Graham on fiscal cliff: Obama wins 'hollow' political victory
December 30th, 2012
12:38 PM ET
1 year 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. Marion

    bptsj
    This is hard to say... I have always disliked Lindsey Graham and I am a Obama supporter but what he said in this interview is true. The problem Obama has is he doesn't know how to 'schmooze' which all great Presidents have been able to do to get what they want. He is still a better bet than Romney was though.

    That's what he meant by "change in Washington". He is not a schmoozer and I for one am glad of it.

    December 31, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  2. fernace

    All I wanted for Christmas was a fiscal cliff deal! Now, a belated "gift"& a wish for a Happy New Year would work, too! Please, Santa Congress, read my list again! 1)Let W's temporary taxes for the upper 2% expire already, as they were meant to do! 2) Listen to the Generals, who are willing to make a sacrifice for the nation, which they protect! They're saying the military needs No More $$, infact they can make do w/less & still streamline & upgrade! 3) Leave Medicare & SS for a later date! These benefits belong to the people who worked hard & payed for them! They are Not yours to bargain with! Any "renovation" to the programs should benefit the people, Not the politicians! President Obama will never say Yes to greedy elves who want to keep the presents that belong to good boys & girls, for themselves! He works for the People & Country!! Happy New Year, no matter what, y'all!!

    December 31, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  3. Willis

    Graham is right. But really they ALL stink. It's a sideshow. All one semi-bright individual needs to do is look at the fiscal hole we are in NOW, and then look at the proposed measures (the measures these puppets are arguing over) to fix this problem, and you can see how futile it all is. Real solutions from the government? People here still think that is on the horizon despite what we've been seeing? Lol. Enjoy the shackles. Only person to blame is yourself if you voted and/or re-elected any of this.

    December 31, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  4. misslissa75

    ""The president will get a political victory, a trophy for the president politically"

    ..and this mindset right here, ladies and gentlemen, is why its high time to clean house come 2014 on both sides of the aisle starting with the leadership of both camps. Its no longer about the good of the country for these irresponsible hoodlums in DC, its all about personal & political wins and losses. And then after all this needless drama and dissention, they will no doubt have the nerve to vote themselves a pay increase.

    Being held hostage by the whims of a few is not a democracy, its an aristocracy. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!

    December 31, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    This sequestration bill was the solution preferred by the Tea Party House during the debt ceiling debacle 18 months ago. Let us not forget the history. Since that time we have listened to one right wing extremist after the other make the same absolute argument that they will not raise taxes, not ever. They're hypocrites.

    The Republican Party must believe that the entire country is a gullible as their base. Listen to their fiscal arguments. The baseline premise is "no new taxes." The rationale is protecting the wealthiest Americans from paying any taxes.

    They harp and holler about the 47% who "pay no taxes". They argue that it is not fair for the burden to lay solely on the wealthy. But doesn't their argument mean they wish to raise taxes on that 47% demographic?

    Yesterday, I watched a leader of the Tea Party Express as she complained about major corporations who pay zero taxes. There's over a hundred that fall in that category. Does not that mean they wish to raise taxes on those corporations? So, why is it that they are simultaneously opposed to ending oil company subsidies? Does it have something to do with the corporations she named are the only Democratic donors in that "no taxes one hundred".

    Space does not allow me to sufficiently illustrate the transparent hypocrisies in the arguments made by the right wing. Suffice to say that more and more Americans are taking notice of them, if for no better reason that they are so transparent.

    December 31, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  6. jacksonian2012

    Graham is what is wrong with Washington. He needs to go along with all the other has-beens in the Senate. You'd think he'd go gracefully instead of pandering to the tea party fanatics.

    December 31, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. Steve Nadekow

    This shows one of the biggest problem with Washington. Too worried about who wins and loses. Too many of them (REP and Dem alike) are more woried about their re-election coming up thean they are about helping to solve the problem.

    December 31, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  8. max

    As an independent I find these comments entirely insulting. What a gaggle of sore losers, again.

    December 31, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  9. Sam Rowland

    Poor Lindsey. Any agreement by anyone anytime is political anathema to him. Some of these pols' think that the longer they string it out and the more "suspense" they create the greater the political payoff will be at the polls when they do throw something together and shove down your throat. Vote against incumbency and help save a nation and constitution that was founded by God fearing people.

    December 31, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  10. Siara

    It doesn't feel hollow to me. It feels like the end of Trickle Down economics, a false theory that has drained our middle class for decades.

    December 31, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  11. Sunil

    How do you expect to tax more the wealthiest when some of that additional tax could go to fund political campaigns? Doesn't anyone realize that GOP leaders have bills to pay too?

    December 31, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  12. v_mag

    Lindsey Graham, small-minded senator from one of the most backward states in the Union, said:
    "He is really, quite frankly, small-minded in consequential times. I find him to be a hard guy to know and understand,"
    ----
    Therein lies a clue to our predicament. A guy who defended and supported GWB, the most heinous president in our history, cannot understand a statesman like our current President. There are 3 reasons I can think of why Graham cannot understand the President:

    1. The color of the President's skin.
    2. The fact that Obama is a Democrat.
    3. Boneheaded stupidity on the part of Lindsey Graham.

