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. Audrey F

    Quit already you fools! Talk about welfare bums, taking government checks and sitting at home to watch a football game.

    September 8, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. C/Maine

    Thinly veiled racism? maybe.

    September 8, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. LittleBearCB

    Childish.. These tit-for-tac tactics really show the maturity of our government. Regardless how they feel about the president, it does not make their actions 'right...'

    September 8, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. edyvan

    To rep. Joe Walsh: ever since you and the Tea party have been in congress most americans are tired of YOUR "big speeches" denouncing everything that is against this ideology of your's and this so call tea party. Every time I see you on TV you are "rabble rousing" about this and that.

    September 8, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Jules

    I will never never forget how hateful the GOP has been to President Obama..They are a bunch of idiots I hope the people of America opens their eyes and see them for what they really are........

    September 8, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. JOE

    I really don't mind the GOP and their Tea Party spreading their bigotry and hate and disrespecting the president as long as they continue with the same for who ever white president is going to take office in 2016. I just hope they continue to disrupt and divide America with their bigotry and racism untill we end up with another civil war. I'd sure like to know what it's like to disburse of a teabag clansman in the pits of Gettysburg one more because that's what those graycoat scumbags are, cowards and losers. God bless the Union and the Blue coats.

    September 8, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. BinFL

    These GOPers are just showing their true colors – very, very sad!! I will never understand those that support politicians that hate government...talk about an oxymoron. These are the same folks who are constantly screaming about their money being stolen and being taxed too much but they have no complaints about their money going to a bunch of freeloaders, namely the Repub Congress!! These are also the same people that preach personal responsibility but don't agree with everyone having to purchase health insurance – don't they realize that they are paying for those that don't have the insurance? When I was growing up it didn't matter what party the President belonged to, I was taught both in school and at home to respect that person as he was the leader of our great country. Our society is crumbling folks and if respect can't be shown to our President by his Congress then we are all destined to fail.

    September 8, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Mike in Fairfax

    Those of you who keep equating this to a corporate meeting and saying that Obama is their boss, are just plain dumb.

    September 8, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. LittleBearCB

    Childish.. These tic-for-tac tactics really show the maturity of our government. Regardless how they feel about the president, it does not make their actions 'right...'

    September 8, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. a little sad

    "Four and The Door

    If they miss today's Obama jobs speech, maybe they can catch next month's."

    Looking forward to changing your name to "Eight and the Door"?

    September 8, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Ferret out the B.S.

    The representatives should remember that their constituents are made up of Democrats, Independents, as well as Republicans, it's called America. The President is the leader of America because a majority of the voters put him there. We all don't agree with policy, ideology, and a host of other things butr at least have the respect of other political constituents than the ones that solely agree with their point of view. Apparently the representative don't read these blogs either.

    September 8, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. TexasGOPNOT

    Once again!!! GOP reveals the true content of their characters or lack there of!! Childish, Mean-Spirited, Ugly, Disrespectful, Poor example as leaders for our country, Not Roll Model Material....... need I go on!! if you can think of other Characteristics, pass them on!!

    September 8, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. California Conservative

    According to Obama he's been working on jobs since taking office, hasn't rested since. It's obvious where it's got us so far, NOWHERE. Time for REAL change.

    CBO has stated jobs won't get better til 2013. Obama's history.

    September 8, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    I actually feel sorry for John Boehner, having to explain the behavior of these wayward members. Broun and Walsh are the latest in a growing line of GOP miscreants, who feel personal dislike is an excuse for disrepect to an institution.

    September 8, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Victoria

    Real mature GOP! You have a job, and there are millions of Americans who don't. Your job is to care about our jobs and you don't even have the decency or respect to go to work today!! I can't believe you care about us. If you don't want to go to work, Give it up then. I am sure one of the millions of unemployed right now would be happy to take your place. We voted in Barack to put HIS ideas, not yours, into place, so go to work and let the guy do his job!

