GOPers speak up, but some won't show up to Thursday speech
September 8th, 2011
12:13 PM ET
3 years ago

GOPers speak up, but some won't show up to Thursday speech

(CNN) – Actions speak louder than words, and at least five Republican members of Congress-two senators and three representatives –plan on sitting out the president's jobs speech before a Thursday joint session of Congress.

Call it an act of defiance, protest, or a simple "scheduling conflict"-some members just have other plans.

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Georgia Rep. Paul Broun also sat out the president's State of the Union address in January, tweeting from his office on Capitol Hill. This time, the congressman told CNN's American Morning Thursday that he's planning to host a "town hall meeting over Twitter" so that constituents can "communicate with me and tell me what they think about the president's speech."

The three-term Republican congressman accused President Obama of believing in socialism during his last tweet-and-response during a joint session, but this time, he said, will be different.

"We weren't holding a town hall meeting on that particular occasion," Broun clarified. "We're inviting people to come on board, to give me comments, to give me suggestions, to tell me what they think we should be doing."

"I'm trying to listen to my constituents," Broun said as he expressed skepticism about the president's intentions.

"This president does not listen. This is just another campaign speech," he stated.

"What we need to be doing is trying to create an environment so that job creators in the private sector will start hiring people, Broun continued.

"Not these ideas that have been proposed by the president. We've already seen them in the stimulus bill. They failed before. They'll fail again."

Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh echoed Broun's sentiments when he told CNN's "Newsroom" later, "It really does seem like every time someone skins their knee the president wants to make a big speech. We're beyond big speeches."

"If this president were serious about coming together, he wouldn't throw together a big campaign speech again."

Arguing that "you can't lead by speeches," the freshman congressman stated that he won't just be boycotting the president.

"I'm actually going to fly home this afternoon and instead of attending his speech I'm going to sit with 40-50 small businessmen and women–the job creators in this country–and they're going to give me their recommendations and I'm going to take them back to the president."

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint said he's "so tired of [Obama's] speeches" that he will read the text because "it's going to be hard" for the tea party leader to watch.

But House Speaker John Boehner wasn't in favor of actions by errant members of his party Thursday. "I have encouraged my colleagues to come tonight and to listen to the president," he addressed the floor.

"He is the president of the United States and I believe that all members ought to be here and do this. Doesn't mean they are going to. Remember, I am just the speaker, all right. I have 435 colleagues who have their own opinions and they are entitled to them. As an institution, the president is coming to our invitation. We ought to be respectful and we ought to welcome him."

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter just had bigger and better plans, but changed them to attend.

Though he originally stated, "I'm going to be watching from my family room in Metairie, Louisiana because I have a Saints game party there and I'm absolutely going to be there for the big game," spokesman Luke Bolar confirmed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the vote schedule, effectively cancelling the senator's travel plans.

"Apparently my attending my own Saints game party at home in Louisiana is the latest casualty of Washington partisanship," Vitter wrote in an e-mail to staff. "This HAS gotten out of hand!"

When President Obama first proposed a joint session of Congress last week, the timing went up against a GOP presidential debate. He settled on the Thursday date countered by House Speaker John Boehner, going head-to-head with the NFL season opener featuring the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers instead.

Obama's speech at 7 p.m. ET is timed to occur shortly before the game begins.

Still, Texas Rep. Ron Paul won't leave the presidential campaign trail to attend.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has pressing family matters that will keep him away from the Capitol as well –though his absence is less than political.

Spokesman Alex Burgos told CNN, "Senator Rubio will be returning home early this afternoon to be with his mother, who has been hospitalized following a series of strokes."

And freshman Rep. Lou Barletta announced Thursday he will return to his home state of Pennsylvania to attend to matters related to "unprecedented flooding" in large parts of the Northeastern and Central portions of the state.

CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

soundoff (767 Responses)
  1. Jeff Campbell

    These members are showing abject disrespect for the Office of the President of the United States, the Constitution, the institution of Conress, and the American People.
    What disgusting group of people.

    September 8, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. walter S. Adams

    If Obama could walk on water, the Republicans would accuse him of not knowing how to swim. If Obama created a cure for cancer, the Republicans would say he's out to destroy oncologists' jobs. I just hope enough voters finally realize that we're in this financial quagmire because Republicans refuse to do what's good for the country and only care about destroying Obama. And I also hope that Obama finally admits bipartisanship is impossible in this current political environment. Shoot for the fences, Obama, and call the Republicans out for what they really are: cowardly obstructionists hell bent on ruining the country so that they can blame our president for the mess they've created.

    September 8, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. cmdvimes

    Remember this behavior in November 2012 people. I won't vote necessarily vote straight "D" but under no circumstances will I vote with any politician with a "R" after their name, not at the Federal, State, County, or city level.

    September 8, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. conoclast

    Negatively commenting on a speech before even hearing it is so typical of the folks whose greatest fear is of intellect superior to their own. "I don't wanna be challenged; I don't wanna have to think. My mind is already made up so any additional information will only confuse me!" Aren't we proud that there are people like that in Washington!

    September 8, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. CNickles

    All of these comments sadden me deeply. I am disappointed not only in our government (both Democrats and Republicans) but in the American people. We all have turned our country into a pathetic reality show – pointing fingers at everyone except ourselves. It reminds me of kids saying "He did it, nu-uh, he did it", when in actuality we "all did it". America is beginning to look like a bunch of fools to other countries, and I am saddened to think we are appeariing to be fools in front of our own kids. How are our kids to grow up being responsible if our government and the adult American show no respect or common decency to one other. We may as well be put into a time slot on TV next to Jersey Shore. We ALL need to grow up.

