January 20th, 2010
03:56 PM ET
4 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. Tom L.

    Sure, Robert. So how do you explain no Republicans being part of the negotiations now?

    People say that they hope Democrats got the message from last night's election. Seems to me that Mr. Gibbs did not get the memo and wants to continue to blame everyone else rather than take responsibility for what this administration and the Democrats leadership might have done wrong. It's always someone else's fault, isn't it, Mr. Gibbs?

    January 20, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Darko

    When the legislation starts to the left and veers further to the left as they proceed, why on earth would you suspect that the republicans should be willing to participate???

    Look in the mirror...

    The Dems had a super-majority for a year and mistakenly fought their own party for the entirety of it.

    Reality is now sinking in. Who's next on the donkey block? Reid?

    January 20, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. gt

    man thats the way to start off ,,, what a positive attitude,,, looser...

    January 20, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Republicans are only bipartisan when it suits them.

    January 20, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Scott Brown

    This from the group that locks out Republicans and the media from their sleezy back room dealing. There are FAR more Dems who voted against their conscience and constituents' wishes (e.g. the blue dogs) than Republicans. Look at the number of Dems bought out by sheer bribary and against their beliefs (e.g. Nelson) for their votes...

    January 20, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    Gibbs is SO full of it..... all the dems have to do is LISTEN. But they seem incapable of reasoning or practicality.

    January 20, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. russell

    If you think he's teling you the truth , Americans would be just as stupid as a box of rocks ! One thing that we can tell about the GOP while Obama is in office, they lie , they lie , they lie and tell more lies , if they haven't worked with the democrats by now , they never will . When will you Amercians wake up .The GOP is self -serving only to themselves , if you go about an entire year sabotaging anything and everything what makes people think that they won't continue down this path.......AMERICA YOU BETTER WAKE UP !

    January 20, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. NotFooledTX

    Gibbs is right. The republicans are working to regain power and win elections, not to do the necessary work for the American people. It's going to take both sides, but right now, only the democrats are serious about getting the work of the people done.

    January 20, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. New Age Independent

    Gibbs is a fool and an idiot. Blaming the other party when you have a 60-40 majority in the Senate is a joke. Democrats are by far the most partisan; locking Republicans out of meetings isn't exactly going to promote bipartisanship. He and the rest of his Democrat fiends need to understand that Health Care reform actually needs to save us money, not spend more. Saying that some amendments were included that were proposed by Republicans is, as usual, only partly true. The fact remains that the sum of the bill is still junk.

    January 20, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Rick CT

    It would also help if St. Barack lost the "we won, so get over it" attitude. That's not conducive to bi-partisanship.

    January 20, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Russ

    McConnell and other Republicants bipartisan.......hahahahahaha!!!

    January 20, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. RealityKing

    Apparently Gibbs is still not getting the hint from last nights vote...

    January 20, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Jerry

    Is that a new person in gibbs job i smell ?

    January 20, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Jeff

    Wow, sounds like the shoe is on the other foot. Take Health Care, you didn't want any help, it was your way or the highway. What has got to happen is to stop pointing fingers, and get to work on the items that have got to be fixed, JOBS. Or you and your party will be another
    Lame Duck!!!!

    January 20, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. lou

    I say dont let them win this game that they have played skillfully. They caused the mess and now Obama catches the heat for not fixing it quick enough. Dems were voted in to change things so change things dammit. You had many months to get it done with a 60 vote super majority. Enough playing nice, Pass the senate bill then fix it later. DO'NT let them win....

    January 20, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. seebofubar

    Gibbs,
    No intelligent person Republican or Democrat with any sence of respect for the citizens of the US would work with the Obama administration and help them destroy this country. Get it through you thick skull nimrod.....the people don't want what your selling!

    January 20, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Sam

    Maybe if the Democrats included ONE measure suggested by the GOP then they could have passed something on a bipartisan level. It is clear that the democrats chose the partisan route and they are already starting to pay for it.

    January 20, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Gibbs is a liar. But I guess that's the job of the WH press secretary–to spin the story. The fact is the dems knew they had enough votes in both houses to pass anything they wanted. They refused to even consider amendments proposed by republicans.

    Where's the tort reform, dems???

    January 20, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Carnoe Morales

    Gibbs, get over it. It is wiser to do nothing than to set out to do something that is wrong. The republicans have got it right. I'm so glad the dems left the republicans out of the "health care" fiasco. The dems thought they would steal all the glory (without repub help) of the health care mess, but guess what, folks? Our most liberal state stabbed the dems in the back before they could ram the knife up the taxpayers' you-know-whats.

    January 20, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Steph

    Republicans ready to work with Democrats on health care, the economy, education, the environment, etc...I'll believe it when I see it.

    January 20, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. clint kemnitz

    There is no reason for thegop to work with them. how soon we forget what they did to bush

    January 20, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Nathan

    Why do they keep looking for middleground rather than doing what is right for the American people? Those in Washington – on both sides of the aisle, are going to compromise this country away a little at a time. What the public wants is for statesmen to argue the merits of all ideas and select the best. If I were an incumbant, I would worry about the public's desire for change. It's not about changing a party. It's about getting rid out the old Washington deadwood and bringing in new public servants.

    January 20, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Jeff

    It's sad when the GOP has only one goal, defeat Obama. How is that looking out for the people. We all know that we have some major issues that need to be solved, health care being one of them; has the GOP come up with anything that would solve this problem. The answer is NO. Please try and help this country and not just say No to Obama.

    January 20, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. virginia nielsen

    What is new !!! The party of the rich people in America , including the owners of the health insurance companies , are ALL REPUBLICANS !!! The GREED of Bush / Chenney era is still on !!! They govern for their selves and their pals, not for the people that elected them !!!

    January 20, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Why is it the right wingnuts always jump to conclusions without facts or understanding? You cannot start a war with 1.5 billion Muslims based on the actions of a minority of them. By the same token, yesterday's republican victory is not the end of the democratic party. As I recall, the republicans in the senate number 41, the democrats number 58 and then there is Lieberman.

    January 20, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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