January 20th, 2010
03:56 PM ET
8 years ago

Gibbs says Republicans not serious about bipartisanship

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that Republicans are stalling on major legislative issues.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that Republicans are stalling on major legislative issues.

Washington (CNN) - Republicans talk about working with Democrats but don't follow through, stalling progress on major issues, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

"They've got to want to work," Gibbs told reporters. "It has to be heart-felt."

Gibbs cited a GOP attempt to filibuster the defense spending bill last year, followed by an 88-10 vote in favor of the measure that included support from most Republicans.

Earlier Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told reporters that his party is ready to work with Democrats on finding middle-ground solutions for major issues.

"We're prepared to meet them in the middle for truly bipartisan solutions to the problems the American people sent us here to grapple with," McConnell said.

In response, Gibbs said: "I watched Mitch McConnell, whose party unity score in voting was 95 percent, talk
about being bipartisan - an interesting message."

Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee spent months working on a health care bill that included amendments proposed by Republicans, Gibbs noted. When the Senate eventually voted on a final health care bill that included much of the Finance Committee measure, no Republicans supported it.

"You can talk and you can meet and you can extend a hand, but if what you construct working with the other party, the other party is then unwilling to support, … you can't do that," Gibbs said.

Filed under: GOP • Mitch McConnell • Obama administration • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    No Duh! Heck, their biggest (and I do mean Biggest) spokesman says he wants President Obama and our country to fail, that pretty much tells you their strategy.

    January 20, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    When you look at the fact that Republicans care more about being in power and coddling the wealthy than they do about our country, of course they'll do everything they can to obstruct the president.

    No wonder people are leaving the Republican party in droves!

    January 20, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. John from LA

    SHUT UP GIBBS!!!-arrogant idiot!-Just like Ari F.-during Bush's first term. Here's a Novel idea....How about both parties stop acting like spoiled children and get Gov't moving forward!!!

    January 20, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Why aren't Americans asking Republicans what their solutions (plans) are instead of repeating the same thing people are saying they don't want.

    January 20, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Objective Thinking

    So most Republicans voted in favor of the Defense spending bill, and some Republican tries to filibuster it... then Gibbs chooses to the focus on the one filibustering to generalize Republicans as unwilling to be bipartisan? What about all those Republicans who voted in favor of it?

    January 20, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Little Lulu

    That is the pot calling the kettle black. What a hyprocrite!! Dems want to hide in the back room and push over a health care bill that they do not want republicans or any regular citizen of this country to know about and he has the nerve and gall to say that Republicans don't want bipartisianship??????? What planet did he come from anyway? Looney as they come, he is. Got news for you Gibbs, we (republicans) are not going to lay down and let you people walk over us. Your day of "do what you want and shove it down the throats of Americans" is OVER. We are taking back what left of the United States of America, fortunately before it became the United Socialists States of America. Get over it! WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 20, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Gibbs talks too much

    And Gibbs would know because.... The democrats have tried to force feed all of the legislation so far. Both parties have ideas on: healthcare, the economy and the environment. Unfortunately, the (past) super-majority has allowed the democrats to dictate what they send through committee. I love how idiots always say, "the party of no". When in reality, it is the party of: "different ideas that get no play because the democrats don't have to listen to them."

    January 20, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Gibbs is a yo-yo dummy boy!

    January 20, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    The people have spoken. No more partisan Federal Government. It is ugly and it does not work. The Democrats had 1 year of everything on their wish list and accomplished very little.

    You will hear the same message in November, but louder. It might be best to take a minute and listen now.

    January 20, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. glenn129

    If I was a republican leader I would be as sincere about bipartisanship as obama, pelosi, and reed have been.

    January 20, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Kathleen

    I do not believe a word the Republicans have to say. Surely they are
    lying again.

    Wait until Massachusetts really gets to "know" the man they voted
    in to taking the place of the Late Ted Kennedy.

    Massachusetts "fell for a few lines" and stupidly voted for Brown.

    If he is against the "Health Care Reform Bill" he is FOR the big insurance crooks and money makers! Did Mass. voters ask
    pertinent questions rather than believe a "sound bite". How stupid.

