August 5th, 2009
02:21 PM ET
5 years ago

Cornyn: Obama is 'now looking like a mere mortal'

Cornyn: 'President Obama is now looking like a mere mortal, as opposed to someone who previously exceeded gravity'.
Cornyn: 'President Obama is now looking like a mere mortal, as opposed to someone who previously exceeded gravity'.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John Cornyn dismissed the idea that congressional Republicans' near-united opposition to President Obama's agenda could backfire if economic conditions begin to improve significantly before voters head to the polls in 2010. "I would say in some ways our choices are limited" by minority status, he told reporters at a Wednesday briefing. "…We can't set the agenda, just state our opposition."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee chair said the climate was shifting, and noted the summer slide in the president's approval ratings. "I don't have to tell you about the general environment," he said. "President Obama is now looking like a mere mortal, as opposed to someone who previously exceeded gravity."

That development has contributed to the GOP's recruiting success, he said. The party's landed Gov. Charlie Crist for the Florida Senate race, and brought Rep. Mark Kirk into the race in Illinois while the Democrats' top prospect in that race – state Attorney General Lisa Madigan – opted out.

Less successful: the party's hunt for a challenger to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his massive campaign war chest in Nevada for a "Thune-Daschle type race."


Cornyn wouldn't commit to backing Sen. John Ensign, who recently admitted an extramarital affair, should the Nevada senator decide to run for re-election in 2012, saying any statement would be premature.

"Sen. Ensign and his family and everybody involved have been through a very tough time, and I think all of us have tried to give him and his family and all involved the space to work through that," he said.

Besides, he joked, "…I may get ousted in a coup d'etat as chairman of the NRSC in 2012."

Cornyn denied that rising expressions of anger from some members of the conservative base, particularly at Democratic town halls, would play a significant role in the GOP's 2010 electoral strategy. "It's part of the process…part of the grieving process," he said jokingly, pointing to the stages of grief. Republicans had moved through denial and fear, he said, and had reached anger. Besides, "it's part of our political process for people to express ... whatever they feel" without being "demonized," said Cornyn.

The Texas senator brushed off questions about whether Republican votes against Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination would short-circuit the party's chances of making headway with Hispanic voters, since economic issues may continue to dominate well into next year.

He also said that if Democrats opted to use reconciliation to avoid a filibuster of the health care bill, "I assure you [the process] will be contentious and ugly."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. jrzshor

    "mere MORTAL"

    are you kidding?!?

    August 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Give'em Back to Santa Ana

    Cornyn got something right. The President is a human being. I'm still wondering about Cornyn.

    August 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. BEA

    G.O.P is epic fail. Approval ratings change...notice when the economy bounces back..the President's approval ratings will go up...

    August 5, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Liberal4Obama

    This is all republicans care about, destroying President Obama, they dont care about lifting the country up, but tearing it down, like Rush Limbaugh republicans mission is to make America FAIL.

    August 5, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. CNN, are getting tired of not posting my comments yet?

    "…We can't set the agenda, just state our opposition."

    Yah, that somes up a lot right there. Since they can't set the agenda they are going to oppose. I understand that the two parties are not going to see eye to eye on everything. But is it really too much to ask to have some compromise? Or does that also show weakness to our enemies? We wouldn't want that would we.

    August 5, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Karen

    Polls are meaningless and usually mostly Republican. No one wants the Republican obstructionists and bullies around in 2012 or 2010. They have proven they have no ideas at all and have no clue how to solve any problem. It's the Republicans who have been UGLY!

    August 5, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Fed Up

    The economy should have and would have started it's recovery if NOT for the interference of Obama. His wasteful spending and increase in taxes (cap and trade) are stalling the recovery process. Are people that naive to think when the economy starts to finally turn around that Obama actually has anything to do with it? The destruction of America is in the hands of the Democrats, sanity and common sense need to be restored by voting them out of power. The economy had better recover by 2010, but that won't influence my vote to get these over spenders out of office.

    August 5, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sen. Cornyn of Texas will not be a senator too much longer. Bad idea to have voted against Sotomayor.

    August 5, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    He doesn't visit C-Street. He's not part of the "cover up everybodies" love afair crowd like most of the republicans.

    You Leave My President Alone. We have ONE MORE Rep. Sen. to vote out of our state next year – and it will happen. If we could get Liddy Dole out, we can get Burr out.

    August 5, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Apparently the good Senator has forgotten that the President was elected by an overwhelming majority of voters and that Obama's platform had health care and health care insurance reform at the top of his campaign agenda. I believe that he needs to consider the whole countries needs and not just from his uniformed voter base. This good Senator should deliver the news to a young single mother that not only will her premium go up ...but that treatment has been denied to her or her child. Better yet he should listen to some of THE REAL STORIES of REAL PEOPLES ISSUES from his state and decide how he can set there and tell them not to worry.. things will get better after he votes down any health care reform or federal insurance assistance. This guy is a piece of work. God will have a place for him.

    August 5, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Larry

    Cronyn, your party is only going to lose more seats in congress.

    Over the last few months the Republicans have turned into a party of raving lunatics.

    President Obama is a real leader. This country is starting to be optimistic again under his leadership.

    I know what you mean about the "mere mortal" crack though. I always thought there was something ethereal about him. He genuinly cares about the people of his country. If you Republicans ever want authority again, watch how President Obama conducts himself.

