Graham on fiscal cliff: Obama wins 'hollow' political victory
December 30th, 2012
12:38 PM ET
5 years ago

Graham on fiscal cliff: Obama wins 'hollow' political victory

Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Sunday credited President Barack Obama with winning the "fiscal cliff" battle, but argued the final deal will likely do little to help the nation's deficit problem.

"The president will get a political victory, a trophy for the president politically, but it will not change our debt situation or reduce our deficit in any meaningful way," Graham told CNN. "It will be a political victory that is hollow in nature when it comes to preventing our country from becoming Greece."

The senator further criticized the president, blasting him for failing to take action "in a bipartisan manner" or "embrace big ideas like entitlement reform."

"He is really, quite frankly, small-minded in consequential times. I find him to be a hard guy to know and understand," he said.

His comments came after Graham declared on Fox News that the president has "won" the fiscal cliff negotiations, even though a final deal has yet to be announced.

"Hats off to the president - he won," Graham said.

"He stood his ground," the senator also said. "He's going to get tax rate increases, maybe not (for people making) $250,000, but on upper-income Americans."

With less than two days before the January 1 deadline to prevent major tax hikes and automatic spending cuts from taking effect, Senate leaders and senior staff are hunkering down on Capitol Hill to come up with a deficit-reduction plan that can pass both chambers.

Graham said if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can get a majority of Republicans to sign on to the final deal in the Democratic-controlled Senate, then the bill has a strong chance in the House.

"I think you will get a majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats in the House, if you can get 60% of the Republicans in the Senate," he said on Fox.

At issue is disagreement over extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Obama and Democrats say the tax cuts should expire on households making more than $250,000, while Republicans maintain the tax breaks should be continued for all Americans.

The Senate convenes at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, and the House could hold votes as early as 6:30 p.m. ET

Graham said he's in favor of getting a deal passed, though he may be holding his nose if that deal includes any sort of tax increases.

"I want to vote for it, even though I won't like it, because the country has got a lot at stake here," he said.

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Lindsey Graham • President Obama
soundoff (435 Responses)
  1. Smarterest Human

    WRONG attitude right winger! There is no win or lose in this discussion. It is about the American people! SEE! Rethugs see it as a game to win or lose! WRONG ATTITUDE!

    December 30, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Russ139

    Two things about Lindsay Graham: 1) He really likes to be on TV, and 2) he's really, really, strange. Graham has a rare sense of modesty for a Senator, and that's appealling about him. But for such a smart man to really think the U.S. can become Greece (population: 10 million) should make his supporters wonder a little about his state of mind.

    December 30, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  3. Heidi

    Folks, its not about winning or losing... it's about doing the best that can be done for the most of the people. Turning everything into a contest impedes thoughtful discussion and quite frankly I am sick and tired of it. If we the people were smarter we would vote out of office every single joker who thinks this way. Lets set term limits for congress, do away with their perks, pensions, and special health care program and then maybe they really would work for the people instead of themselves.

    December 30, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  4. Don Hill

    Fox news IS THE GOP VOICE. No one at fox news will ever make a single positive comment about any Democrat, and will never make a single negative comment about any Republican. That being the case, nothing they say can be believed. Then there are those who love to believe a lie. The GOP is very close to becoming extinct. No wonder, with Boehner as head master, and Graham as his sidekick, their credibility is lower than a snake's belly in a wagon track. This from a 76 year old Democrat.

    December 30, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. AnaHadWolves

    Spoken like the partisan political hack you are, Senator Graham. You speak in terms of whether the Republicans either "win or lose." You have it wrong, sir: by your party's brinksmanship and game-playing, the American people lose. That's why you vile Republicans are going down like the Titanic...straight to the bottom...and, not a minute too soon.

    December 30, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  6. watcher

    It really really hurts the GOP/teabaggers that the 98% of Americans will get something out of their stubbornness and black mail. That party is self destructing because they have ceased to work for the Nation and only care about the rich overlords and Grover Norquist.

    December 30, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  7. dave

    I wish we could just split the country.The L ibs can have the north,all others take the south. We will never get past this divisive president without a civil war anyway.

    December 30, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. AK_steve

    I am sure the GOP will be even harder to work with now. God forbid the President get anything he wants – even if it is for the good of the country. I am sure the GOP would rather see America fail (just like their leader Rush L said) then Obama win.

    December 30, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  9. Mike Spiteri

    Wow, just wow! This guys a US Sen. and he's just figuring this out now? I could've told them that back on the second Tuesday of November. Personally I hope we go over the cliff and get some meaningful stuff taking care of. This is in on the president this is on the whole political body and their lack of conviction and want of reelection. I know firsthand, I was an elected official for eight years in my town and it was no different there or at the state level. You don't need to be a genius to see they are dysfunctional at best at the federal level.

