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. I will wait

    Lindsey is about as unamerican as they come. His only concern has been for the corparate world, never the people of the nation. Personally I don't care what he says, because I know it will never be constructive, and always destructive. I await the day when this closet homosexual is revealed for what he is.

    December 30, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Steven

    Wow, Mr. Graham, coming from the Senator from South Carolina perhaps the smallest minded state in the Union. The reason he stood his ground because he knows that Social Security is not in trouble and Obamacare has yet to kick in to fix Medicare. Your are a joke, you've been on the wrong side of most every issue from the Iraq War to Gay Marriage. Hearing you talk is a joke, but I expect that from the Elephants in the Senate.

    December 30, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. lsgyrl

    Stop whining!

    December 30, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Kris

    The only way to keep us from becoming Greece is to cut spending AND raise taxes. Until Senator Graham understands this and accepts tax increases, nothing will stop us from becoming Greece, because you can sure bet Republicans won't heavily cut Defense, Medicare, or Social Security which accounts for over half our spending.

    December 30, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. RebelTexasDemocrat

    And this is at the heart of the matter. These political dolts on both sides of the aisle see this whole issue as a "win or lose" politically. They're all more worried about their political standing and political future than in doing what's right for the American people. It's time to fire everyone of these political schmucks in 2014 and get representatives that truly represent WE THE PEOPLE instead of representing themselves.

    December 30, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. jenaw

    This might mean something if the entire country didn't know that Lindsay Graham is little more than a loud mouth whose only true interest is getting as much face time on tv as is humanly possible. He is angling for his own Fox show when his state finally gets rid of him for being completely incompetent. For all the screaming being done by republicans to protect the extremely wealthy, one would think they represent 98% of the country rather the 2% they actually do. Graham, the country continually laughs at you.

    December 30, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. jan

    Does it really matter what this looser Lindsey Graham thinks?
    And can he explain after 8 years of Bush-republican policies why did the economy ended up being the worst since the great depression?
    Republicans have only one solution to every problem and their solution is "cut the taxes', particularly of the top 2%.
    There is no real association between economy doing well and taxcut to top 2%. This association is a make-belief made by republicans for their benefit.

    December 30, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Frank

    What an idiotic statement from Senator Graham, who knows better. Our country's economy is 3.5 times larger than the second largest in the world! Greece has fewer people than New York City! Our GDP is actually growing at a faster dollar amount in the last four years than China's. We will produce more oil than Saudi Arabia in 2013. What we need is more government revenue! It is the lowest as a % of GDP in 60 years and nothing at all "trickled down" to the middle class-in fact, it all trickled upward under lower taxes.

    December 30, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. nintex

    It is a darned shame that the government of this great country can be hijacked by a small band of representatives who are beholden to a bully named Grover Norquist, who will see to their non-reelection if they don't do his bidding, instead of to the people they were chosen to represent. Why and how do we let this happen? There has to be some serious house-cleaning (or House-cleaning) come the 2014 elections. Our country is better than this – we elect representatives; we don't need to listen to, and be afraid of, those who think they can buy elections or threaten those they disagree with.

    December 30, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. An Observer

    The President has compromised in several areas while the republicans refuse to compromise only on their own terms. And, as far as I can tell, Lindsey Graham has done absolutely nothing to advance the spirit of compromise. His actions against Ambassador Susan Rice show how little this little man (boy?) is!

    December 30, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. David Wallace

    Lindsey Graham is a sad, pathetic little man who assumes everyone thinks in the stupid, selfish, and hateful way that most of the GOP does: "winning" and "losing" and demagoguery. His ongoing, ludicrous assertions that we're on the verge of turning into another Greece is astonishingly duplicitous, and–frankly–ignorant. He, along with the rest of the GOP and their megaphone FOX news, are doing the country a huge disservice with their ongoing bluster and savagery. Grow up and/or shut up!

    December 30, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Don

    Blah Blah. Are all republicans robots. LOL. They say and do the same stupid things, no matter who wrong they are, bad they look or how bad they are for America (at least right now as a party). They need to get the Tea Party and special interest groups out of their party and run it for the people, not their egos or pocket books. As a GOP member, you come in poor and leave rich, and that's the bottom line. However, this will change and soon. The last Republican I voted for was Reagan.

    December 30, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. fekt

    Mr. Graham, bipartisan is not defined by democrats bowing to the demands of republicans. More importantly, your job is not to win or lose or keep score. This is not a sport. Your job is to work in the best interest of our country. You're not a quarterback and this is not the nfl. Learn what bipartisan means before you whine about others failing to act in such a manner. I've seen no effort from republicans to work with democrats in 12 years. It's been our way or the highway all the while trying to villify those across the aisle.

    December 30, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Laurie

    If these elected officials don't come to an agreement, then I think they simply can't do their jobs. All of them who are not willing to compromise and come to an agreement should be sent packing. If you can't do your job, then you should be fired, plain and simple.

    December 30, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    I guess ms linday is not used to,losing for the good of the country.
    The pot calling the kettle black much ms lindsay? Your tea trolls and repugz are the ones keeping the country blackmailed by not reading across the ainsley.
    The President and the Democrats are going to come out of this smelling like a rose. Youare the ones who stink to that heaven you keep along about just for your kind and the 2%.

    December 30, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. EDGY

    Sen. Graham, you have it slightly wrong. President Obama didn't win, the American people did. After 8 yeras of the rich getting richer, while the middle class scrambled for the crumbs dropped from thier table, we finally got somewhat of a victory. However, thanks to your parties efforts at gerrymandering we are essentially garenteed that this victory will be of little cosiquence to the big picture. We wiil still be taken advantage of in the future, just as it has been in the past. By the you have girls name....

    December 30, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Billy davis

    It's amazing how the Republicans fight tooth and nail for so few but would rather 98% of Americans to suffer to defend their benefactors. All of the GOP House and Senate members should be recalled...The Bush tax cuts should have expired years ago. It has not helped the economy one bit in the last 5 years.

    December 30, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Oh, whatever. Personally, I'm sick of the theatrics from Republicans. When is the last time they have done anything constructive for America?

    December 30, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I noticed everything where Graham said the President needed to compromise was on the Republican Party talking points, not on Republicans compromising in increasing income.

    December 30, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. NickScantic

    Makes me laugh. Every time someone accomplishes something it's hollow and negative. But everything they would do would be wholehearted and positive. Sureeeeee...... It's the pot calling the kettle black.

    December 30, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Facts don't Lie

    "WAAH! we don't want to give the president a win!!" "WAAAH! we can't give the GOP a win!"" Give me a freaking break. WORST CONGRESS IN HISTORY!

    December 30, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Roses

    I think Lindsey Graham is correct. No one wants to cut entitlement spending (the biggest driver of the deficit) so our deficit will continue to soar. Until we allow job creators to enhance our economy and grow our jobs market, expect America to be like Greece. The only reason we are not like Greece now is because our economy is much more larger, complex. The next time you whiners complain about the 1%, remember a strong majority of the top 1% are job creators and they enable most Americans with the means to put food on the table. Taxing them only hurts yourself in the long run.

    December 30, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. 703NOVA

    Warning to all the obstructionist Republicans...you will be running for reelection very soon and we will not forget!

    December 30, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Othello

    Gosh, so many Libs on here afraid that they'll take a hit if we go over "some imaginary cliff". LET"S ROLL!! I'm sick of these mindless STEPFORD WIVES in the democraptic party. It's MY way or I'll call you names!!

    December 30, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Jharris

    Republicans have no moral authority when it talks about controlling the deficit or national debt. Their past actions solidify this.

    December 30, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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