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. California Conservative

    The Real Tom Paine – I won't insult your (so called) intelligence to much so I'll just say the ObamaCare bribes.

    I'm sure a lefty like yourself can figure it out from there. Right?

    September 8, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Jay

    Lets fix the economy once and for all, I say lets VOTE THEM ALL OUT of office ONCE AND FOR ALL state by state, lets show up and VOTE, time for a wakeup call. Lets put our tax dollars to work and elect a working party not a crying party

    September 8, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Bryan

    I'm sorry – Agree with him or don't.

    When your boss schedules a meeting – You go.

    End of story. You don't schedule your own "town hall meeting" via Twitter to discuss the meeting you are missing.

    Disgusting.

    September 8, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    I guess Sen. Vitter has some hookers to solicit and Sen. Deminted has some neuces to tie up. Republican scum!!!

    September 8, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Sam

    "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!"

    I know. How DARE they ask you to come into work on a Thursday rather than going home and getting paid to watch a football game. The nerve!

    September 8, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Katy

    All of us must protest the actions of the GOP at the voting booth(s). That is where we speak the loudest. The GOP has done nothing but criticize everything Obama has done. They can barely give him credit for bin Laden. If it had been GWB who got bin Laden there would have been ticker tape parades galore. They want to decimate the middle class. Remember the debt ceiling debacle?

    September 8, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Sue

    I think they're ALL IDIOTS!

    September 8, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Barbara Fenton

    Why can't these guys get along. The country is going down the tubes and they are playing games that are down right disrespectful. Can you imagine local govenment officials refusing to attend important gatherings. Out the door they would go. Whoever your party affiliate in Washington is if they are not doing their job for you and just styling and profiling for their party you had better start studing who's running in your area. Vote the bums out.....

    September 8, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Katy

    Our power is at the voting booth. The GOP has nothing to offer the middle class.

    September 8, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Robita

    The idiot GOP tea bags are doing this because they do not care about the country, rather they need to appeal the their base. Who is their base? Bigots and billionares. They find it easy to do this because the president is half African American. If you don't think that's the reason, you are fooling yourself. I don't care what the tea bags do, they are just holding on to what scraps remain of White dominated culture. It's over, White is over, it's a new world... you will loose.

    September 8, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. vjhxxx

    I believe I speak for the President in this respect - F@CK YOU and those you represent. Go home FOREVER U Piece of Sh#t. Your disrespect for the Office is UNPRECEDENTED. You have crossed the Rubicon and may your coward A$$ die a thousands deaths. U Tea Party assholes lets get ready to RUMBLE!

    September 8, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. SonnyRey

    Tea Party supporters: take down your racist wall!

    September 8, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Martino- TORONTO cANADA

    Are you kidding me?..A rookie like Joe Walsh acting like he's an old pro? You Americans need to turf these arrogant, lazy bums out.

    September 8, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. JJ

    Who cares which useless repukes and teagaggers sit out the speech? No one. :)

    September 8, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. CBREEZE

    Broun said: "This president does not listen. This is just another campaign speech.”

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

    Sen. Jim DeMint said: “that he will read the text because "it's going to be hard" for the tea party leader to watch.”

    Sen. David Vitter said: "Apparently my attending my own Saints game party at home in Louisiana is the latest casualty of Washington partisanship.” "This HAS gotten out of hand!"

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

    And there you have it people! No RESPECT FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.
    NO RESPECT FOR THE CITIZENS OF THE U.S.
    Ball games are more important to the Republicans. Proof that the Republicans don't LISTEN, OR WATCH. And the only ones we have seen campaigning are the Republicans! Defiant, miserable pieces of trash, not fit to be called human, no manners, no respect, uncaring and most of all LOSERS!!

    September 8, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. BORNINTHEUSA

    How disrespectful can you be??? Mr. Boehner, most americans have sense enough to record a football game and will probably be glued to their tv to view our RESPECTED LEADER.

    September 8, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    My grin spreads wider every time they attack and belittle each other. People on the street tell me that they have no hope at all in either party. Several have told me that they feel it is time for some kind of drastic action, they just don't know what.
    It is begining to look like I will live to see it.
    .
    Anarchy in Amerika

    September 8, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Bayousara

    My Gad! How childish! To sit out a president's speech is not only rude, but worse than childish! The people from their states should toss their arses out of office!

    September 8, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    @ California Conservative

    The Real Tom Paine – I won't insult your (so called) intelligence to much so I'll just say the ObamaCare bribes.

    I'm sure a lefty like yourself can figure it out from there. Right?
    ______________________

    Give examples of them, their effects on the process in Washington, etc, as well as their economic impact. Be precise, if you can. I'm tired of the usual talking points, and would appreciate some information that comes from somewhere other than selected bits culled by GOP operatives. BTW, I kept this civil: is it too much of stretch for you to demonstrate the same? I don't insult your intelligence on here. Its a simple enough request: are you willing to rise to challenge, or take the easy way out?

    September 8, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. TJ

    2012 Vote all those ass holes out of office.......gone 2012 GOP..PEOPLE VOTE THEM OUT

    September 8, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. jamesnyc

    There should be recalls on every one of these miscreants. Vitter should not even be in office. Oh yeah, let Texas burn to the ground if they like Perry so much.

    September 8, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. CCMars

    I'm willing to bet at least some of these same people would have hollered if democrats treated Bush the same way. I'm willing to bet some of them did.

    @Larry: "I am not sure why the news media does not just come out and say to these Republicans, that hey are disrespecting the president of the US..."

    Sensationalism, plain and simple. It doesn't help most of the people that run these news media happen to agree with the ones sitting out.

    September 8, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    @ TEA PARTY Mike

    One question: How many GOP governors used the stim money to balance their budgets and add people to state payrolls to offset their own failed efforts to create jobs? How many of those states did that because they lack an income tax and could not ask peopel to continiue to pay higher local and sales taxes?

    September 8, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Irisrose

    This is from that sorry David Vitter's website:

    "Some of my left-wing critics call me a fanatic. Well, they're certainly right that I'm a fan. And I set my priorities that way. I sent out the following comment on social media today: "Will listen to President's speech carefully . . . from my priority area for job creation, Who Dat nation. Family and friends coming over for big game. On to recovery–and super bowl!" See you at the Super Bowl, Mr. President!

    September 8, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. CAL USA

    Despite what so many endlessly repeat, most responsible economists and the CBO credit the Stimulus and the auto industry rescue with creating or preserving millions of jobs. Many GOP politicians, including Bobby Jindal, Eric Cantor, John Boehner and Rick Perry asked for and received funds and then took credit for the benefits. Of course, those were all union jobs and government workers (teachers, cops, firefighters) whose jobs were saved and those don't count. That's an idea. We would certainly improve the unemployment figures if we didin't count union and government workers as unemployed. I bet the unemployment number would come down two or three points...

    September 8, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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