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. OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

    Hey Lindsey, That's what america has become accustomed too from your party....such positive, uplifting rhetoric. You are the party of lost faith who has turned its back on possibilities.

    December 31, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  2. GrnBrtMdc2

    Really Mr Graham?
    So the people making OVER 250K per year can't afford more taxes?? REALLY?? When a multimillionaire (Like Mitt Romney) pays a much lower percentage rate than me (28% range), REALLY? Why shouldn't he pay the same rate? The Rich seeking favors from Politicians, os nothing new, actually quite ancient history. That's how they stay RICH, that and cheating, like on Wall Street.

    December 31, 2012 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  3. wastewater1

    Barry Obama, the half wit, half white man who duoped nearly all and who has left Black America reeling under 40% unemployment and a nation so weakened...Bravo! No, germany will again take over and again, War looms ahead and a weakened America as these anti-colonialists, anti-Christian, "Zionist haters" – Barry Obama his wife , Hussein Obama, Bill Ayers, said Ungor, Soros and more and now, the rest of teh story...calamity to befall the gradiose winners, !!!! Adios America –

    December 31, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  4. rvastag

    Agreed. Whatever deal the President gets will have almost no meaningful impact on the ongoing budget deficits. It's one big joke (on the american people).

    December 31, 2012 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  5. Rob

    Obama has failed at everthing that is financicial and it won't change. If Obama approves it, the our situation is about to get even worse. America is in deep do do and Obama and then Dems will spend us to death

    December 31, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  6. Teabags falling off cliffs

    Lindsey, wake up.

    We all lost, including Obama.
    Republicans were shown for what they are, short on ideas and flexibility.

    December 31, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |

    Wow. The tea potty have turned this wimp into a door mat. He's waving the white flag. So fitting of the unhinged GOBP.

    December 31, 2012 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  8. Duhhhhh

    Graham is the same guy who said the economy was good as it collapsed 4+ years ago. And he is still a leader of the out of touch party.

    December 31, 2012 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  9. Patriot

    You can blame Obama all you want but, honestly ask yourself this "how did we get into this mess"? Nobody talks about Reagan and his trickle down economic policies which started the multi trillion dollar deficits. Nor does anyone talk about G. W. Bush’s three tax cuts while we were fighting two unfunded wars that were off budget funding to seem like his deficits were not that bad.. Nor does anyone mention Bush's Medicare Prescription Drug Bill that was only going to cost 300 billion but turn out to be a trillion. Nor does anyone talk about the runaway spending the Republican did when they controlled congress during G.W. Bush's term. Republicans are only conservatives when there is a Democrat in the White House. Remember during Clinton’s term we were supposed to have zero debt by 2011? On G. W. Bush’s watch we nearly went into another great depression, it cost us another 1.8 trillion to put that crisis to a stop. The Republicans raided the U.S. Treasury during G.W. Bush’s term and they would love for the working middleclass to pay for their indulgence by cutting Social Security and Medicare. We will have to cut but, it would have been far less painfull if the Republicans were not so reckless. So, how did we get into this mess?

    December 31, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  10. Bahska

    Can we take away Entitlements such as keeping banks afloat with billions of dollars we give them each year?

    December 31, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  11. The Truth Hurts!

    No, Ms. Graham, it's not a victory for President Obama, it's a FAILURE of Repuglicans.

    December 31, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  12. bigdoglv

    I guess "who won" is all that really matters to these clowns. They are all just a bunch of cheerleading losers, like most of their followers.

    December 31, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  13. daniel

    If you republicans had listened to the President and worked with him victory would have been yours too. Right now you would not have to look for the biggest stone to hid from the public. Grahams statment shows that he had been working hard to deprive the American people and the President victory. It is sad day for American to see dysfunctional republican. Happy new Year!

