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. Quixote

    Grqham is a tool. He thinks president Obama is like the gop...looking for cheap political points. He fails to understand that President Obamamis TRYING to do the job he was elected to do, unlike the republicons in congress who are playing games to score cheap hollow and useless partisan "victories"

    December 30, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Priorities, Lindsay Graham. Priorities.
    Political grandstanding isn't as well received in America as it was before the Crash of '07.
    Folks kinda got fooled in 2010 because you folks constantly talked job creation.
    This time around?
    With you as a pseudo Republican "leader",
    America has finally woken up. Y'all whine a lot. But, beyond that whine,
    America finally realized there is nothing
    but fast emptiness betwixt and between
    what a Republican says and
    what a Republican does.

    December 30, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. wishing us well

    What a great American Graham is- has just now realized that he lost two Presidential elections and that the American people will ream his party a new one if they continue to play the game of "I want my way". The RNC has done nothing to benefit this country for 4 years because of their hatred for this President. A pox on your useless party and on you Amigo.

    December 30, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Ann

    Republicans need to ACT NOW . Republicans are being self centered. Is it because President is Black,??? It is pathetic.

    Why don t you just make the deal. We can not lose our economic stage (weak) as it is.

    December 30, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. george muzea

    If only Obama had spent 20% of the time he spent on campaigning on providing congress with a budget, then the fiscal cliff would have been solved six months ago. Shame on the moderators who failed to ask one question on the fiscal cliff during the three debates. I have no problem with Obama wanting to spread the wealth but I do with his inability or desire to work on the entitlement problems. How can a budget ever be balanced if 50% of the expense can't be touched? The money he will be raised by taxing the rich is a drop in the bucket toward a balanced budget. That dog won't hunt. His failure to deal with entitlements will be his legacy, period.

    December 30, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Donald in CA

    I think lindsey graham is the last person this president needs advice from. Like his buddy john mccain he has been pushed to the extreme far right to get reelected in his own district.

    December 30, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. wishing us well

    Poor. poor Graham- his only concern is to do whatever he can to stop the President and the DNC from succeeding by all means necessary. That has been his contribution to the issues facing this country for the past 4 years.

    December 30, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Othello

    Gosh, so many Libs on here afraid that they'll take a hit if we go over "some imaginary cliff".
    ------------–

    Not at all. I'm fine with going over the cliff. I have been all along. Then again, I always thought Bush's tax cuts should never have happened in the first place. Chances are, we wouldn't be here on CNN today (nearly a decade later) still discussing those tax cuts and the damage those taxes did economically.

    But, hey. Think what you will. Not my problem.

    December 30, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Fedup1962

    The Obama administration doesn't care about the math problem the government has. We won't hit rock bottom during his last 4 years in office, but it is coming. People who were overwhelmed in debt lost their homes. The Government can't keep spending money they don't have. The Democrats are only concerned about not losing the White House in 2016. I have paid into Social Security for 32 years. I truly doubt I will see any of that benefit when, and if, I retire. In the end, our country and children are going to lose. The writing is on the wall people, wake up.

    December 30, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Hillcrester

    In the last year, Grahm has squandered all his bipartisan credibility by following McCain's path in becoming nothing but a partisan hack.

    December 30, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Wayne Young

    LG is such a whiner, just like McCain, who I cannot forget likes that "academic" Sarah Palin. LOL!

    December 30, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    I have paid into Social Security for 32 years. I truly doubt I will see any of that benefit when, and if, I retire. In the end, our country and children are going to lose. The writing is on the wall people, wake up.
    ----------------

    Enough of the freaking doom and gloom. It makes a person want to throw up from laughing so hard at such ridiculous comments.

    December 30, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. notogop

    Leading this dysfunctional Congress is like herding cats, it can't be done. Just look at Boehner, he cant even "herd" his own party.

