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. nickaholic23

    Maybe Joe Walsh could sit down with his wife and her attorney and work out a plan to pay his back child support. Also, he might take a defensive driving course and find out the obligations to maintain liability insurance as a licensed driver in his state.

    September 8, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. NoMoPalin

    Whne I read the responses the Noecons love to state how much hatred liberals have. This is a perfect example of the absolute hatred and diserespect the Neocons have toward this president. They act like a bunch of spoiled kids. Oh wait, they are. If they don't get their way, they're going to take their bat and ball and go home. I say good ridance.
    They also seem to forget that this economy tanked under a republican president who they gave everything he asked for. This president gets nothing but disdain and venom from people that liek to say they are proud Americans. They are nothing more than obstructionists.;

    September 8, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Pat in IL

    What immature babies. They should be ashamed, embarassed, and voted out!

    September 8, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. frank burnsf

    These Republicans are unpatriotic.

    September 8, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Chandra Naraine

    Good riddance to bad rubbage, I say. They don't belong in that historical building on any given day because these so-called politicians have failed to meet their obligations to their constituents. Fact is, it would be very appropriate if they would all leave and NEVER return!

    September 8, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Moose100

    Seriously, that is so disrespectful of the Ofiice of th President. Any President not just this one. I am convinced the GOP are destroying the country.

    September 8, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. John

    They should be reprimanded for not showing up and voted out asap. It does not matter if you agree with the president, like him or his policies. THIS IS YOUR JOB. You are disrepespecting the office, and the voters of this country.

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

    I would be surprised that ANY republican showed up. It is obvious to all Americans that they could care less about the unemployed and moreso to the point are adamant on even eliminating even more jobs. Outsourcing began in earnest under Bush and his rubber stamp House and Senate, so why should they give a hang about the American middle class or the prosperity of the country?

    September 8, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. rohan

    what other plans does Sen. Vitter have? is it with a hooker?

    September 8, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Louis in Wisc.

    This is setting a very bad pressident for the future if I don't like what soemone is saying I just won't show up. The congressmen and senators were elected and should represent all the people of their state not just the far side of their party. What do they get a special visit by Palin or Bachmann if they don't show up so they can bash our country more?

    September 8, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Jobs of Elected Government Officials

    It the THE JOB of Paul Broun, Joe Walsh, Jim DeMint and David Vitter to attend their president's speech tonight – just like members of Congress and the House of Representatives have been doing for many, many years.

    Just like everyone else that has a job to do.

    They don't understand their job? I'm not surprised at all.

    Hell, even Boener agrees with me.

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

    Wtf & who the hell gives a crap what the republicans & teaparty said. They are liars, haters, cheaters and differently destroying the middleclass and the poor. I refuse to vote for any republicans. They behaving like a spoiled brat.

    September 8, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. Nika/Texas

    What is even more ridiculous are the Americans that continue to support the GOP knowing that unless you are rich, you have absolutely no reason to want their agenda to pass. Die hard fools is what they are. You can take a horse to the water but you can't make him drink. If these same people could get past their stubborn allegiances and in most cases, bigotry, they'd find that what the President wants for the country is more beneficial for the majority than not. The Republican representatives are so out of touch with real America that they sound like Marie Antoinette when she was told "the people don't have any bread". Her infamous "let them eat cake" response just demonstrated that she had no clue about what was going on in the very country that she reigned over. Choose to hate Obama all you want to, in the end, and in the near future, all of the policies that he tried to get passed we will be begging for and unfortunately by then, the Republicans will have successfully closed social security, medicaid, public schools, public utilities, the postal service, and make all of these services for profit. When none of us have jobs and our children can no longer attend school because we can't afford the tuition then we shall see if these very same, die hard Republican/Tea party supporters will still yell socialism when they need clean water and it's owned by Haliburton.

    September 8, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. EatRunDive

    The Republicans couldn't care less about jobs, except their own.

    September 8, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. vic , nashville ,tn

    “Actions speak louder than words” true but not in this situation

    Millions of unemployed and under employment waiting for solution from both parties long time now clock is ticking they are losing their patient.

    When “Actions speak louder than words” become true when millions unemployed and underemployed vote out Five Republican members of Congress and two senators

    September 8, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. CAN'T STAND THE GOP, IN NC.

    He changed the day of the speech to accomodate these spoiled little brats. They still can't believe McCain lost!!! Get over it and DO YOUR JOB. Work for the people of this country and not the corporations. Pathetic party of NO. Perry, Mitt Newt Michelle. What a bunch of losers Obama 2012!!

    September 8, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. Joe

    Republicans are idiots!!! They deny any fault in how much this Country got screwed up under moron bush and coward cheney!!!

    September 8, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. USwatcher

    You're either for US...or against US...You know...US...as in United States...we...us.

    September 8, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. Adele McDaniel

    I hope no one misses the irony of Rep Broun's pronouncement that he will not attend a major speech by the President of the United States, a man elected with a considerable margin, because the president "doesn't listen."
    I find it a staggering comment.

    September 8, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. RAWoD

    To the Republicans currently holding office in DC: Shut up. Sit down. Do your fvcking jobs.

    September 8, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. wgf

    Emotional under acheivers....

    September 8, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. TomNPitt

    These Bums are getting paid 180M dollars a year and they're blowing off work!!!
    These are the people who want to drug screen the un-employed before we'll give them a check. I wish their constituents woud take election day off AND STAY HOME!!! The guy from New Orleans has a football party at his house . . .did he invite Obama to a party when he wrote a gazillion dollar check so he could put his city and state back together after two hurricanes and an oil spill?? Punks!! Just a bunch of Punks!!

    September 8, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Tom

    Whoever doesn't attend tonight should be recalled. Particularly Vitter, who apparently thinks football is more important than the immediate future of the country. It is disrespectful, and it reinforces that the Republicans don't have any intention of cooperating to address our problems. I am an Independent, and I find this disgraceful.

    September 8, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Don Gregory

    The Republican house members are showing their lack of respect for America period. They have NO desire to see an improvement in the jobs or economy situation between now and 2012. Their draconian ignoring of America's plight, when we're paying them to take care of it, bespeaks of the web of the wealthy that demands they screw the Americans to promote their narrow greedy self-interests.

    September 8, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Jilli

    Shame on them. If they don't respect the man they at least have the obligation as elected officials to respect the office of the president. It's pathetic so see republilcans acting like children. This says more (negatively) about those who choose not to attend than it says about the president. Relish your 12% approval ratings republicans, my guess is that will be the high for the year.

    September 8, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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