    September 8, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. thomas

    The disrespect from the republicans towards Obama is the same as GOP Rep. Joe Wilson yelling out "You lie!" to Obama during his health care speech in front of Congress arrogance , " Obstructionism " !

    It's sad to see so much disrespect to the President of our country.

    September 8, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. gert612

    This behaviour drives home that fact that the age threshholds to serve in Congress are chronological instead of a reflection of mental and emotional maturity. Can you be any more childish?

    September 8, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. Smalltowner

    It is disrespect too the highest office of our nation. I feel there is really a civil war still going on in this country.....a class warfare if anything.

    September 8, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Name king

    How much more deregulation and tax breaks for the rich do these repugs want. The regulations and taxes, which are the lowest in 60 year. lesson its not because corporations are struggling why they are not hiring, it's because corporation are branching out to take advantage of emerging markets and low labor. When bush did his tax cuts and deregulations, corporations left America for over seas markets in record numbers. So this crap these repugs are pushing is bogus. Corporations want money and anywhere demand is they'll sell their mama to get it. Too bad repugs thinks that corporations are in business to help America and not their share holders. Corporations will cut and consolidate as much as possible to cut cost and make more money. Not because they need money, but GREED, is way more powerful than what the repugs are trying to sell America.

    September 8, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Skyler

    If Gabrielle Giffords can be undeterred in slogging her way back to the House of Congress for the priviledge 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, jerk-offs can show up for a fucking speech.

    September 8, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Marry

    @Dcmisty,
    I do agree with most of what you say. However, “…and we owe all to the politicians in D.C.” is not correct. In a Democracy you get what you vote for! That is why it is so important to get informed and be interested in politics and to participate so “they” cannot deceive you – and then to go out and vote RESPONSEBLY!
    In other parts of the world people are shedding blood to finally get to a point where they get the chance to get heard. Too many here just take it for granted, and throw their vote away!
    (BTW, the voting system in the US is so slanted, so unfair, so badly organized, so manipulated, so money dependent – many say you get the best candidate money can buy – just think of “results” being published before EVERYONE – different time zones – had a chance to vote – media hype – outdated technology – etc. etc. So alone how the voting is organized, the US has become one of the most questionable Democracies in the world!)

    September 8, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Dissappointed by my Party

    Obviously these politicians do not care about the country. If they are too busy to make it to the Presidents speech, then their priorities are definitely in the toilet.

    I'm ashamed to be a republican. These people, whether they like this President or not, MUST respect the office he holds. They should not only be banished from their duties, but be charged with treason, neglect and fraud.

    ps: And I didn't, and wouldn't, vote for Obama. But he IS the President. Respect the office you dirtbags! When you don't, you are disrespecting EVERYTHING america stands for.

    September 8, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. DA

    I find people on this board who says the President has failed clueless. I mean you don't even know what he would like to present yet you are writing him and the speech off. Many of Americans would be really surprised, if they stop listening to the stupid teabangers and GOP to see what has really been done. This President has done a lot and if you do a little research you would find out just how much of it has helped keep this economy from becoming worst than what it is!! Also, it is time for the GOP to really stop with the childish games; the Speaker knows he should demand out of respect to the President that everyone in his party should attend this speech!!! Those who don't attend are just showing the American people they are not about jobs or helping the American economy. Like the GOP would say "It is Un-Patriotic and Un-American!!!"

    September 8, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. yes really

    I guess you are one of many who choose to use selective memory. I believe the Presidnet's speech DID NOT HAPPEN LAST NIGHT AFTER ALL! Maybe because he agreed to do it when Mr Boehner told him to? How is that disrespectful? I will tell you exactly what this is it is RACISM at it worst. No other president has ever been treated this poorly by the other party. What we have are a bunch of spoiled brats who don't want to play unless they get THEIR way and only their way. They do not know how to share or compromise. Bullying is not allowed in the schools and should not be allowed in our Congress.

    September 8, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Skyler

    If Gabrielle Giffords can be undeterred in slogging her way back to the House of Congress for the priviledge 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, jerk-offs can show up for a f–king speech.

    September 8, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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