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. Larry Johnson

    In the past I kept an open mind to the potential of bipartisan efforts on Congress...no longer! The GOP has become a party of obstructionists and donotherners! American voters now see who they support. Its a party of no new ideas, the same old leadership, and the sam, old mantra...cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes. The President cut taxes, now where are the jobs the Republicans touted. Where are all the jobs legislation you mentioned in the mid-term election? I for one will work tirelessly to keep the President in office. America just need some Congressional Republicans with enough "balls" to stand up and do what is good for the country and work with our elected President. My big question to the GOP is "where are your values?" You've become the most hateful, dfisrespectful, and mean spirited Congress in the last 50 years. What has changed? Oh, I get it! We have a Black President!

    September 8, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    When Dubbya was President, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney would have publicly denounced any member of the Democratic Party in the House or Senate who did not attend a Presidential address in front of a Joint Session as Unamerican and obstructionist. Even if they were at their Mother's deathbed or funeral. How times have changed.

    Now we have a Congressman who is applauded as a hero for yelling "You lie!" during the State of the Union Address. We have a former Governor who keeps saying "We know who the Real Americans are", implying our President is not. We have a Senate Minority Leader who says, "Our Agenda is to ensure that Barak Obama is a one-term President".

    Where is the civility? Where is the respect? Where is the courtesy?

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. DA

    @ReallY!!? you are so clueless...i can only SMH at you!!!

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Da Professor

    Even more right wing extremist anti-Obama crappola. These fools are apparently anti-jobs, anti-middle class, anti economic recovery, and anti-intelligence.

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. GOP hates Middle Class

    Party first.

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Julie

    So, I hope we see a list of those GOP members of Congress who don't show up. We will then know who cares about jobs and who has the good of Americans at heart and who is just playing politics as usual the GOP way. It really is quite sickening.

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. AntiFringe

    Call it an act of defiance, protest, or IMMATURITY.........

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. FM

    The gravely wounded Gabrielle Giffords understood the importance of jobs and debts are very burning issues, and managed to come. How come these senators and representatives who are physically fit can escape the important speech without any sounding reason!

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. TexasGOPNOT

    How many times we, as employees, disagreed with our Supervisor, yet when S/He called a meeting, we attended, and showd respect. Rather you agree with Mr. President or not, He is the Elected official in the office of Presidency. GOP behavior is beyond shameful!! The World is watching us and shaking their heads!! United States of America, what a JOKE!!

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Hap

    So rightys it's more deregulation, and less taxes. Let see we've lowered taxes over the last 15 years and we got a net loss of jobs, and a huge deficit, so in your mind that's a workable proposal, again. We deregulated banking and we had the worst banking catastrophy since the great depression, worse if you count the dollars. We lessened the restrictions on drilling and got the biggest spill in history. To quote a dolt "How's that deregulation, lower taxi thing working for ya, you betcha". This country was growing until, guess when, you betcha, this congress showed up. So take you bitter, racist, moronic tea pottyers, and go back to whatever level of hell you came from, traitors.

    September 8, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. rene

    We won't be showing up for the GOP scumbaggers either!

    September 8, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. yes really

    an another thing ReallY!!?
    WHAT IS YOUR PLAN? MAYBE WE CAN BORROW MILLIONS FROM CHINA AND SEND OUT A 300.00 REBATE CHECK TO EACH HOUSEHOLD. THAT WOULD GET THE ECONOMY GOING AGAIN–NOT!!!!!

    September 8, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Sevres Blue

    I love this. Are we surprised that members of the GOP won't even LISTEN to the President's ideas on new jobs? If Democrats did this they'd be labeled 'Un-Patriotic'. Well, if the shoe fits, Tea Potty members, wear it. You are the most un-American people around.

    September 8, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    So, the party on hell no who ran on JOBS, JOBS, JOBS and haven't done a darn thing about them is boycotting the President's speech before congress. Everybody take note of who these disrespectful teabbagers are and I hope they arare gone come the next election.
    You cannot continue to blame and "itch abiut eevery the President says, does or doesn't,t say or does, and not show up!
    What a bunch of traitors some of you have elected!!! it's embarrassing

    September 8, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Roger Ogilivy Thornhill

    Disrespectful, disgraceful, disingenuous. Dissing the President of the United States shows no class. I don't care who you think you are or who the President happens to be.

    September 8, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Steve in Denver

    @Really?: crawl out from under your faux news rock. Obama sought, and got, approval from boehner's office for Wednesday. After a day of limbaugh railing against it, boehner renieged. Funny how you all who can't get one fact straight accuse Obama of being unpresidential and classless.

    I know, you all operate in that FACT FREE zone.

    September 8, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. ccook

    Just disgusting!! Everybody offers there opinion but not one person has offered a solution. WORK TOGETHER OR GET OUT OF OFFICE!!

    September 8, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Les

    The repugs who won't show up for Obama's speech are cowards or worse.

    September 8, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. Julie

    So to deadbeat dad, Joe Walsh, the job situation is like a skinned knee. This guy may be the dumbest guy around.

    September 8, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Keith

    It's truly amazing how well the GOP CONSISTENTLY fails to listen to Americans. They get hammered by Americans for their childish actions failing to cooperate for the good of the nation during the debt debacle, and they're right back at it demonstrating even MORE childishness by pre-emptively signaling their intention to not cooperate for the good of the nation.

    September 8, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. RAYINNJ

    The real reason why these GOP clowns won't attend is because they have NO interest in solving the jobs crisis – their only goal is to defeat Obama. They won't attend because if he makes sense and devises concrete and workable solutions they'll look like fools in the audience NOT clapping or agreeing! They can't afford for Obama to succeed in creating jobs because that will certainly ensure his reelection! They are absolutely 'evil' as their plan is to ensure Americans continue to suffer until the 2012 election. If they can keep growth down, their chances of winning is enhanced. So un-American!

    September 8, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. volksmaniac

    It's amazing to me to read some of the comments here. There are people who will defend the current administration , even after the president broke almost all of the promises that he made during his entire presidential campaign . To me , these people would rather blindly follow the clown-in-chief , than admit that they were probably wrong in supporting him in the first place . Denial is a force to be reckoned with , and makes people behave in radical ways . They should instead be trying to get a different leader for their party , because this one is either inept , or is listening to inept advisors , and is falling down on the job . And he is in denial also . He is so sure that he is right , and everyone else is wrong , that he can't even admit when he has made a mistake . Amazing !!!!!!

    September 8, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Ryan

    How long will it take people and the media understand there is a major racisist undertone to these ignorant reps.....

    September 8, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Al

    America is becoming more divided everyday while our politicians piss and moan over everything, meaningful or otherwise. Perhaps America should revert to slavery, Obama could then be one of our countrys so-called leaders "BOYS", just like in the old days. I doubt if this country will ever get over its disgust for blacks and homosexuals. If America will never grow up, we are all going down the drain together, rich and poor alike.

    September 8, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Am alarmed that the politicians not respecting the leader of U.S. It shows other country’s communist or not Americans just not caring about working together, just being selfish. That is why US is on the track to become a 3rd world country. I will watch my life depends on what is being said……Go head Republicans show us how you do not care about the U.S.

    Richard from Pa.

    September 8, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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