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. payck2payck

    When republicans say "the President doesn't listen", it sounds like my four year old telling me that he wants a lolli-pop for dinner and the I'm not listening to him. The President hears it loud and clear, he's not deaf, or at least they haven't totally accused him of being a deaf Keynan yet. The President has to siphon a ton of BS every day, and if he's carving out the republican BS, then I'm OK with that. Why don't republicans think they will be held accountable for their inaction? Tax breaks are not job creators, so what has this party done for us lately? Nadda.

    September 8, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. stephanie brent

    I am outraged by the comments and out right disrespect of the republican party toward the presidents's speech on job creation. This is unprecedented. At a time when you should show just how concerned you are about your republican constituents who are out of work just as democratic constituents are, you're more concerned with demeaning the president and watching a football game. Once again the repulbican party is putting its political agenda ahead of the needs of the American people. America needs to see reassurance from it's leaders not division. it's a scary time out here and the republican's temper tantrums are way out of line at this time. The republican party has shown its true colors and they are not red, white and blue.

    September 8, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Tom Legare

    They should all be fired. This is what they get paid to do. Which one of them has put forth a real jobs plan?? Don't answer that because the answer is none of them.

    Treasoneous bastards!

    September 8, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. John

    Tax cuts have proven time and again that the rich and businesses don't create jobs with them. They keep the money for themselves and to hell with America! DUH!!!! This is why the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Grab a clue people!!! If tax cuts created jobs, we would have zero unemployment. Guess what? We don't. Go figure!!!

    September 8, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. ethandy

    If Gabrielle Giffords can be undeterred in slogging her way back to the Capitol Building for the privilege of being present for duty 8 months after getting her brain slammed by a right-wing extremist's hollow point, then these self-serving, reptilian-brained, losers can show up for an f-ing speech.

    September 8, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. John

    GOP = reTHUGlicans or taliban. Your choice!

    September 8, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. rs

    After last nights GOP/TP "Lie-a-thon", I am not surprised their response to the President postponing his (Boehner approved) speech date is to say "we're not listening, la-la-la".
    The scariest part is this means they really believe the nonsense they spout. It isn't just for effect, or for rhetorical flourish. They actually believe what they say. HEAR THAT!

    It ought to scare the rest of us half to death! Don't vote Republican- You are voting against yourself!

    September 8, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Michael in Houston

    ya...we got it!! You GOP folks hate the President. Got it.

    September 8, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Cosmo

    DeMint is a disgrace. He has only motivation and that is to further the power and wealth of Jim DeMint. He is a poor reflection on the people of South Carolina who have elected him.

    September 8, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. CCMars

    @Ed Zumar – Trust me, I think everyone would if we could at the moment. But you're right, we need to encourage people to VOTE!

    Everyone, even if you think your vote doesn't count, even if you're a busy person, DO IT! Even a quiet voice is better than staying silent and letting the world go to hell.

    And while I'm at it – sorry, but this has been bothering me lately – VOTE HONESTLY! Seriously, voting for someone you really don't agree with (I'm not talking "better of two evils" here) just to "punish your party" or whatever is not only childish and stupid, but it can also be very destructive to EVERYONE, not just "your side."

    [/soapbox]

    September 8, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Ruth

    I cannot stand the GOPers republicans and their leaders. They are cunning like foxes and racist. They cannot bear to see a Black AMerican ruling them. Every proposal he proposes they oppose. They have been correctly labled as the PARTY OF NO. We have seen how many jobs were created during bush's time. Who is to say that these very GOpers and Republican are not telling the corporations to lay people off and not to hire as they want all the american people to be jobless so that they get fed up and get angry with OBAMA. They are such fools. they think the people are blind and deaf and cannot see the the culprits for no jobs. They dont want regulations so that they can screw the people and get rich.
    POOR SOULS. I will vote for Obama again and if there was a thrd term i would have voted for him again. He has integrity and intelligence.

