August 23rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
11 months ago

Obama: Republicans privately ‘agree’ with me

(CNN) - President Barack Obama argued some Republicans secretly side with him on wanting to avoid a government shutdown, but they’re afraid they may face backlash from the conservative right.

"Sometimes they say to me privately, 'I agree with you, but I'm worried about a primary from, you know, somebody in the Tea Party back in my district,' or, 'I'm worried about what Rush Limbaugh is going to say about me on the radio,'” Obama said in an exclusive interview with CNN "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo.

Congress returns next month from a five-week recess with a full plate. If lawmakers do not approve a government funding bill before the fiscal year ends on September 30, the government would run out of money and would be forced into a partial shutdown.

Some Republicans – like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – have said that they would be willing to shut down the government in order to defund Obamacare, the president's signature healthcare law.

Not all Republicans are behind that message, however. Some establishment Republicans have argued their party would take the bulk of blame for a shutdown and therefore don't support it.

Democrats, quite expectedly, call the plan a nonstarter.

"Nobody thinks that's good for the middle class," Obama said.

The president accused Congress of failing to meet the federal government's basic responsibilities on the eve of yet another legislative fight over federal spending and the debt ceiling.

"There hasn't been a legislative session as far as I can tell," Obama said. "Congress doesn't have a whole lot of core responsibilities. One core responsibility is passing a budget, which they have not done yet. The other core responsibility that they've got is to pay the bills that they've already accrued."

Read more: CNN analysis: Congress in D.C. far less than it used to be

Right now, Congress is on a near record low pace for passing laws, and criticizing Congress for their lack of output has been a common refrain from Democrats. House Speaker John Boehner, however, has said his body should not be judged by the number of laws it enacts.

"We should not be judged on how many new laws we create," Boehner said on CBS. "We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal."

Congress will also be tasked to debate the debt ceiling, the credit limit on how much money the government may borrow. Budget experts expect the government to surpass the limit sometime between mid-October and mid-November.

Read more: Boehner to push for short-term government funding extension

A fight in Congress over the debt ceiling is nothing new, although fights have become increasingly more forceful in recent years.

In the interview with CNN, Obama at one pointed seemed surprised to even be talking about not raising the debt ceiling or passing a bill to fund the government.

"Why are we even talking about," Obama questioned. "Why aren't we just getting that done?"

– CNN's Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • President Obama
soundoff (641 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    NEWSFLASH! Rethugs are more interested in their careers than what is best for the rest of the country.
    Cowards!
    As far as the Canadian and the Cuban anchor water baby. Keep shoveling it. You'll learn that this is NOT Canada or Cuba.

    August 23, 2013 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  2. Scott

    Maybe if Obama would stop his reckless spending and wasting the tax payer's money. Congress might agree to give him more money. I am tired of my tax dollar being spent on Obama;s useless pet projects which the majority do not want anyhow. I am all for it, shut the Goverment down till spending is brought under control.

    August 23, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  3. Dar

    The other core responsibility that they've got is to pay the bills that they've already accrued."

    AND just who added so much debt to our economy that "the Congress" is unable to come up with a budget because Dear Mr. President, YOU added so much spending to it that there isn't enough money to come up with a balanced budget, dumb butt!!!!

    Just keep pointing your fingers at others Dear Mr. President, you sound like a little kid trying to get out of trouble. Grow up!

    LA LA LA, Ahhhhhhhhh the land of Utopia is grand.

    August 23, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  4. Rob

    What he really means is give him a blank check so he can finish destroying America

    August 23, 2013 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    The weeper of the house claims he got 98% of what he wanted. It's well past time for him to give 2%.

    August 23, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  6. tiscali.it

    Congress needs to be impeached! They are doing what they are doing ....just because the president is black...plain and simple....

    August 23, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  7. uncdig

    his lips are moving – it's a lie.

    August 23, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  8. Gurgy

    The most terrible congress on earth. Solution remove all GOP thugs in 2014. Period. Esply, old junk.

    August 23, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Obama is the biggest liar in Washington.

    He doesn't want bipartisanship......he wants surrender, on the part of the conservatives in America......and we are NOT going to surrender.......not ever.

