March 2nd, 2010
05:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Bunning's abrasive behavior spans careers

 Baseball Hall of Famers Sen. Jim Bunning, right, and Robin Roberts appear at a 2009 MLB World Series game.
Baseball Hall of Famers Sen. Jim Bunning, right, and Robin Roberts appear at a 2009 MLB World Series game.

Washington (CNN) - GOP Sen. Jim Bunning is standing alone - much like a baseball pitcher on the mound - as he continues to block a measure that would extend cash and health insurance benefits for the unemployed.

The Kentucky Republican, who is retiring at the end of this term, argues that he doesn't oppose extending the programs; he just doesn't want to add to the deficit.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger, who spoke with a Republican in the Senate, said members of the GOP feel Bunning "has the right idea" in questioning how the extension would be paid for, but think "it is the wrong fight for them to wage right now."

The fear from many Republicans, Borger noted, is that it plays right into the Democrats' narrative that Republicans are obstructionists.

Bunning's views, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins said, "do not represent the majority of the Republican caucus." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Bunning's legislative tactics "terribly inappropriate" and "very out of line."

The tensions have seemingly taken a toll on Bunning, who is the first member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress.

Bunning, observers have noted, has a history of being abrasive.

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Filed under: Jim Bunning
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Allen Hussein

    CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger, who spoke with a Republican in the Senate, said members of the GOP feel Bunning "has the right idea" in questioning how the extension would be paid for, but think "it is the wrong fight for them to wage right now."

    Come on Reid. Let's have an up or down vote for cloture on Bunning's filibuster. Put the Pugs on record whether they stand with Bunning or with the American workers.

    March 2, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Andy

    Who is wrong,Bunning or Obama.Obama touted the pay-as-go;therefore,blame Obama as well if you blame Bunning.

    March 2, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Daniel

    Susan Collins, that is the problem. No one wants to stop and think. Not the Dems nor the Republicans. He is picking a very unpopular time to do this but it has to be done. Just as all Americans are making hard choices right now, so should the federal government. As has been pointed out, our elected officials are doing anything but cutting back on their bills AND their expenses. By the way, we pay for their expenses. Just look at the bloated staff employed by the taxpayer for the Obamas.

    Bunning, you are a couragous man that has made a decision that will cost you many more friends than you will make because of this. You can consider me a friend for doing this.

    March 2, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. All Of Washington Must Be 2 Faced Liars

    Is everyone in Washington a 2 faced liar? Rules are meant to be broken when they do not suit.Pay-as go was a great policy until it was used.Now jump ship on Bunning by Reid/Most Dems if not all and several GOP.Get rid of ALL of them and keep Bunning,he did what he was told to do.

    March 2, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Nini

    I am so glad that we finally see a republican with a spine.

    It is amazing how CNN and the rest of the unethical media is portraying him.

    CNN is just like the democrats their rating goes down more and more every day but they are not listening.

    March 2, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. double standard

    Why didn't you sir...act like this when Bush was in office ?

    March 2, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Oliver

    Republicans' abrasive behavior spans the world.

    March 2, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Doraine Gordon

    The man is a total lunatic. He brags that he has 40 Grandchildren. How would he feel if they were facing going hungry because of some idiot in Washington holding up their families unemployment benefits? He is a mean angry selfish old man who is being forced out by the GOP and he went into payback mode. He doesn't care who gets hurt in the meantime. Come November the Republicans can thank Bunning for their losses at the polls.

    March 2, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. annie against biased news

    This might be a 'mute' point but exactly how are we going to pay for this? Reminds me of the movie 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days'. obama and his chicago mafia administration could be called 'How to Lose/Wipeout/Destroy a Country in 1 Year'.

    March 2, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Go home Harry Reid!

    March 2, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    HURRAY! We need someone abrasive enough to shake some sense into these free-spending loony libs who are mortgaging us into infinity and writing checks that we can't cash.

    March 2, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Susan Collins is wrong. Bunning is the epitome of the GOP strategy to delay, obstruct and interfere with the business of Congress. What about the 5 trillion the Republicans added to the debt for a war based on lies in Iraq to make Cheney's company rich?

    March 2, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Shelly

    Republicans ARE obstructionists!!!!!! Get them out, so this country can move forward for the American people!