    September 8, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. John

    Just Like the Republican won't even give the President a chance. This Is why nothing get done In Washington D.C., It because the Republican and the Tea Party won't do there JOBS and do what best for America. Instead of there Party First, They all need to go In 2012. They had there second Chance and they blow It.

    September 8, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Boo-Yah

    The republican party has denigrated itself into a bunchof whiny childish brats. I they can't have their way they will spoil it for everyone else. Their behavior is too much to stomach. Their party goal of setting up our President up to fail is hurting the AMERICAN PEOPLE! This must end. Enough of the childish games!! We are all one nation and we have a common goal for success, safty, and stability.

    September 8, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Dan Ballard

    "Direliction of duty" is what I call it. Or "desertion under fire." Or maybe, simply, "a tantrum." How about "revealing glimpse into their ugly souls?" If Democrats in Congress had showed half the disrespect of the office of the President to Bush that the Republicans habitually show to Obama, they would have been hauled off the Guantanamo as terrorist sympathizers.

    September 8, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Lamental Jester

    David Vitter is skipping the speech for a football game? I see his priorities are in order. Seriously, f*** that guy. The GOP have done nothing but put down Obama's job plan, AND THEY HAVEN"T EVEN HEARD IT YET! And to call it a campaign speech is a load of BS. GOP has put out no bills for jobs, instead, they've been holding up congress, screwing our economy so they can blame Obama for it. Luckily, none of the current GOP canadates for pres have a chance in he!! in defeating Obama in a general election.

    I do have to say (and I can't belive I'm saying this) but kudos to Boehner for not appoving of the ones that aren't showing up, although I wish he would be a little forceful of it

    September 8, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. harvey johnson

    Vote Republican and end SSN, Medicare, Medicad and Veterans Benefits, that way the wealthy can get more tax cuts and the Middle Class and poor can just eat cat food and die in their homes. The rich have worked hard for their money and tax loop holes are for them not the middle class, how dare the middle class think they should not have to pay all the taxes. The reason the bottom 47% don't pay federal income tax is because they don't make enough money you retarded republicans.

    September 8, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Dianne

    The Republicans are digging their graves. let them continue this behavior and maybe most of them will be in the unemployment lines. They are not listening to their constituents or they would be there.

    September 8, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Hammerer

    Why not stay home. All obama will do is insult their intelligence by speaking the same tired catch phrases that he has used in every speach since 2006. Then blame the repubs for his poor decisions.
    The guy does not have a clue!

    September 8, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. karen

    Unbelievable distrespectful to the Office of the President and to the People of the United States. Isn't it their job to listen to solutions and try to help craft a workable plan. I am disgusted and embarrassed by the irresponsible antics of these posers. They have not one" jot or a tittle" of leadershp potential among them.

    September 8, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. honest midwest

    I have never considered my self pro Democrat or Republican – I consider myself "pro-USA". I vote for the best person regardless of party. After all the past year of five year old behavior of the Republicans, it is more and more difficult to consider them concerned with anything other than ruining the Presidency, regardless the cost to the country. It is shameful. I truly hope that 2012 allows for the opportunity for those that are really concerned about moving our country forward, to do so. Obviously it isn't the Republican party, I am sad to say.

    September 8, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. JeanneLH

    Boehnner sits there with the biggest snear on his face, during these speeches...

    September 8, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. DAmnyank

    Republicans are now the party of pure evil.

    September 8, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. wes

    You think this is disrespect? Wait until he wins his second term, then you'll really see the red faces of apoplectic republicans. Bad behavior their kids will be sure copy, the way these elected children copied their red neck parents.

    September 8, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Jack

    I am embarrassed to ever been considered a conservative or a republican. The republican leadership should be pull up by the shorthair's

    Thier parent's apparently give them one too few spanking's!

    September 8, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. DThompson

    This totally makes me sick that adult men/women could disrespect their President like this. None of you wanted him to succeed and that is disgusting. You have done nothing but oppose anything he does and have openly spoke that you want him to fail. I hope all of you are replaced in 2012 as you are poor excuses to tend to the business of the United States and its PEOPLE who have voted you in...JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE !!!

    September 8, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. nowar

    this government is absolutely broken, i say we start voting them all out or impeaching them. walsh and demint continue to grandstand at the expense of the american people. to tell the truth, i am so sick of them all. they should be ashamed of themselves. all of them. murdoch, you have succeeded.

    September 8, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. emmet e.

    During the debate, it was mentioned that 250 people had recently been executed in Texas...and the Republican crowd cheered. There was no thought that one of the damned might have been innocent, that perhaps killing isn't always the answer. If God had the same sense of justice as these Republicans, He'd fry the world and order up another one. Where is mercy? Where is forgiveness? Those sort of Republicans have been whipped into a blood frenzy, happy to defend the unborn, but severely lacking in love for post-birth humans. As such, they find nothing wrong with demonizing any that disagree with them. I don't think Respect is part of their souls.

    September 8, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. CT Independent

    Rep. Broun is a disgrace, as is Rep. Walsh – one is an all-out liar that went so far on CNN this morning as to say that the Administration believes in "Central Planning" like the Soviet Union, and the latter is a dead-beat father that won't pay child support. Senators DeMint and Vitter are being truly disrespectful of the Office of the Presidency and undermine President Obama at every turn. Can you imagine the outcry from Republicans if some Democratic members of Congress chose to skip a speech given by President Bush or any other Republican president? Fox News would be giving them 24/7 coverage to question their patriotism. Disgraceful.

    September 8, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. telrider

    By doing all these, GOP will dig their grave deeper. I believe all of us have learned our lessons that what this party is really all about. I fear them to destroy this country more than any terrorist group.

    September 8, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Peggy Munro

    i think they are all enrolled in night school.

    September 8, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    GOP = American Taliban

    September 8, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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