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. snowdogg

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

    However, Lindsey Graham is easy to understand because he uses small words, has simple ideas and doesn't veer away from standard GOP dogma.

    December 30, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. Malloy

    I guess when a democrat wins the biggest game in town, its a hollow victory. When a Robmey lost an election, he was robbed by the gifts. Wow I wish I was smart enough to see what the Teapublicans see. Hollow victory? I guess only a Teapublican can have a true victory. You know what, you lost. Get over it.

    December 30, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  3. Fastrack1

    The senator further criticized the president, blasting him for failing to take action "in a bipartisan manner" - where ya been, LG? Where were you the LAST four years when our president WAS trying to work with you? Declaring yourself the king of the Tea Bag Mountain and REFUSING to "take action in a bipartisan manner". How does it feel?

    December 30, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  4. David

    Children, both parties and their leaders are acting like a bunch of kindergartners.And, that might be giving them way too much credit. The very first thing that should be suspended is Congress's salary and benefits.

    December 30, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. Fastrack1

    Ted, they'll stay in D.C. They'll just ACT like they've gone home. Unless, of course, Puppeteer Norquist decides otherwise.

    December 30, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Fastrack1

    Repugs put us here by "kicking the can down the road" - confident that their campaign to make Obama a one-term president. They lost, and now they want to take their balls and go home. BUT THEY CAN'T FIND THEM!!!

    December 30, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Daws

    Sour grapes and spin, why would anyone still listen to this guy?

    December 30, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. Richard Smegma

    Well said, Dick.
    I think you meant "guns" not Hyundis.
    Obama is a corrupt liar who does nothing except set groups against one another.
    Utter disgrace.

    December 30, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  9. lloyd roberts

    Small minded? Wasn't Lindsay Graham one of those house prosecutors that wasted our time and money and the resources of the FBI on the failed Clinton impeachment fiasco. Still a party hack sucking off the public teat. How long you been in Government Graham, 20 years racking up all that retirement and medical and all those other Senatorial entightelments

    December 30, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. vs101

    The republican party has truly become sick and twisted. They would deliberately want the country to go down the tubes because they were unable to get their guy in office. I hope that people won't forget to vote these despicable, bigoted thugs out of office in the mid terms.

    December 30, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. pflatman

    Have another drink, you useless congressman. If you think Obama thinks small, then stick with your uber-wealthy donors and bend over for the Koch brothers. Worthless, spineless twerps in the GOP.

    December 30, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  12. Jacky

    oh the drama, the GOP sounds like a spurned teenager! someone earning over 400k will have to pay what they did during Clintons term, oh my, catastrophy of catastrophies! How will joe the plumber ever create jobs for us?

    the gops intransience has lowered my 401k by more than ten tea pariers net worth together, actually they have cost millionaires more in market uncertainty then the 2-3 points of incremental taxes they are ighting for to now protect the .... 0.25 percent.

    December 30, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. 111Dave111

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is really, quite frankly, small-minded in consequential times. I find him to be a hard guy to know and understand, His attacks on Susan Rice were baseless and petty.

    December 30, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  14. Scott

    It is a hollow victory because of the obstructionists and bigots on the right who don't want to have a black man guide this country to a properous future. Obama was even willing to do SS and Medicare reform and the Republicans could not see past their egos and hate to make the deal. GOP get out of the way. The Democrats will fix this. When Clinton left office, a Democrat, the country was in position to begin paying down it's debt until the GOP got in control.

    December 30, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  15. NameFranklin myers

    We the people who voted these do nothing clowns into office are also partly to blame for this fiasco. Next election I just hope we the people can correct this and get more competent folks in office. The clowns have to go. God bless our brave military men.

    December 30, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  16. Elliott Carlin

    Well, at least they can both take a victory lap for letting there be unfettered access to our country by illegals from the south of us.

    "It will be a political victory that is hollow in nature when it comes to preventing our country from becoming Greece."

    Sorry Lindsey, but this 'fiscal cliff' nonsense you and your DC cohorts (both Dims and Rinos) want us to focus on is the red herring of the month. You clowns have indebted our grandchildren regardless if you 'get a deal' this week or not.

    You all should be strung out for what you've done to this country, Chairman Obama included. Nuts to all of you.

    December 30, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  17. Fredd Fezzo

    If rates go up on everybody I will hold John Boehner and his fat-cat buddies on Wall St. personally responsible. This is a man completely out of touch with middle-class American life. He needs to be removed from the Federal Government's payroll. And soon!

    December 30, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  18. Tadesse

    This is the man who is responsible for the deficit we are in by adding two wars in to the nation credit card, now he calls the president small mind. What about you graham?

    December 30, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. Bea Oates

    Yeah! get the job done once for all and enjoy the New Year!

    December 30, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  20. grantcv1

    It's not that Obama is winning so much as it that the Republicans are losing. They had better get used to it. In the last election they got 61% of the white vote – not because of their ideology, but because there is still a lot of racial bigotry in the USA. In the next election they will learn just how much their bigotry, paranoia, ignorance, and greed have cost them. They're going to be pummeled. Hopefully, they won't learn their lesson and we can be done with them and their fool's ideology.

    December 30, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  21. Realist

    The road to hell is paved with republicans

    December 30, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  22. AnnieM

    Grover Norquist will be the death of the Republican Party. Maybe he is a Democrat in disguise...

    December 30, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  23. LearnToFish

    It's clear from these comments that no one bothered to read the article, and we wonder why we have the politicians we have... People are in such a hurry to insult the other side, they don't even take time to understand what's really going on.

    December 30, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  24. Jeff

    Obama = complete lack of leadership. When the board members are squabbling and infighting, you FIRE the CEO. Obama should be fired.

    December 30, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. NuwanSam

    Finally, a Republican coming to reality and accepting Obama won. They may have not known because they have been living in a alternate reality for so long. Some still do. For us who live in America, Obama has won long ago. Time to wake up Republicans. Your dream journey is over.

    December 30, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
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