    It gives me great pleasure to ask Sen. Graham the question his bunch of nitwits has asked me in the past: If you don't like it, why don't you just leave?

    December 31, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  13. scot

    So we are going to become Greece? Isnt there anything this bunch can say without resorting to hyberpole?

    December 31, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  14. Anonymous

    "fact that the BO only wants to raise taxes without any real consideration of that tells me that he would rather worry about sustaining to status quo versus preserving these programs and a strong US for future generations."

    The fact that you have no idea what you are talking about tells me that you either haven't been paying attention or you are simply here to trash Obama. So, lets go over the cliff and see how it works itself out in the long run. Indeed, this is exactly what Lindsey wants. To take us over the cliff. Otherwise, we wouldn't be this close to going over and no GOP leadership trying to steer us away from the cliff. God, you anti-Obama's are a foolish lot. Simply foolish. Enjoy the mandatory spending cuts. I suspect you'll be hit hard ... as hard as all those liberals you wish to harm. Great Karma.

    December 31, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  15. vicki

    They r all losers. They should all be ashamed to let this get as far as it has, should have already been settled. I wish we could fire them all, NOW! If I was younger and in better health and could afford the trip, I would b protesting on the steps in Washington. How bout u locals, get out there and protest this useless body of people!!!

    December 31, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. NClaw441

    Taxing the wealthy does not begin to reduce the deficit. There are not enough wealthy to make a real difference. Either taxes must go up for the great majority of Americans and/or spending has to be cut or at least frozen. No one, either Dem or GOP, is proposing real spending cuts or freezes, and they are all, including the President, cowards.

    And please stop talking about plans that have 10 year provisions during which the "real" spending cuts are to occur. We are NOW in the midst of the "out years" of who knows how many prior "plans."

    December 31, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  17. Poleski

    Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is from Seneca, SC. I live in Seneca. The next election he won't make it through the primaries. He's the definition of RINO.

    December 31, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. NClaw441

    Taxing the wealthy does not begin to reduce the deficit. There are not enough wealthy to make a real difference. Either taxes must go up for the great majority of Americans and/or spending has to be cut or at least frozen. No one, either Dem or GOP, is proposing real spending cuts or freezes, and they are all, including the President, lacking courage.

    And please stop talking about plans that have 10 year provisions during which the "real" spending cuts are to occur. We are NOW in the midst of the "out years" of who knows how many prior "plans."

    December 31, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  19. Anonymous

    So, Mr. Graham. When is the last time you or another member of you party has had to sit down and make the hard decisions? I've heard a lot of wailing ... but no real substance coming from the GOP. Not since, oh, I don't know, 20 years or so past.

    Who ever thought the Grand Old Party would turn into nothing but a bunch of teenage girls pouting their displeasure at the big bad world that won't take them seriously?

    December 31, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. Babyboomer

    What all this comes down to is, President Obama doesn't schmooze with the Senate and House of Reps. enough for their taste. But here's the deal. There isn't enough schmoozing in the world he could do that would satisfy these "Anger old white men". so I'm sure he figures, why bother. He tried to work with them during his first 4 years and they spent all their time trying to block everything. So now, again, why bother. Let the tax cuts expire. I am willing to take the hit if it means we can get rid of the "Bush Error" (yes error.) tax cuts. Mr. President, please keep moving us forward.

    December 31, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  21. Yeah Right

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

    Really Lindsay, that whole "taxes going up on those making over 250k snuck up on you huh?" wow unbelievable

    December 31, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. Anonymous

    "So we are going to become Greece? Isnt there anything this bunch can say without resorting to hyberpole?"

    Right from the Sean Hannity 101 playbook of FOX News deceit. You'd think Lindsay would be above Hannity in critical thinking poweress. Apparently not.

    December 31, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. karstenholland

    Lindsay Grahm – calling Obama a 'winner' is just another way of admitting you're a loser... but we already knew. So, NOW you are a WHINEY LOSER!

    December 31, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. Pete

    Take SocialSecurity,Medicare and unemployement off the table ,they're not in the bargain unless these republicans all want to be unemployed by midterms ..Reagan ,Nixon raided SocialSecurity back in the "80s to balance their budgets and they should have been impeached for it because its criminal intent with those thiefts plain and simple ..Remember voters you didn't get IOUs from them stealing your retiement either ,I didn't!!!

    December 31, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. D.C.

    The biggest problem I see is that todays politics have become more about the the party rather than the people that they represent.It's more like a contest to them.Mean while the people of the us suffer the lost.But we are to blame we elected them.maybe all should take a lesson from this.It's time to clean up our politicans and put new blood in that will represent us rather than just the party.who cares about who did what as long as it's fair to us citizens and tax payers of this great nation.l

    December 31, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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