    But these REpubs/GOPers just want to see his WATERLOO as they have said again and again. So they just use any reason to go against him even if it means lies.

    The yesterday's Debate will tell you what clowns to expect if anyone of them wins, which i am sure will never happen as the american people are not blind, deaf or duumb. Every one knows what the republicans are up to. They know they will never win by playing fair so they created the tea party express to run Obama down. I can go on and on I am so frusted with these politician as they are not interested in us but just in themselves.

    September 8, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Carol

    It doesn't matter how tired the Republican Congressmen are of listening to President Obam's speeches. The American people who are voting in this country aren't. We're tired of their arrogance and disrespect and purposefully chosen attitude of not listening to anything our President has to say. He has given them every chance to become bipartisan with him and instead they make up new disparaging forwards and their cronies pass them on. Disgusting.

    September 8, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Bill

    Boycott? The Republican majority in the House was elected to produced JOBS! All they have done is protect tax hikes back to the early 1990's era when there was NO DEFICIT and to make drastic cuts in everything the least bit progressive in our federal budget which has cause more job losses. When will voters wake up? Now, there is a growing puss ball in the GOP, and he is Bush reincarnated – yet 7 fold worse. Rick Perry!!! OMG, if he gets elected the US is doomed, doomed, doomed.

    September 8, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Damian

    Republicans in Congress should be ashamed of themselves......they act like spoiled little rotten good for nothing brats! They are disrespectful and absolutely disgust me.

    September 8, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Major

    If Gabrielle Giffords can be undeterred in slogging her way back to the Capitol Building for the privilege of being present for duty 8 months after getting her brain slammed by a right-wing extremist's hollow point, then these self-serving, reptilian-brained losers can show up for an effin speech.

    September 8, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Major

    If Rep. Giffords can be undeterred in slogging her way back to the Capitol Building for the privilege of being present for duty 8 months after getting her brain slammed by a right-wing extremist's hollow point, then these self-serving, reptilian-brained losers can show up for an effin speech.

    September 8, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Lando

    These Republiban boycotters had mad cow syndrom in their brains. They ought to be to be eutanized next election.
    God please get help us exterminate their colony...

    September 8, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Tim

    If I remeber correctly the Dem. could not get it done when they controlled things either. Work together stop playing politics. I am going to be more then happy to vote anyone in office come Nov. if they cant get the job done.

    September 8, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Ruth

    havent they heard enough from the townhall meetings. havent they seen their people frustrated with them and yet they come back and do the same old thing.

    They are heartless and rude GOPers / Republicans. These species were a mistake of GOD

    September 8, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Jason

    Repeatedly dissing the President of the United States, will not make the GOP appear respectable around election time. It makes them look like buffoons who refuse to work well with others, or simply do their jobs. Lame.

    September 8, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Moe Green

    I don't care what your views are... When the commander in chief comes to congress to speak all members should be required to attend. They many not like what he has to say but without the common descency to show up... Pitiful.

    Are they taking the day "without pay" I doubt it.

    Republican or Democrat... Assholes are Assholes.

    September 8, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. harold

    The moment Obama is out of office, the GOP will be saying lets all work together and be civil. They don't have to respect Obama which they wont ever do, but given they are elected members of congress they should respect the Office and the position he holds. Not attending the State of Union? Give me a freaking break

    September 8, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. olepi

    I wonder what economic sabotage the Republicans will pull next; maybe defund emergency response during the hurricane/fires? shut down the FAA again? cause another credit rating downgrade? Of course the GOP will actively work against anything that might really improve things, because they are counting on sinking President Obama along with the country.

    September 8, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. ethandy

    If Gabrielle Giffords can be undeterred in slogging her way back to the Capitol Building for the privilege of being present for duty 8 months after getting her brain slammed by a right-wing extremist's rage, then these self-serving, reptilian-brained, losers can show up for a speech.

    September 8, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. Strelnikov

    Ideology, party, and corporate interests over their country. It's the Republican way.

    September 8, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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