    August 5, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "President Obama is now looking like a mere mortal, as opposed to someone who previously exceeded gravity."

    Sorry dude...when the economy really starts shifting, as it's already showing signs of beginning to do, he'll float right back up. You' resadly mistaken if you think all the "gloom & doom" pseudo-apocalyptic rhetoric will have done you any favors once things are back on track. Americans have short memories....you GOPers should know that, you've been trying to abuse that fact for nigh on 7 months.

    August 5, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. nick

    Obama never acted like he was immortal lie GWB, so what's the biggie? He's the first real guy President we've had in a long tie and am enjoying being lead by a citizen inlieu of one of the royals as was the case previous.

    August 5, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Florida Joe

    Hate to break it to you Senator but Charlie Crist supported the Obama stimulus package which is why he is receiving broad support....Imagine a Repub that actually cares what is good for his state rather than what the party line should be like Sanford and EX Gov Palin...........Repubs will be out in the cold as this economy turns around no thanks to them..........

    August 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Debra Austin, Texas

    Sorry John, but Obama is still twice as popular as you and the Rethuglican Party. Keep up the hits, because people in the middle are getting sick of it. Don't let that stop you and watch Texas go blue in your lifetime.

    August 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. David

    The reality is that the American people overwhelmingly support and are proud of President Obama, however the media has tried to make our president into something other than the president.

    Even with inheriting the worst economic climate, massive political corruption and corporate ethics decline due to 8 years of Republican Rule, our president has done more to improve our Country in 6 months, for now and for the long term than many presidents before him.

    Sadly, the GOP who has been rejected overwhelmingly by the American people, serves no other purpose but to fight against any efforts that benefit the American people, and only for their corporate backers.

    Which is why just like in 2008, in 2010 and 2012, the American people will vote for a better America, and reject the hate, lies and fear mongering of the that the GOP offers.

    August 5, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. A. Goodwin

    So, basically what he is saying is:

    1. Republican's hope that the economy continues to tank so that they can make it "seem" like they are leading the herd from troubled waters.

    2. That Republican's will not work across party lines to find a solution to our health care crisis, assuring us that the process will be "contentious and ugly." Even though 75% of all Americans – Democrats, Independents and Republican's included – want health care reform.

    3. That he's more worried about being ousted as chairman of the NRSC than to make an independent decision.

    4. That Republican's are projecting a racist agenda – by "brushing off" questions about Sotomayer's nomination even though they neeed minorities to win the next election.

    Glad to see the Republican's sinking like the Titanic.

    August 5, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. KirksNoseHair

    He may be a "mere mortal" but he'll never be the complete imbecile that his predecessor was.

    August 5, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    We never claimed he was God, just good. You rethuglicans remind me every single day why I left the party running and will NEVER vote rethuglican again!

    August 5, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. JGB

    It is amazing that people are so indecisive. If you like social programs and higher taxes you vote Democrat. If you are for personal responsibility and lower taxes you vote Republican. Democrats are typically those who are on Welfare and lower income, looking for a handout, not a handup, as well as brainwashed college kids who are convinced they are saving the world. Republicans are typically middle class tax payers that work hard and take care of themselves and have paid taxes for many years . JFK would be turning over in his grave if he knew what has become of the Democratic party.

    August 5, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. ROGER

    There are those who lead, those who follow, those who simply get out of the way so as not to impede progress, and republicans who act as bumps in the road to derail progress.

    August 5, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Wade Caudle

    I want to know why Republicans think their national strategy of "BRING DOWN OBAMA" is a good idea. What have we GAINED from this? Don't say you've SAVED us from something, because that is not a gain. So, what positive gains or ideas have been put forward by the GOP? Nothing. The ONLY thing they have come up with is opposing Obama- no new ideas, no compromises- even when moderates (the few who are still Republican) from the GOP negotiate, they are branded traitors, threatened, and more- much less listened to by the rest of the party.

    How pathetic.

    Thank You, Lord, for my Country, and our ability to VOTE OUT LOOSERS.

    August 5, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. Jeff

    To Senator John Cornyn, the GOP, the DNC, et al politicians who are working on the next election...How about instead WORKING on the problems facing America NOW. This is what we the government elected you to do. So to Senator Cornyn compared to you PRESIDENT OBAMA does walk on water...at least he is working to try find and implement solutions to our problems. Voters pay attention...Our your elected representatives campaigning or working? If they are campaigning remember this and then instead vote for the person who demonstrates getting things done to help fix our problems.

    August 5, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. single mom

    The Republicans need to stop moralizing and start presenting a clear, basic platform and program to the American people.
    Stop trying to tell people what to do in their own homes (outside of hurting children, and other common sense things). Drop the gay marriage and abortion planks and focus on the economy and national security.
    That is what the country needs. Not a cradle to grave system. That's never been what this country was about or founded on.

    August 5, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. GOP = 21st century dodo

    The GOP needs to be really really really careful about what they say and how they say it. Their diminished party includes

    -McCain/Palin rally mobs
    -Gun hoarders
    -Birthers (ie, racists)
    -Teabaggers

    This is an impressionable and volatile group which has shown itself to not be very good at separating fact from Glenn-Beck style paranoid fiction.

    August 5, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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