    December 30, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. windrider2

    The fiscal cliff is a creation of Congress during the debt ceiling fiasco. Every man who helped draft that bill, and every man and woman who voted to pass it, created this "crisis"...knowing full well that no alternative solution would be negotiated until after the elections, if then. They kicked the can down the road and now there's no more road. One way or another, Republicans who oppose any kind of deal are increasing taxes by default and on everyone. And they should not be allowed to squirm out of responsibility for having done so...by doing nothing. Pontius Pilate washed his hands, too, but he was stained with blood nonetheless.

    December 30, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    And exactly what did the wealthiest Americans loose, let's talk about that before announcing whose the winner and loser.

    December 30, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. Dustin Goldsen

    We can't become Greece. The United States has a monetary system. Greece does not. They are part of the EU.

    The only way we could "become Greece" would be if we joined the EU. The fact that Graham does not understand this shows just how ignorant he really is.

    December 30, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. ted

    The GOP has become irrevelant att its own hand by abdicating responsibility for policy to the TEA Pottiers, Faux News, the NRA, Grover Norquist, rush Limbarf, Karl Rove, Sheldon Eldeson, Mitt Romney, Newter and the rest of the wackjobs. They do not give a darn about the 98% who keep the economy going. Sick of them and until they get rid of the aforementioned baggage, they might as well pack their bags and go home.

    December 30, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. shawbrooke

    The President gets what he wants at the expense of doing anything real. How sad.

    December 30, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. Vence

    That's the only thing he has said is right . Senator Graham: Obama 332 -What was the loser republican opponent name?- 206. "We the people..." Won.

    December 30, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. sgraffwriter

    "He is really, quite frankly, small-minded in consequential times." This from a man who started a heated battle with a very qualified and hard working woman up for the post of Secretary of State. And a man who put his own freedom to purchase a second semi-automatic weapon and high capacity magazines ahead of the practical desires of American parents who want sensible gun laws. Small-minded in consequential times: that will be the perfect description of republicans who choose not to vote, yet again, for a balanced fiscal plan ensuring that they get even less than what they want later in January.

    December 30, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. RealAmaerican

    "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.

    -------------------------------------–

    The sad part is that Lindsey and the GOP have no concept of what bipartisan means. To them, compromise means you do it our way.

    This nation deserves so much better than what the GOP offers.

    December 30, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. PtBarnumBoy

    Mr. Graham has been hanging out with his good buddy McCain too long. At this late stage of the game both parties have proven themselves to be failures.

    December 30, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain: All the GOP's policies are proven failures.

    Graham is too funny! President Obama has been more than willing to work with the GOP, putting significant and meaningful spending cuts on the table, asking only that the wealthy pay their fair share – something that not only do 67% of American millionaires and billionaires WANT to do, but what a majority of American voters asked for by electing President Obama in 2008 and 2012.

    There is NOTHING "hollow" about this. The only people lacking substance in this scenario are those Republicans and their supporters who cling to the failed idea of tax cuts creating jobs here and trickle-down economics works, all evidence to the contrary.

    Hollow are those Republicans and their supporters who have put their loyalty to a silly pledge written by a common citizen ahead of the Constitution and their constituents.

    Hollow are those Republicans who have done everything they can these last four years to make our president fail, regardless of the negative consequences to our nation and her people.

    Hollow are those Republicans and their supporters who refuse to recognize that the rich have been enjoying the lowest tax rates in 50 years and still complain about having to do their part to help the country that has given them so much.

    December 30, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. dakine01

    Isn't interesting how Graham can claim that any deal will be meaningless against the deficit when he also proclaimed that he would not vote for a deal if it did not include the Chained-CPI for Social Security – which has nothing at all to do with the deficit.

    The only people hurt be these deals are those who do not already have money to buy their senators and congressmen.

    December 30, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain: All the GOP's policies are proven failures.

    @Dustin Goldsen: "We can't become Greece. The United States has a monetary system. Greece does not. They are part of the EU."

    More significantly than that, Greece has a very limited economy, mostly tourism, agriculture (olives and such) and shipping registration.

    Our nation's economy is not only deep, it is varied, with world-reknowned universities and research, not to mention capital, at its disposal.

    Anyone who believes the Fox/Limbaugh/Hannity scare of "we'll become Greece" deserves to be lied to.

    December 30, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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