama was extremely careful not to show his true feelings about his African-American roots. And then he put his foot in it. And NOW we're finding out his image is more important than a war and for that matter-health care. With is own popularity numbers dropping, he felt that this TEACHING moment was a necessity. The irony in all this is now President Obama just got taught a very valuable lesson; stay away from a extremely senstive topic such as racism when you're distracted by something else at a news conference. Oh well!!! Could President Clinton's comments during the primary come back to haunt Mr. Obama? Stay tuned.

    July 31, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. dave from pa

    No matter what this guy does, there is some politician out there who has to find something negative. The purpose of the "Beer Summit" was to bring the two parties (and the nation) together for a constructive dialog regarding race in this country. Poor republicans: The party of hate and fear. This is why I changed my registration to independent. This woman should have a bumper sticker that reads: "Republicans for Voldemort!!"!!

    July 31, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. Austin

    If we're at war and need to be focusing on the big issues, then why is she bashing the President rather than focusing on the big issues?

    I believe the President is fully capable of tackling more than one issue at a time. This was an important thing to tackle. I appreciate him being a diplomat at home and abroad. This attack is totally ridiculous and beyond opportunistic.

    July 31, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. Adam Connecticut

    I don't remember hearing much criticism of Dubya's constant vacation time from the Republicans when he was in office. We were at war then too. I guess it is okay to take a break from a war if you are the one who started it.

    July 31, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. Paul Murphy

    Jan Larimer apparently failed to realize that the conversation was not about beer but about reconciling differences through conversation. I imagine as our country becomes more about reconciliation through conversation we will spend less time at war.

    July 31, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. TDogg!!!

    Does the GOP whine about everything? They whine about the issue. They whine about Obama resolving the issue.

    July 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Brina

    This is why there is such poor race relations in this country. If this person can't focus on something eles for 1 hour then they need some medication. If more politicians were leaders the US would be in a much better place.

    July 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. alvino

    Larimar thinks that there is no racial division, and I am sure that in whites only country club, that is the case.

    July 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. REAL reform

    oh right. this number is from Wyoming. and she knows what this country is all about! and it's NOT having a relaxing night with a beer. how does this GOPer spend her free time? with lobbyists? criticizing anyone who doesn't look like her?

    July 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. Tyler

    The president was not focused on the the meeting or the beer. The media were focused the "beer summit."

    How many rounds of golf has the president played since his inauguration, and how much valuable time has it consumed?

    I don't think our country is about prefecting the chip shot either, even though George W. Bush's opinion would differ.

    July 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. Mar

    Republicans have to always complain about whatever the president does.
    What have you done lately to bring the country together?

    July 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. Max

    This is obviously another failed Republican jab at the President. Interestingly, the GOP member who last held the position of President Of The United States, George W. Bush spent a large amount of time on vacation in Texas. Obama, unlike Bush and many of his fellow GOP members, is making efforts to start a national discussion on a topic that has haunted the U.S. for centuries and must be confronted: racism. The Republicans need to try and find another way not to lose the next elections because bashing the President is just not working.

    July 31, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. GGG

    Obama is NOT a President!!!! he has proven that over and over again... If there is any chance of a photo shoot he is going to be present... Quite frankly we are all sick and tired of hearing and seeing him... We would like to see him actually work for a change!!! Let me tell you in our town which is Democrat strong is highly disgusted with him and find him clueless to say the least!!!! Our Country needs a leader and Obama has done nothing but spend, spend, spend... and you can not blame that on the republicans!!!

    July 31, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. murray

    "The president needs to focus on more important issues... we are at war and the president is talking about beer in the White House." He's actually talking about racism, which, beileve it or not republicans, is still a very big problem in these United States of America. Oh, by the way, so glad to the birthers, oops, the republicans are so focused on the good of our country. Yeah, right. I saw a report (sorry CNN – on another station) last night where a reporter was "chasing" republican congressional leaders asking one simple question – Do you believe the President is a US citizen. Not one answered yes, and a few even answered unequivocally NO. All had to go to a meeting and had no time to answer a yes or no question. What's wrong with the people? I just don't get the republicans.

    July 31, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  25. Marty, FL

    Another GOP "leader" criticizes....shocking.

    Focus, Ms. Larimer? Really? Many Americans could think of several more important issues for your Party of No focus. How about looking into your own house? Perhaps start with Ensign, Vitter, or Sanford?

    If this is the so-called rebuilding of my former GOP, I still want nothing to do with it. Larimer unbelievably stoops to more criticisms when three gentlemen find a brief moment to respectfully address an issue together.

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