Graham on fiscal cliff: Obama wins 'hollow' political victory
December 30th, 2012
12:38 PM ET
10 months 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. commonsense

    Nice comment!! That's what's wrong with these people. It's not about who wins or loses, it should be about what is right for the country. Vote all incumbents out and start over.

    December 30, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Kevin

    The Dems are throwing some pretty basic bills out there without even thinking of trying to look at better ideas for them. Fiscal Cliff, ahhh, just throw a basic tax bill out there, that 85 million will go a long way. Assault Rifles, ahhh, just throw the same ban we had 7 years ago, but expand it and try to trick others into thinking it's the same ban, no thoughts to mental health for the future. Graham is right about the creativity, it's not there on the Dem side.

    December 30, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. GaryB

    Funny. During the election, Republicans insisted that Obama's Medicare Reforms would destroy Medicare. Now he's being accused of making no entitlement reforms. You can;t have it both ways folks.

    December 30, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Brian Smith

    Typical GOP response. The idiocy prevails. EVERYONE, including the president loses. Nobody wins. They are all to blame for it.

    December 30, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  5. raftmaster

    Don't look now, Obama won in November, you hampster!

    December 30, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. mark trought

    Sen Graham has a such a low IQ it doesnt even come up on the charts.lol. ppl when you send these fools to the senate you only show how much more dumber you are than he is.

    December 30, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Pat in IL

    Graham's ignorance of the facts and his tunnel vision makes him look very stupid, hateful, immature and dangerous. He is a perfect example of exactly the opposite of a statesman, a patriot or someone who was elected to act in the best interest of all Americans.

    December 30, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  8. Diane

    The man we voted in as president has the balanced approach we want to move forward in ALL areas.

    December 30, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. pbernasc

    GOP says Obama won hollow victory – translation: the GOP realized they took an even more significant loss than they did on the night of the elections.

    December 30, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Joe

    Senator Graham, would you vote to cut defense spending by 50%? That would leave us with the highest defense spending in the world per capita by a large margin.

    Oh, you won't.
    I see.
    You just want to cut social programs putting food in Americans mouths.
    Nice.

    December 30, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. Kiki418

    To begin, we need to make sure congress has LIMITED TERMS – these guys have been there TOO LONG – they're stale and only cause stalemates! THEN, to begin deficit cuts, we should start with THEIR SALARIES – they did NOT EARN IT. They talk about growing the deficiit? Well, the population has GROWN over 27 million, the rich kept all the money they didn't have to pay in taxes thanks to the Bush tax cuts, and they never let it trickle down LOL. It's time the 98% get some of the BENEFITS of the prosperity too. Tax code needs to be revised for sure, but gee whiz, WE THE PEOPLE are at fault for electing those jokers into office – you know, your republican parents, friends, neighbors, etc. WE NEED to go out and VOTE in the MID-TERM ELECTIONS to get rid of these do-nothings. They also need to change the Senate rules on fillabusters – the current rule is a travesty to our democracy. Majority is SUPPOSED to be THE RULE, not killed by the minority. And finally, in my humble opinion, we need to do away with the electorate – with today's technology, a simple will of the people can be voted on for majority rule in all this crap – put it all to a vote by the public! We're just paying these guys in congress to do nothing and they think the 47% are freeloaders.... LOL

    December 30, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. Pete

    Doesn't Graham get it that in two years his butt could be cleaning out his desk after midterms..Pres.Obamas great at chess and he's playing the republicans for a checkmate nothing less and remember republicans he has 4 years to your 2 and his are guaranteed remember that unless he uses the 22nd amendment for more years ,nothings for certain in todays world..

    December 30, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  13. aleblanc

    The congress – Senate and House – live in a vacuum. Greece? When our elected officials throw verbal bombs out at each news cycle, they should realize it becomes white noise that we no longer hear.

    December 30, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. AK_steve

    And here in lies the problem. The GOP was so focused on not wanting Obama to win instead of working to help America win.

    Yes GOP you are 100% to blame. You'd rather see America loose then have to compromise with Obama. Way to go.

    December 30, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. Open your eyes!

    Obama is a Marxist. He loathes free market capitalism 'cause his folks didn't make it in that environment. What's so hard to understand about that?

    December 30, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  16. ED FL

    This big time LOSER Graham is stuck on himself . He thinks he is God . Navy lingo has several names that would reflect on this crybaby. Go back to the State that you represent , any group of people that would vote for you deserves you and your type and beliefs.

    December 30, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  17. IN SC from NJ

    Lindsey Graham is such a dramatist. Repubs must connect with the people and leave the scare tactics alone. I wonder how many times the size of Greece our economy is . Just for laughs... Greece 2011 GDP = $304 billion dollars while Boeing of Spokane,WA had gross revenue of $68 Biilion in 2011 and that was with the 787 Dreamliner having issues.

    If the wealthy create so many jobs here, and by wealthy I mean the CEO earning 15 thousand times more than the lowest paid person in his business. Why dont they create factories and jobs here to raise the standard for the hard working Americans who purchase the majority of their goods? They never will because capitalism is built on exploiting the exploitable for ones personal gain. So much akin to slavery before it was outlawed. Amazing it took legislation to stop the enslavement of peoples in this country but Im not surprised our CEO's dont speak up on the civil rights violations taking place in Asia. Dont forget as people who are voters we are also consumers. Use your dollars to vote against the PAC's and companies such as ? Johns Papa ? who oppose your political views. Seeing they will come harder next time in their trickery and deceipt.

    December 30, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. John

    GOP are toast in 2014. The American people will not forget.

    December 30, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Johnjon

    This guy is always such gloom and doom!! I wonder what he has done to help this situation? He is all about war with his sidekick McCain. Voters in SC need to smarten up and replace him.

    December 30, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Andrew

    No Senator Graham, the American people won when they re-elected the President based on his ideas of raising taxes on the richest Americans, and added more Democrats to the Senate. In fact, more Americans cast votes for Democrats in congressional races than Republicans. It's only because of redistricting that Republicans were able to maintain their majority.

    Senator Graham, the American people have spoken and rejected your Republican ideals.

    December 30, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Stephanie Wallis

    I have lost all hope, faith or respect I had for our gqovernment if they allow us to tumble over the cliff.

    December 30, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. Hank Chase

    So Graham, who has lead the Republican foot dragging for MONTHS, says the President is not bi-partisan....I see...

    December 30, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. Jack

    The problem is the Republicans. They hate Obama and will not compromise. Those idiots don't understand this wil destroy them for some time. The extremists in their party have won the battle but lost the war. Good riddance to all the GOP. They have decided to let taxes go up on all middle class Americans.

    December 30, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. Koz

    Cut entitlements for the US congress. No more free health care for life and pensions! They are worthless and caused this mess to begin with!

    December 30, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. 22

    I'm glad Graham is only just realizing what we've all known since Nov 6.Obama won because a majority of Americans believe that his policies will help them.The majority also believe that the GOPs are obstructionists who lost a bet when they verbalized that their top priority was to make Obama a one term president,thereby blocking everything that would have helped the average American.They are sore losers who are digging in their heels to punish the American people for daring to make their voices heard in spite of the millions the GOP" owners "spent to buy the election.We will have the last laugh though,I think the American people are smarter than these losers think.

    December 30, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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