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. Barbara

    You're right Mr. Gibbs.The Republicans only agenda is to bring President Obama down. After 8 horrible years of Bush/Cheney President Obama is doing his very best to bring us back to where we should be-and I support him one hundred and one percent. He is doing a great job despite all the name-calling/innuendos/ slime being thrown at him instead of working in what they say a "bipartisan way"-What a bunch of liars! All Americans-not just some Americans-deserve Healthcare. It should be a right-not a privilege. Thank you Presidnet Obama for standing up and taking this issue on. Your Party needs to stand with You-instead of trying to be Politically Correct.

    January 20, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. DJ

    Bobby,
    Are you on crack? Haven't you been watching or listening? Every Rep. proposal was cut down in committee and never considered. Your boss calls meetings behind closed doors with democrats only – and you say republicans don't want to be part of the HC bill?
    You are the biggest hypocrite EVER!

    January 20, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. chris l

    nothing that comes out of the mouth of any member of the anti American Radical Party formerly known as "the democrats" makes one bit of difference. Hey Gibbs, guess what, it started in Virginia wento to New Jersey continued on to Masssachusetts and will spread throughout the country. Gibbs, Obozo, and their merry band of radicals are done. Count on it.

    January 20, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Thank you Massachusetts!

    Republicans not serious about bipartisanship???? And what does he call it when the Democrats AND American people are locked out of the health care discussion????

    January 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Ha!!!

    Really? Or is it u don't care to hear fr Republicans?

    I find it amazing that until now Republicans have been excluded fr talks and negotiations. When the Messiah descended on the House b/4 the vote, he met only with House Dems and gave the figurative middle finger to the Republicans. Same for the Senate. Now Obama admin wants to say it is the Repubs fault that there is no bipartisanship? If u believe that I got some land in the everglades to sell u.

    Funny how these cockroaches are scrambling, backpedaling and pointing fingers at everyone but themselves.

    January 20, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Independant Vet

    Gibbs , would not make it one nite on the tonite show. So how does he keep the job he has . Backs up all the lies the Democrats have shushed out in the past year.
    One down and 54 more to go . If we survive , all there Bs for another 3 years.

    January 20, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Sea.gem

    I love it...the arrogance of this admin has caused them to fail and even lose Dems..keep on talking Gibbs and Obama...you already have one foot out the door...your sham attempt at bi-partisanship awakened America...bi-partisanship does not mean "Vote for my Socialist plan or we will lock the door and buy votes without you"!...idiots,,,but when they are voted out it is better for the country..so,thank you, and keep on talkin'...

    January 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Dar

    Gibbs is a crap disturber and loves to spew lies to throw everyone off the real issue here. This bill is crap and the DEMS know it and yet they still try to cram this junk bill down our teeth even when they know it's bad.They cant back down now, that would make them look bad.
    So now if there is a filibuster and this ends this HC bill then the Dems can say we tryed to help the American people but the party of no stopped us, its their fault you dont have insurance.

    But this will back fire on them, why, because we dont want this bill either. It's junk. Throw it away and start over, it is that easy.

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming

    January 20, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Dodd Democrat...

    Gibbs is just trying to deflect from the real issue.......AMERICANS DON"T WANT THIS HEALTH CARE BILL!!

    The White House should acknowledge that they have been on the wrong track and have heard the message of the people loud and clear.....and will now re-direct to JOBS and reworking this flawed Health Care Bill.

    January 20, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. JD

    What a steaming load! Gibbs has clearly been asleep the entire time that Pelosi and Reid made it plain that they were not going to entertain bipartisanship at all and were hell bent for leather to ram through their pet projects down the throats of the American people with their supermajority.

    Remember, Gibbs – for each finger you have pointing at the Republicans, you've got three pointing right back at YOU and your hyper-partisan liberal chums in the Democrat Party!

    January 20, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. Katie B in NC

    Sen. McConnell, you can start by coming to the table with some *reasonable* ideas. Just saying NO to everything doesn't cut it. Neither does proposing foolishly unworkable "solutions."

    January 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. DA

    Uh...if anyone thought they were then i have some land to sell you!!!
    It was stupid for the President to try and play a game of bipartisanship with a party that does not agree with your position!!! Dude you had the power and you should have used it!! You don't quiver when you have the power, you make the decision and everyone else should line up lock stock and barrel behind you!!! The GOP stance and what the Democrats and the President stand for is on opposite ends of the spectrum!!! Why in the world would anyone think you could work with them? Plan and simple the Democrats have lost and opportunity to show real leadership and now they are on the verge of being put out!!!