    March 2, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. Sadie

    The Republicans are obstructionists, they are proving even more they are the PART OF NO at the expense of this country and the American people........I don't think the Democrats have all the answers but if the Republicans would meet just half way together they can solve the problems......but if the Republicans aren't willing to give and help in solving any of the problems we are facing they are not working for you or me they are working for the next election......if they did win majority in the House and Senate do you think they will do anything constructive for this country......NO......do you think another Republican President is going to solve all these problems we are facing.....NO.....they want this President to FAIL at all cost.....they don't care what it is doing to all of us.......just as long as they make Obama FAIL.......what a sorry bunch of men and women they are.........

    March 2, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Sam Ellison

    I like how Republicans are admitting they’re only supporting this measure so they “don’t look obstructionist”. Jim Bunning is retiring, and now that he doesn’t have to answer to constituents he’s showing the true face of his party, what all the other Republicans would do if they didn’t have to get re-elected.

    March 2, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    It was only weeks ago that Democrat Obama signed the PAYGO legislation that had been passed by the Democrat-majority Congress. This legislation requires bills that would cost money to include a source for that money.

    Now, only weeks later, the Democrats are trying to weasel their way out of abiding by the legislation they just approved.

    Of course, they weren't serious in the first place. They never intended to abide by PAYGO. It was all political theatre.

    And all Jim Bunning is doing is showing America how hypocritical the Democrats are.

    Of course the Dems hate him for that!

    March 2, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. Layla

    Congress has had several days in which to deal with this "emergency" and instead decided to go home for the weekend.

    In my view, Sen. Bunning is the bravest man in Washington and the only one willing to stand on his principles. All he is doing is asking that the law be obeyed.

    Why not interview Mr. Reid on why that isn't happening?

    March 2, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. a thomas

    I agree with Pat from Illinois, he obviously has a undetected neurological problem. Either that or he just plain mean.

    March 2, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. Charlie in Maine

    I think the Senate should go get a roadblack from the Dept of Transportation, have it bronzed and put it in front of the Capitol as a monument to this idiot Bunning. See what happens when you give the GOP even marginal power. When they were in charge it was Tax Cuts and an un -justified War in Iraq. Now that they are in the minority all they can do is block good ideas so I guess that is an improvement.

    March 2, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. american patriot

    No he is standing alone like the CROOK that he is. He is a nasty person and calls Hill Security on REPORTERS.

    The man should be investigated and indicted and INSTANTLY fired for not doing the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

    I believe he was Elected to do just that.

    No one person should carry this much descision making power.

    He has lived off tax payers far to long

    March 2, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  21. Somebody had to stand up to.......

    spending with no idea where the money is coming from.......the others are spineless.

    And didn't Obama just call for "pay as you go" from this point forward.....
    or didn't you hear him???

    March 2, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  22. spend spend spend

    This man has it right. The Dems past pay go. Which means you have to pay for things as you go. But of course they want to bypass their own rules. Saying everything is an emergency to spend spend and spend some more. Unemployment benefits and Cobra is suppose to be temporary. Not something you are suppose to live on. Instead of sitting on their butts why dont people take some part time jobs and get going until the economony comes back. I know I have done it myself before.

    March 2, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. Elliott Carlin

    Uh, Chuck Rangel is abrasive
    Chuck Schumer is abrasive
    Hillary Clinton is abrasive.

    C'mon CNN, everyone knows you are lib hacks.

    Give it up already.

    March 2, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  24. Jack Posner

    Bunning's views, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins said, "do not represent the majority of the Republican caucus."

    Really? He is the only obstructionist Republican? The rest are reasonable people that ooze cooperation? Oh, like Boehner, McConell, etc. Real bi-partisans every one! And save the baseball reference. I'm sure the unemployed could care less. This the real conservative unfrocked folks. This is the concern they have for you and your family. Because He can pay for his house, healthcare, vacations, country club membership, new car, and anything else that he wants. He will retire with great health care benefits, paid by you. He will lobby for corporations against your best interests when he "retires". What an admirable human being!!!

    March 2, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Senator Bunning and the rest of the Republicans had no problem voting to run the debt from $5-trillion to over $10-trillion. They had no problem voting to bail out their Wall Street buddies. They had no problem with giving tax breaks to mega-millionaire individuals and businesses. Now Bunning worries about how to pay for an additional $10-billion?
    Give me a break!!!

    March 2, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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