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. Kenman

    This guy is a disgrace, making up lies like what Republicans telling him they agree with him but fear Rush!

    This narcissist can't even speak an earnest sentence, like the one when asked what blame he might have he said something like "ultimately the buck stops with me" but then went on to excuse himself by saying that he can't MAKE Republicans do something!

    He is never to blame, in his own mind or in the liberal media, though we are declining into the worse post recession employment situation in our lifetimes – with thousands more going on food stamps EVERY DAY, and over 70% of the jobs that are being created being part time, and people losing their private healthcare as intended by Obamacare to put govt in charge of all our healthcare!

    August 23, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Paul Eggebeen

    I think President Obama must be really bothered by Rush. He wants top Republicans to denounce him as a way to discredit him. I believe it shows how effective Rush's message is and how President Obama wants to eliminate any political opposition to him. Also, it should be noted that the Republicans are not listening to Rush and obviously not taking his advice. Besides, What is President Obama complaining about?? He is getting everything he wants – good grief!

    August 23, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. WillIam

    This is crazy, at what point is it going to stop? The democrats and republicans and tea baggers are all a part of the problem.
    We need to cut off anyone serving in public office and force elections of new people to replace them all. They have failed at their job and lied to us so lets just do what corporate america does and fire them, then replace them with people who can do the job.

    August 23, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Sam Samuelson

    What an idiot. The president is ruining this country.

    August 23, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Sne

    Dear President. Could you please name republicans who agrees and support you. We will make sure to vote them out .
    Also dear President, could you make sure that people near you work sometime for taxpayers.. Looks like everybody near you on a vacation, boating, golf playing .
    GOP also took 6 week vacation. Middle class has to work hard without any vacations because we can not afford this, but still provide good living for government top leaders

    August 23, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Jack 2

    Obama is still blaming everyone but himself. No ones scared of Rush

    August 23, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. jod

    Says the guy who won't even take the time to meet with anybody outside of his inner circle. This president is by and large the least communicative president in history. For him to pretend like he actually holds private conversations with republicans is truly a hysterical notion indeed.

    August 23, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Pat. Calif.

    If some Republicans are "worried" over people in their district or Rush Limbaugh; get some backbone. If all they are worried about are votes then get out of politics and go home.

    August 23, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. hikerstud

    Occupy and Tea Party are for the people.
    Big gov, big business, big bank. Not for the people.
    No lefty righty conserve vs lib that is all smokescreen.
    Power and money in big cities, DC NYC LA etc. People need to unite on us the USA and quit fighting on lesser issues. America first. Throw the bums out.

    August 23, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Jack 2

    As usual Obama blames someone else. He must be running out of blames for bush

    August 23, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    @American Citizen: Your post exemplifies the inability of the right to think critically; all you do is spout the latest Rush/rightwing talking points.

    President Obama isn't blaming; he's stating a fact that you and other righties don't have the stones to accept.

    Regarding "Having one health care service is like a monopoly and you have to ask yourself," even if a company decides to not insure a spouse, the spouse that does carry insurance will have a choice of coverage – more choice that pre-Obamacare when insurance companies didn't have to compete in the healthcare marketplace.

    You remember marketplace competition, right? The cornerstone of capitalism?

    August 23, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. The Great Pontificator

    If they are scared, they're scared of not getting reelected. Oh, too bad, poor idiots can't promise on thing and then vote another. How harsh of the voters to recognize who sells out and vote them out. Everyone clammers for term limits, there already is term limits, called to voting public. If they don't vote them out, then don't cry, you get what you diserve

    August 23, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Jez

    Unfortunately, Rush matters only because the GOP kowtows to him. The GOP are his Biotches. Shameful that the GOP can't Man-up to Rush.

    August 23, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Raven

    Anyone who is afraid of what someone might say about them on the radio does not deserve to hold public office.

    August 23, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Irwin Fletcher

    Why do many want to take food out of mothers and children, health care from those in need (even though we now pay for it by those using the emergency rooms for their healthcare) when we could save so much money by restationing our soldiers in Europe back to the US. Why do we subsidize the defense of Europe when we have so many needs at home? Why is this not a discussion? Or a larger discussion about defense spending as a whole that matches the rest of the world combined?

    August 23, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. TheBigT

    Fire them ALL, and when session restarts, have them replaced by people WILLING to fix the problems.

    August 23, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    @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?"

    Totally dumb. If the Feds didn't bolster the economy right now (a proven economic strategy), our economy would tank – because the private sector (read: Wall Street with its gambling addiction and multi-national corporations with their outsourcing addiction), which created a global economic crisis we're still recovering from, would take us down that same road – AGAIN.

    Shutting down the government won't save money – because of all the jobs created by federal spending (military, infrastructure, etc., etc., etc.) would evaporate and that means less money in the economy in general.

    That's the problem with you righties: You love soundbites and absolutely CANNOT think critically.

    August 23, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. BoomerSooner79

    They are afraid of the people in their respective electorates replacing them if they side with the POTUS. Duh. I thought they were suppose to vote like the people that elected them want them to and the by the platform they ran on or all be concidered hippocrites and liars like the President . By the People for the People.

    August 23, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. phil

    Once again, the haters can't handle the truth.
    I get it, though.
    It would be embarrassing for a national political party to be afraid of a bigmouth on the radio, wouldn't it?
    Keep telling the truth, President Barack Hussein Obama!!!!!!
    -And let's vote some of the morons out, in 2014, so we can start getting more stuff done in our country.

    August 23, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Neurotoxin

    So what Obama is really saying is "Some allegedly opposition politicians agree with me, but their voters don't. And if they listen to me and not the voters – they're worried they'll lose their next Primary to someone that does." How is that a bad thing? Status quo politicians continue to pretend the Tea Party is some accident as opposed to who VOTERS wanted to ELECT; yet they acknowledge that if they support status quo policies – they'll get dumped in favor of the Tea Party. Which is it?

    August 23, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Kenman

    This guy is a disgrace, making up lies like what Republicans telling him they agree with him but fear Rush!

    This narcissist can't even speak an earnest sentence, like the one when asked what blame he might have he said something like "ultimately the buck stops with me" but then went on to excuse himself by saying that he can't MAKE Republicans do something!

    He is never to blame, in his own mind or in the liberal media, though we are declining into the worse post recession employment situation in our lifetimes – with thousands more going on food stamps EVERY DAY, and over 70% of the jobs that are being created being part time, and people losing their private healthcare as intended by Obamacare to put govt in charge of all our healthcare!

    August 23, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. t

    .......Since Rush was elected by the number of listeners to his FEAR BASED message...........we must admit,......the people that consider him the savior of the GOTP............are a special case of education FAILURE......

    August 23, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Tim

    My own Republican legislator has admitted that he is afraid of Rush Limbaugh and what other talking heads like him say. In addition, my friend who was the advertising director for a local webservice provider had to meet several times with Limbaugh because Limbaugh wanted to purchase use of my friend's company's webservers. Limbaugh told my friend point blank that he considers himself an "entertainer" which means that he "isn't bound to tell the truth about everything." He also said that he works deliberately to "rile people."

    August 23, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Madagascar

    Rush only has a few million listeners, over a hundred million voted last time.

    August 23, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. Linda

    why are we always caught in the middle of the politics of the budget? We just came off a furlough and now face a government shutdown? They don't care about the people. There is so much hatred for our President, they have lost focus on us, the people that put their butts in office. My creditors don't care that I am a government employee caught in this mess, they want their money and so do I !!!!!!

    August 23, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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