August 23rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 years 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. Trock

    I stopped making political jokes. Seen to many of them get elected!

    August 23, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Chris


    One thing I'd like to see is all opinion broadcasts be held to a higher standard of telling the truth. Instead we deal with flat out lies and edited footage showing peoples words in the wrong context. Example: "you didnt build that" from the prez
    LOL, how was that out of context, the president FLAT OUT SAID IT!!!! You didn't build it you hand help from blah blah blah...wake up or stop drinking the kool-aid!!!

    August 23, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Philip

    Who are the Republicians that agree with you? Please provide names! Otherwise you are just trying to confuse the american people and clearly this might be your intend.

    August 23, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. joe

    This is laughable. Just the President doing what democrats try to do all the time. Link Rush Limbaugh as the supposed leader of the GOP. How ridiculous. CNN must've done a poll lately for Rush's likeability factor and they came in low (surprise, it's CNN) so Obama thought he'd try to maximize on it. What Obama is hoping the public will do is not realize that it's not about the GOP saying no to "hurt the country" but saying no to save the country. Imagine if the democrats had majority in everything like they did the first two years of Obama's presidency. Yikes! Keep saying no GOP. It's our only hope.

    August 23, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. pat thompson

    There goes Obama blaming everyone else again. This time it's a radio host. Classic! How did the is man get re-elected?

    August 23, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. al

    This is probably true and shows you that our elected officials, especially republicans are more afraid of Rush and the Tea Party than the voters. It also shows they are more concerned with their own careers than in doing what is right. Before you get all hateful with me the left also suffers from the same career malady but they don't have the fear that republicans do. Republicans better get their act together if they want to be a viable party in the future.

    August 23, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Jake

    President Barack Obama argued some Republicans secretly side with him

    Every thing with this guy is a secret...why don't you mention their names or are they as fictional as most of the people in his book.....LOL

    August 23, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Geddy Lee

    Obama couldn't be more wrong!! No one listens to Rush anymore – which is a shame because I really need the song royalties. C'mon, sing along with me – "Though his mind is not for rent; don't put him down as arrogant." Actually, Limbaugh live rent-free in this guy's head and he's the most arrogant POTUS in my lifetime. Note to Obama – QUIT COMPLAINING AND QUIT CAMPAIGNING. START GOVERNING!!! That's what we pay you for.

    August 23, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Royboy361

    Whatever happened to standing up for whats right? Right is right. These politicans shouldn't always walk lockstep with their party like a bunch of lemmings to the sea.

    August 23, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. jeff

    So now it is bad for our representatives to fear those that they are supposed to be representing?

    August 23, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. corpsman

    It's funny to see all you right-wingers attacking our President over these remarks, when the 2010 elections prove him absolutely correct: several republicans who were committed to trying to make government work were beaten in primaries by teebagger extremists who have done NOTHING in their fist two years in congress. I'd tell you to learn some history, but this isn't even history yet – it's the present.

    August 23, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. mwperin

    When was Rush Limbaugh elected to office by the people? Where does it state in the U.S. Constitution that a talk show host has authority to set national policy?

    August 23, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. John

    The president spoke in my home state last night and he threw out a very interesting statistic. He claims that the cost of healthcare is currently rising at the slowest pace in 50 years. No one has been either able, or willing, to try and tackle the ridiculous cost of healthcare in our country, and as much as everyone seems to hate the ACA, to me this trend is significant.

    August 23, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Joe

    No one seems to have picked up on the scary part:
    "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?"

    I just get worried when I hear debt ceiling increases. How much can we borrow before it's too much? If I am unable to pay my bills I don't borrow more money without regard to paying previous debt. . Borrowing more money we cannot pay back isn't the answer.

    August 23, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. cecv

    yawn. Al Gore did this yesterday,,"privately republicans agree with me",,,BS....the only republicans agreeing are the ones we can count on to kiss obama butt all the time (McCain, Graham and Boehner,,oh and McConnell),,,sure they throw out a little kabuki theater act once in awhile but it goes nowhere.

    Interesting that Dear Leader felt the need to even make the comment that "privately some republicans agree with me",,,who is that supposed to sell it to?

    August 23, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Drake

    I voted for this guy twice. There is plenty of blame to go around. However, I lost any ounce of respect for Obama when he spoke up twice on the George Zimmerman trial. He is supposed to be every Americans president. He undermined our justice system with his racism.
    So Mr. President since you want to stick you nose where it doesn't belong...Do the young black killers of the Australian student look like they could be your sons? This Democrat has changed his mind about you. You suck!

    August 23, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. DML

    This is a joke, just shows how much this president knows about government. After all he almost finished a term as a senator.

    He is a joke the world does not listen to him but he keeps talking, his BULL

    August 23, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. yuri pelham

    Rush shows that you can be a terrorist without resorting to violence.

    August 23, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Bob

    You know who they are not afraid of? You Mr. President. No leadership what so ever.

    August 23, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Republicans do agree with him except for the one Republican that has the answer. Wake up America, its no longer about political lines, its about getting our REPUBLIC BACK.NO!! Rush is part of the establishment his just trying to make it seem like he is conservative, but he is no conservative at all Plane old neo-con and RINO thats the true Rush.. Pay attention the only true conservative that wants to shut down government is Ted Cruz. TED CRUZ For President, RAND PAUL vice President 2016!!!!

    August 23, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. billy

    I used to get on here and complain too, until I realized that you aren't going to change anyone's opinion and most of the folks on here are just here to spew what they want to believe and what they want to hear. I have never seen an actual honest comment that would bridge both parties. I just see a lot of useless critiques from people who really don't know much about government.

    August 23, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Molee

    The President is just saying out loud what most of already know. The Tea Party and the Libertarians will sink the Republican Party soon. Then the rest of us can have are country back. They will not be allowed to hold this country hostage for their own selfish ideology.

    August 23, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Dan

    If the "establishment" republicans (that means those who do what best for THEM. Don't worry, its the same for Dems also), are worried that their backing of ObamaCare means they have a high chance of losing their current seat, then I think its safe to say that the majority don't agree with it.

    Dems are the same way. they know, why else would Obama, who just touted the great benefits of the healthcare exchanges in California, NOW delay it for businesses until after the 2014 elections? Both sides know this has bad long term consequences. Its right in front of all our eyes, but you just choose to be blind to it.

    August 23, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. MesaMax

    This most divisive president just keeps opening his mouth. And he wonders why this country is going in the wrong direction???

    August 23, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Conservative right is in a minority persistent with money.

    August 23, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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