August 23rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
8 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. Terik Ororke

    This is crazy –our debt is greater than the total of all European countrieds and the feds keep printing funny money. Interest rates have to rise, and the giv needs a long shut down....are they totally crazy down there or just stupid?

    August 23, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Eric

    To liberals on here bashing GOP and Tea Party and Rush:
    Don't you think it is a little questionable that Obama is spending his time bashing some radio host instead of commenting on things that actually matter?

    August 23, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. calamity jane

    First take all the perks and health insurance away from Congress. Then disallow them to take blood money from lobbyists. Get Congress to the point where they have to work two hard jobs to just pay their mortgage. Then we can revisit taking all of this away from the American citizens they care less about.

    August 23, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Sickofthehype

    Barry still does not get it. The majority of Americans do not want his healthcare bill. He is too pig headed to have a discussion on how to fix it before it becomes a disaster for everyone.

    August 23, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Revolution

    Lol how does he get his head through the door?

    August 23, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. LogicBomb

    Here we go again. "It's not my party's fault they refuse every budget the House comes up with. Blame the Republicans! I shouldn't have to compromise, they should!" The arrogance is astounding, and the fact that some of you eat this up is disturbing. And on the other side we have "we're not going to pass anything Obama wants even if it might be a half-way decent idea!" The fact that some of you adhere to this mindset is equally as useless.

    I remember a once great country where people weren't defined based on their political leanings and a country where people found common ground and worked TOGETHER for the greater good. But now both parties are equally worthless, and we have entered an era of "no compromise" on either side. The party mentality is ruining us and the sooner WE come to that realization, the sooner WE can turn this around. THEY certainly aren't going to do it.

    August 23, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. Jeff

    i totally agree with Eric. we need a solution, not a finger pointer. its like a school yard full of kids when something goes wrong, "no its his fault!, good lord god help us all!

    August 23, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. greg kerr

    President Obama would like everyone to think that it is Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party who are holding the nation hostage . To further that ridiculous idea, he says that some Republicans would agree with his policies were it nor for their fear of Rush and the Tea Party criticizing them and causing their ratings to plummet.. President Obama knows darn well that politics have always been that way and neglects to mention that many Democrats would also like to DISAGREE with the President's policies and stances, but are in turn afraid that various liberal groups, minority blocs or social agenda ax grinders will vote them out of office as well. The reality is that Obama knows damn well what he is doing when he makes statements like these. He does so because as a professional politician he seeks the demise of all who oppose him. Rush...blowhard he may be...often has the goods and the truth on Obama, as do many Tea Party advocates...and Obama sees that as hurting him. Obama could care less whether you the citizens are hurt. It is himself he is worried about. It is about time to wake up to the fact that despite Obama's positive attributes (and he does have them), they do not lend themselves to the job of being the leader of this land. Rather they lend themselves to a divider of the land.

    August 23, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Sickofthehype

    dh maybe Obamacare will help you get off the crack.

    August 23, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Celeste

    Simple Question:
    Will the entire flock of GOP fools and Tea Party big mouths American born citizens and/ or not give up their government funded health insurance and retirement to dismantle or undo Obamacare that millions of people can use? Millions sacrifice versus a few GOP?

    August 23, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. Cecelia

    I don't know what's worse, that fact that some of the people who are supposed to lead this nation are too spineless to stand up for what they believe in, or the fact that they would be alienated from their own party for disagreeing with them.

    August 23, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Skip

    Rush is right...Obama does live in Rush's head. Maybe to the point of obsession. What fools we mortals be.

    August 23, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. Goldie1234

    And, I have some swamp land.

    August 23, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. matkins4268

    thom which is greater a political office or the COUNTRY

    August 23, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. RealAmerican

    The most stupid and embarrassing president of all times.

    August 23, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Goldie1234

    Our President is a joke around the world (and to think we once along with the world held out hope....it's all about power and $$$$$)

    August 23, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Goldie1234

    When obama says stuff like that (being jr. highish) it makes him looks even worse.

    August 23, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Michael Johnson

    Talk radio is insight into how poorly educated many Americans are. Rush Limbaugh tells poor conservatives what hapless victims they are. He games the fear of his courageously and cognitively challenged minions. He tells conservatives they can escape being held personally accountable by just blaming Obama or liberals. Rush Limbaugh is a messiah for poorly educated under achievers. The irony is, Rush Limbaugh has no respect for these conservatives. He sees them has his personal collection of fools who he can get to believe anything because, Rush believes he is so much smarter than those he lies to. So far, Rush has been proved right.

    August 23, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. posternovice88

    CNN is a propaganda wagon and Cuomo is just glad to have a job. Where were the tough questions? I'm tired of seeing Obama on late night tv yacking it up while most people out here are suffering. The GOP doesn't want to do the right thing? According to you! Why didn't the interviewer push back and say, uhmmm Mr. President 54% of the population doesn't want the healthcare law, the GOP is listening to the will of the people. Just because you were able to bribe your party to get your law passed 3 years ago doesn't negate the fact that its unpopular with the people who will actually be living under it. But what about the 30 million uninsured? Well, how many of those 30 million are young healthy people who didn't want or need your insurance exchanges and are now being forced to pony up extra. And how many of the 270 million that were insured are now going to lose their insurance? I know you can't please everyone but this I win and you lose mentality is disgusting and that's all the politicians are about these days. It's all divide and conquer... gin up your base so you can keep chipping away at freedom and democracy. When was the last time we had a "win-win" anything?

    August 23, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. clouts

    Doesn't suprise me, Mr. President. See, as much as you want to make all of our problems out to be Republican vs. Democrat, old vs. new administration, blacks against white...a vast majority of us are trying to work together. Too bad we can't get past your own rhetoric and flaming to do just that.

    August 23, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. American Citizen

    Sad day when the POTUS can not take responsibility for his lack of leadership. This POTUS is in his second term and still blames everyone else for his lack of leadership. When the leader of the free world blames everyone else for his lack of doing the job he was elected to do he is just a SAD PATHETIC EXCUSE OF A MAN. Having one health care service is like a monopoly and you have to ask yourself... Do you really have the opportunity to get a second opinion or are you just being passed around while you wait to die... Companies are starting to see that it is better to give insurance to only one family member and not the other spouse. Amazing how left & right fight when as a person and not a political affiliation you all have lost your mind on the clear picture of your rights as free citizens of America you are losing your basic human rights and liberties...... This POTUS should be impeached. But of course that would be racist and a race card would be used.

    August 23, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Jim in PA

    I don't know why anyone would fear Rush. They seem like very nice Canadian gentlemen.

    August 23, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. hikerstud

    We the people need to agree what we want and then unite. Occupy and Tea Party are for the people. Big gov't politicians and big corp and big military and big bankers don't make the Amercan people their number one concern. It is time we choose who is for the people and I can tell you it is none of the normal we hear. I take Bobby Jindal any day. I will take Greenwald the journalist. I take a Tea party or a Occupy over any of our senate and congress or fed bankers. We need leadership. We need the people to unite. Not fight over left right racism abortion etc etc those are issues we can sort out when we have good leaders.

    August 23, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Sprang

    "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."

    Has congress repealed any this session?

    August 23, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Fish

    This is EXACTLY what Obama was practically begging congress NOT to do during his campaign. Everyone blames Obama for problems when it wouldn't matter what he proposed congress would try to block it. But this goes back to Abe Lincoln and probably before... Congress is supposed to be for the American people, but they are only about themselves and politics. And Rush Limbaugh needs to be taken off the air.

    August 23, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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