    December 30, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  10. ggirl

    the new threat... that we might become "Greece"... except we are two completely different countries, so no we won't... seriously will these people ever stop fear mongering?

    December 30, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  11. Mike Spiteri

    I meant to say this is NOT on the president. My bad for not proofreading my earlier post

    December 30, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  12. dnokc

    In other words "Obama Wins!"
    "America Loses!"

    December 30, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  13. Kenoscope

    Isn't it so wonderful how the party of NO claims that a win is actually a loss? Look people, you were hired to do a dob, run the country for the people. You were not hired to get rich, cater to special interests, run the country into the ground of become powerful. Your job is a temp job at best, if you don't want to do the work that you were hired to do get out and let someone else get to work.

    December 30, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  14. SillyWabbit

    Graham is such a loser. He's finallycoming to grips with the fact that the president is 10 steps ahead of him and the GOP when it comes to "strateegery". Not only did the president win on the fiscal cliff, but he also won on the "make him a one-term president" stuff too. That the foot soldiers of the GOP continue to follow the lead of people who have failed so miserably at their "number one goal" is telling of the GOP's makeup, I suppose. NEWS FLASH! This is the United States of America, Lindsey. Pull your head out, start supporting our president, and start doing YOUR job as a US Senator.

    December 30, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. J.V.Hodgson

    My Dear GOP members and tea party members the whole GOP especially the TP part signed up to the fiscal cliff believing Obama was a one term president and that the GOP would gain a senate majority. The gop was completely intransigent on the debt ceiling raise until, it got the bush tax cuts extended ( 2 years, note until after the election), then Obama and dems created the poison pill ( or fiscal cliff on defence and discretionary spending cuts) of the Budget Act.that whole legislation passed the House and Senate and created the super comiitee to find alternative spending cuts to the budget act... failed again.
    GOPer's will not agree my interpretation if GOP motives 18months ago... fine the bottom line is democrats gined seats in the senate not lost them ditto in the house and Obama won the electoral college big time, also any which way you like also a plurality of voters in the presidential area , House ( despite gerry mandering)and Senate.
    Senator Graham may I remind you that you and the president serve the people and QED if there is as you say awinner its the American people. You again demonstrate the GOP cares very little about we the people.

    December 30, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  16. Jt_flyer

    I'm not buying it for a second. Just reverse psychology, political posturing.

    December 30, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  17. kk

    M. Maybe s graham knows someone who can bail this country out of the collective debt we adopted when George w and Cheney were forced into office? Has anyone asked him what the 'long-term' plan was back in 2002?

    December 30, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  18. Mike

    Lindsey Graham and his party have failed the American people.

    December 30, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  19. Kevin

    You are ALL forgetting the most important fact right now. This fiscal cliff is not that important. What is VERY important is that both parties have now gotten an idea of who they are wanting to run for president in 2016! THIS IS URGENT ISSUE #1

    December 30, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  20. Andrew

    The Republicans have no interest in balancing the books at all. Who do they think they are kidding? Nothing would do more to balance the books then having the super-rich, oh pardon me, "Job Creators, Sir", pay the same tax rate as the middle-class.

    December 30, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  21. Phoenix44

    Oh yeah Graham? Well you're humungously wee-minded in anti-inconsequential times.

    Don't misunderestimate the power of a witty comeback, Graham-cracka. Baziing.

    December 30, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  22. Notorious

    Lindsey Graham, where was your concern for the deficit when you voted for two wars costing ithe country in excess of $3.7 trillion dollars?

    December 30, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  23. DuluthMN

    Obama wants a new day for America, a day with a weaker country, a moocher class to redistribute wealth to, and this country getting "cut down to size" like so many third world countries want. Obama is their man. Obama will do his best to see America has seen its best days already.

    December 30, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  24. norma jean

    Except for complaining Repubs have done NOTHING since Persident Obama took office....I mean nothing!!!!... You have said "NO" to everything he has proposed and can't even get your own people to agree to anything you come up with ...which is very little... If every thing was left up to you...we wouldn't be "over the cliff'....we would be at the bottom in a big heap of troubles.... !!!!

    December 30, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  25. Jim Hahn

    The real losers are the American people who will suffer with higher taxes on everyone and a potential recession looming, not to mention those poor souls whose unemployment is running out. All because the Republicans don't think that the wealthy should pay their fair share.

    December 30, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
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