    December 31, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  14. tina

    I have to say, that as a whole our government is awful,,We the people elected you or so that's what they tell us, but sitting here in my living room, reading the childish remarks and behavior that our government has showed us not only in the last few months, but the last few years, makes me sad. Instead of worrying about those who have everything and don't really have to worry about putting food on the table, how to pay for the needed gas to take them to that little paying job,,,etc.. Why don't our government put that energy into figuring out how to keep our jobs here in America, stop letting companies benefit from leaving our country. People today can't even live paycheck to paycheck...not since everything as gone up and paychecks have been cut, there are those of us that work and our jobs may be below standards to those in our government, but our jobs keep this country moving, without us wanting to do these jobs, our country would be no more,,,I could make more on welfare and all its benefits, then I do now, there are people in my community that live better then teachers, store clerks, nurses, ect,,, because they get more from the government programs then we earn,
    doesn't make sense,,my point is,, with gas and food continuing to rise, as well as electric and heating, We who hold jobs do not get an increase in pay, nor do we get any outside help in paying our bills. We the people would like to see our government but a cap on the gas price, the heating and electric...then food would come down and stop all these strict EPA laws,, the EPA and our Government are going to destroy this country. It may go no where, but if you are in a government office, then you should not be allowed to be invested an anything that reflects on the oil, gas,and electric company,,,also everyone in the house and senate should only be allowed to serve in our government for two terms. the President only gets two terms, so should they...maybe then we might actual see a change,,,but they all would have be on the same cycle, no old with the new, there is way to much bullying and childish behavior in our government to mix the newcomers with the old. Young kids ask, why do we keep voting for the same ones then,, because most of us vote on the name not the person, we vote on the name we have heard for years, and not on what that person has actual done.

    December 31, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  15. SueW

    That is what is wrong with Congress. This guys whole attitude is that our economy is a game. Sen. Graham, it isn't a game between you and the president to see "who won" it is about the country. TIme to stand up and act on what is best for all of us, not your political party and its future. Maybe if you actually did the RIGHT thing people may vote for you.

    December 31, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  16. Laura

    @Dustin- all economists say we can become Greece. You know more about it than they do? You are living an Obama pipe dream.

    December 31, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  17. cindy

    So tired of looking at theses smug,arrogant,ignorant republicans. Even worse when they open thier greedy mouths to tell more lies!!! Sooo disgusting!

    December 31, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  18. Stickyhumid

    So, the "cliff" happens with no deal? Give me a break.
    when a nation spends trillions (that it doesnt have) and thinks that a 5% cut in spending is a "cliff"???
    We are doomed.
    We have tried the democrats and republicans. Had enough?
    Vote this point, it might be too late though

    December 31, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  19. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Republican Sen. John McCain can now travel back to the Mid East, as they frequently do, and report to their Al Queda handlers "Mission Accomplished"! Remember that the goal of Al Queda, as expressed by Osama Bin Laden, is destroy America financially. Both of them have worked tirelessly toward that goal.

    December 31, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  20. JD

    My kids cry, kick and scream when they don't get what they want either! Sometimes they get what they asked for and then cry about that also! An age old saying," Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut and thought a fool then to open it and prove it." Tea party politicians should have learned this, some how it didn't get taught to them. Probably because of the cut in education benefits they always ask for.

    December 31, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  21. Larry

    He says what he needs to say to the republican base – a base controlled by the rich and inflated in numbers by the ignorant of America. So pathetic is cries out for help.

    December 31, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  22. regan flint

    The Republicans lost the Pres. election and are finding out that they can't easily push "ROMNEY'S" policies through the back door. They have tried to damage Obama Care as part of their so called "compromise" by putting that on the table. They listen to a non-elected loser named GROVER who hates , OBAMA. Some people just can't admit that they have lost and / or that they are very wrong. If the Party of NO wants to keep committing political suicide then all the power to them. On almost ever issue from Gay marriage to gun control to the Iraq War to women's issues to immigration , ect... these so called neo cons are on the WRONG side of history.

    December 31, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  23. Red Dog

    On many issues of importance to the American people, the President has shown a willingness to "compromise". A word that does not exist in GOP language.

    December 31, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  24. Tony in Maine

    Lindsey Graham served tea to his consituents after kissing their – er feet.

    December 31, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  25. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Republicans, excuse me I mean elected republican officials, please stop pretending everything is win or loss. We (democrats and republicans) did not vote you into office to do what’s best for your party we put you there to do what’s best for the majority of the people of the United States of America. Once your voted into office your supposes to represent those who voted for you and those who voted against you. You are all too old for me to write this but grow up.

    December 31, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
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