    August 23, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  10. aCriticalEye

    Personally I would give the GOP/TP 100% of the blame if the government is shut down or our nation's credit rating is lowered again. I am in my 50's and I voted republican nearly my entire adult life (I'm a vet of 20+ yrs), but today i cannot stand them. the religious right and Tea party are completely out of line with reality.

    When the GOP signed the NORQUIST PLEDGE, they sold their souls to the devil (Big Money).

    August 23, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  11. Wake up People!

    I give you a lot of credit Mr. President. You have the patience of Job. They could care less who they hurt while they throw one of the biggest temper tantrums in history.

    Cue the hate and repeated lies from Rush, Hannity and crew verbatim.

    August 23, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  12. jboh

    There will be no bipartisanship until the TEA absolutists no longer control the GOP. They have no answers, ideas, or honesty. The continued stream of lies, accusations, and destruction from these tantrum throwing chronic malcontents is perilously close to treason.

    August 23, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  13. the hippies were right

    Fox "spews" and Rush types are the sole reason for the overwhelming hate in this country. There is bias and there is truth. There are media outlets that are very one sided but their reporting is based on facts. Then there is Fox "spews" who is very one sided and does not report fact based topics. This can be proven all day long. If you deny that Fox lies, then you are just a narrow minded, blind sheep who is an embarrassment to the human race. If these gullible people did not form their opinion based off of an infotainers opinion then they wouldn't have the false information that fuels the hate. So sad our political beliefs have all come down to what TV channel you watch. Fox is not saving you! Do some research on your own from several sources then form your opinion. Or just be a member of the pea brained herd!

    August 23, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  14. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The incompetent GOP house will change after the 2014 midterms when the American people kick the do nothing GOP idiots to the curb. GOP you completed the destruction of the new and unimproved nazi communist GOP so start looking for new jobs,you lost the 2012 election and nothing you do can change it.who in their right mind would vote GOP if they haven't disenfranchised your vote yet?????

    August 23, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  15. Dixie

    After all this time we now need to have cooperation on both sides? Really? This should have been from the start. This may be too little too late.

    August 23, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  16. TONE

    @SCOTT
    What reckless spending are you talking about just detail it, then detail bush and the republican spending and see who is more reckless one example a war based on lies, a tax cut for the rich with no way to pay it back, were you living under a rock for the past 13 years and just surface a few hours ago.

    August 23, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  17. TONE

    Wow rethugliclowns are hypocrits lying has become an art form for these people, and call themselves christians, beware of these false prophets christianity to them is a way of getting suckers to vote for them.

    August 23, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  18. Data Driven

    "We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal."

    And you will, John. It's probably impossible for the GOP to lose the House, given the gerrymandering, but they won't win the Senate or the White House. So, um, you won't be passing OR repealing laws. Carry on, GOPhers.

    August 23, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. the hippies were right

    @Tone, Exactly, let's see some details from all the Obama haters, instead of one liner talking points you memorized from Fox or Rush. Or just continue to be laughed at!

    August 23, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  20. Carol

    Why would anyone with a brain worry about what Rush Limbaugh might say?

    August 23, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Phattee

    Pretty much. Convicted criminal Tom DeLay's dream of a "permanent Republican majority" through gerrymandering means that Republican career politicians' only real fear is a challenge from the right.

    August 23, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. PaulC

    The best hope is for the Democrats to take the House in 2014 but with the massive gerrymandering that the republican states have put in place that will be almost impossible.

    August 23, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Nate

    No Obama. They fear there is nothing they can do to ever get back in the black. Sure we can tax more, but that doesn't solve our wasteful spending issue does it?

    August 23, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. Lynda

    The Weasel and Rush in ONE article?? Where to start, where to start . . . .

    August 23, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. The Truth You Cant Handle

    I love how everyone critisizes talk radio and the listeners when everyone on the left simply throws out the race card or says its a war against women the poor immigration the old... etc.. And WE are the ones who dont have any substance behind our arguments haha. We will keep on listening to Rush, yall can keep listening to your race baiters. Everyone is happy.

    August 23, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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