    January 20, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Why, CNN?

    Why are you not accepting or posting any comments on any of the tickers involving the Brown win?

    What's the matter - all of you crying in the hallways 'cause your darling Obama got called on the carpet?

    January 20, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Stu-SWFlorida

    Nope... naa.. NO... their favorite words. They have still yet to come up with any solutions. ANY SOLUTIONS! They have still yet to help make America UNITED again.
    I'm disgusted of what's going on in America.

    It's not about who has control of the Senate and Congress. It's not about which party is "winning" and it's not about who has the largest Richard. It's about the people... NOT THE PARTY! It's about making America right again. The vast majority elected President Obama and now the vast majority of GOP won't let him do his job. They criticize all he tries to accomplish while it was the past 8 years that put us in this. Dems and Repubs.
    Get it together and work together FOR THE PEOPLE or you'll all be selling pencils at Home Depot this November.

    January 20, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Gus

    He's right. GOP has done everything w/in it's power to make Obama's first year appear to be a failure. It's a sad extension of the Rove-like tactics on display in the previous admin.

    For their part, the Dems have played right into the GOP's hand. They're too incompetent to play hard-ball politics.

    I think Obama has some great ideas. But, he's not able to get them through, due to GOP blockade and Dems who are not worthy.

    It's not game-over, yet. Even with the loss of the Mass Senate seat, the Dems have a majority few presidents have ever enjoyed. They need to sack-up and take advantage of what they have!

    January 20, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Lilarose in Oregon

    McConnell, R-Kentucky, you BARELY won reelection this last time.

    I don't think you even know HOW to be bipartisian.

    Bottom line, hundreds of thousands of Americans will now go without decent health care for a very long time. Some of them will die due to lack of decent health care.

    I wish there was some way to be sure those deaths are related to people who screwed the rest of us.

    January 20, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Mike

    Republicans are a joke when it comes to bipartisanship!! The ironic part of Brown's election in Mass is his response to HealthCare reform... Brown said we don't want Obama's plan....Pretty ironic!! Isn't the whole point of HealthCare Reform to extend coverage to MOST Americans which Mass already has?

    January 20, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. southerncousin

    There is the old Obama arrogance and elitist attitude coming through. Why Mr. Gibbs has the president extended more invitations to the president of the crooked and corrupt president of SEIU (the union that runs ACORN) than he has Mitch McConnell. You frauds are clueless and classless and constantly LIE!!!!!!!

    January 20, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. Bob in Pa

    Since when is the Press Secretary supposed to be an attack dog ?
    This guy doesn't answer questions or feed information, all he does is play blame politics. A press secretary should be above politics, shame on Obama for using him this way.

    January 20, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. Dan

    Who was it that said, "We won, we can do whatever we want?"

    Oh yea, Pelosi and Obama.

    January 20, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Steve, NY

    See what I mean, Democrats don't change their ways. They are like little kids repeating, party of no, party of no. It gets annoying after awhile. This is all they know. What the Democrats need to say all right Republicans write down what you want. Mark up the changes in the Health bill and let's have a meeting, televised by CNN instead of closed doors, and see who the party of No is.
    This guy Gibbs has to go, he's a phony as they come. Matter of fact Obama needs to clean up half of his staff, and this will create co-operation from all.
    This guy Gibbs had to be a spoiled brat when he was a kid that everybody picked on him. He needs to grow up and learn how to work with people.
    Cut the spinning , it's making your nose bigger and bigger.

    January 20, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Rose

    Gibbs is a jerk, it was the Dems that went behind closed doors to do their business. Several Republican wrote a letter to Obama regarding a specific issue, they still have not received a response.

    January 20, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. Ms S Callahan

    It's time to roll those hard feelings under the carpet and everyone get to work for the American people....don't miss the message..'middle ground'...everything always has a solution...it just takes effort to get to it. Get working!

    January 20, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  24. Bob

    Bi-partisanship is a two-way street Mr. Gibbs. Both parties are quite guilty of digging in their heals and not working together. So don't try to lay this at the door of one party, OK? The American public is not stupid.

    January 20, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. ccc

    people of america just dropped huge rock on their feet by electing this guy

    January 20, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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