    January 20, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Mississippi Mrs.

    Perception is everything Mr. Gibbs. And perception is that Mr. Obama has NOT lived up to his promises on this. Bi-partisanship is one thing that every single American dreams of. We admire the hell out of it, when we see it. You know, and everyone Sees how much the Republicans have been clobbered with your super majority, with your wheeling and dealing to get YOUR WAY, not the peoples way.

    I suggest you try again Mr. Gibbs. We see in you a reflection of the clueless President that you spin for. You are doing a great job reflecting his shallowness.

    January 20, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. sonny chapman

    Republican Bipartisanship = Jim DeMint, "Health Care will be Obama's Waterloo".

    January 20, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. Matt

    Didn't the repubs also do that with the Budget. They opposed Obama's and when they were pressed where thier's was located, they [pulled out 4 pages with no figures. Just another example of bi-partisanship. This message brought to you by the Party of No and they approved this message

    January 20, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. spin doctor

    reminds me of a bad puppet act i saw once, uninteresting, loud and arrogant

    January 20, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Ric in NY

    Oh PLEASE Gibbs! What a liar you are. Obama and the libs won’t even include the GOP in any policy meetings, especially the healthcare disaster that Obama has created. Maybe if Obama INCLUDED the GOP we would have some decent legislation to look at.

    Gibbs....you are the WORST!

    January 20, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Phil

    Why is it everyone says Republicans don't want to work with Democrats? The Republicans present their ideas and are roundly dismissed by the Democrats. I didn't see anything in the current health care reform proposal mentioning Tort Reform or interstate competition? Now with Brown winning, maybe the Democrats will want to listen a little more. My state's senator, Webb, has already done a 180. He now is wanting to hold off on voting until after Brown is in the Senate. I'm guess he knows he is screwed when it comes to the re-election in a couple years if he votes for the Health Care Reform bill now. Before he was all for it and now Brown being elected gives him an out to save face.

    January 20, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. Pepou

    Which is exactly why I am sick and tired of all the compromise with them. If the democrats were united and disciplined this health care reform would have been passed long ago.

    January 20, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Nestor

    GOP wants Obama to fail and from what it looks like they seem to be suckering the people with them. Oh well...what was I thinking...Obama = Change...not likely.

    January 20, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. lucy

    Whenever these clowns want to start working together would be fine. The GOP is the party of NO, the Dem's are a herd of cats, and all of them are so cuddly with special interests and so full of pork that the whole system has become completely dysfunctional. Apparently no one remembers that the point of deomocracy is that the majority – the simple majority, not the 60% majority – is supposed to rule. Maybe we should go back to the Darth Cheney dictatorship?

    January 20, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. al in memphis

    McCain told supporters that Brown's presence in the Senate was critical to derailing Democratic plans to pass a health care reform bill.


    I get it that different political philosphy will mean that politicans don't agree on everything. But it does not take much intelligence to figure out that lower heath care cost is better for the public and businesses in this country.

    Please tell me why health care reform was never an issue under the

    January 20, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Mitch McConnell says he wants bipartisanship ? The last time I heard such drivel was when George W. proclaimed he was a "uniter, not a divider."

    January 20, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Shmeckell

    Hey Gibbs propose eliminating the exemptions on antitrust laws and see who votes for it. You don’t even have to propose it is under Pelosi’s feet where she threw it over 40 times this past year without allowing it to be included in debates or discussed on the camera where the American people could understand what it is.

    I can’t figure out why someone wanting to take over health care would actually attempt to fix it however.

    January 20, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Former Republican

    I may disagree with the choice, but Brown's win should be a blessing in disguise for the Democratic majority to finally realize they never really were filibuster-proof with the nonsense from Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, etc. and pass better bills thru reconciliation.

    If the GOP truly wants to participate in the process, let them prove it.
    Congratulations to Brown.

    January 20, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. James McNally

    Why should Republicans be interested in bipartisanship? They didn't run as bipartisans – they ran as partisans ("Republicans"). Same with the Dems. "Bipartisanship" is just a buzz word for "you compromise your ideals and join with me." There are always *non*partisan issues on which people can agree. Don't mistake that for bipartisanship.

    January 20, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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