August 23rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
1 year 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. sly

    The Tea Party wanted to secede from the US when a black man was elected President.

    What do we expect from a bunch of Nazi's?

    Eliminate them.

    August 23, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Is the Republican Party's leader actually a radio comedian with a microphone? How many of The Great Limbaugh's followers actually realize the man is a comedian who discovered that his ratings went up when he recited political jokes?

    August 23, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Jack 2

    Now do you people really belive anyones scared of Rush? How rediculous and deceitful

    August 23, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. mohameed khalil

    I hope From Obama To Loking For Pese and tray to do this Becouse Oll The Worlds pepol need Each athers and if we think a sucond we found us comming from ADAM & HAWAA So We Are Brothers I Hope Well For Oll The Worlds And For Gives Becouse My ENG, is verey bad sorey

    August 23, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. alan

    no body agrees with you on anything

    August 23, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Carl

    Obama talking – that is all he's got – talking. And you stupid leftists listen to him like there's even a message there. How pitiful you all are.

    August 23, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The ignorance on the right is breathtaking. Rush has them all brainwashed as his 20 million dollar sheeple. How befitting a party who spouts Rushisms to the rooftops daily.

    The Republican Party is very afraid of Rush Limbaugh. The Democrats have no reason to fear Rush. Nor does Obama, who is on his last term as President.

    August 23, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Jack 2

    how rediculous. I've never sen a president with so many excuses and blaming others. this guy is really worthless.

    August 23, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. a disgrace

    there is growing talk obama will finally! be impeached!

    August 23, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. William666

    Let's shut down the Fed Gov and let the states rule themselves !

    August 23, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Drguajar

    Rush Limbaugh is feared by the GOP so much in spite of the fact that he had much to do with the debacle 2012 election results for the GOP. All he ever does is alienate Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, and half of American women. Why they consider the man who costs them elections important is a puzzle. They need GOP leaders to do to Rush what Clinton did to Jesse Jackson in 1992. Ignore the idiot!!

    August 23, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. Thaddius

    Is anyone surprised at the level of obstructionism and apathy that this GOP-led congress has displayed in the last 5 years of a black man so much as *DARING* to be elected President of the United States? Their base's heads have been exploding in a conflagration of blood, bone, and brain matter since the election of 2008 and the house GOP members would rather the US fail than do what they know is right for the country.

    And they have the best way of dealing with being called out on their b . s . ... just act as over-the-top self righteous and indignant that anyone should accuse THEM of being racist. "ITS NOT ABOUT RACISM MAN, WHY DO YOU ALWAYS FALL BACK ON THE RACE CARD!!??!?!". It's the perfect plan.

    Thankfully the GOP are going the way of the Whigs, and the way it's looking it'll be sooner than they can even comprehend.

    August 23, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. scott

    the president is telling the truth....don't u remember what republican pat tomey said after the gun debate when manchin/tomey failed in the senate....pat tomey said, said we had the votes, but there are some republicans, people in my party who dont want to be seen as helping the president....

    August 23, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Bobby in SC

    Dear Mr. President,
    Most Republicans are against you because they fundamentally disagree with your policies!It is called checks and balances! It is the job of the minority party to keep the President in check. Rush Limbaugh is a radio personality!!! Nothing more! He does not write or set policy in Washington!He was not voted into office to do a job and represent the people!You were!!!! 5 years of vacation is quite enough! Get to work and stop your complaining!!!

    August 23, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Mercury

    Rush Limbaugh: The Voice Of Self-Whiteous, Hypocritical Egomania

    August 23, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. tbrightt

    Good. The government should fear the people, not the other way around. That leads to some better representation

    August 23, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Americans With Blinders

    I used like reading some of the comments in these blogs but lately it has been increasingly disheartening reading people who really have nothing to add but hate and ignorant half baked statements. Once again we see that the right wing of American politics really has nothing to offer the world but their own skewed perceptions. How very sad for America. It's way past due for the haters on the right to come up with something more than "no" or the usual hate filled rhetoric. If they don't, they will become even more frustrated in the future as the rest of the world pulls away from them, while they continue to rely on their backward, inflexible and non-productive points of view.

    August 23, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Thaddius

    Navybill-"I simply cannot understand how this man can sit in front of a camera and speak such drivel. As a conservative I am not afraid of Rush or Obama, or anyone else for that matter."

    Oh, we know *YOU* aren't afraid of Rush... it's people like you that eat his excrement up and ask for seconds. The House GOP knows that, and it's *them* that are afraid of going against what Rush excretes because of people like you.

    Not a hard concept to grasp, chief.

    August 23, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. carlin123

    What is ACTUALLY good for the country is for the government to stop spending money. Something this President and like minded people simply don't understand.

    August 23, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. steve-0

    ...only those who care about this country

    August 23, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Joe Hates Government

    This clown is so out of touch with American and reality. Thats what happens when you are on million dollar vacations, playing golf all the time, and on a bus on the campaign trail. I know thousands of people, and not one of them agrees with anything this dolt does.

    August 23, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Atul C.

    Why don't you also say that many democrats disagree with me privately but due to pressure from left-wing media, they wouldn't come forward.

    August 23, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. Shelia

    Is obama suggesting they shouldn't represent the people that voted them in??? um aren't they suppose to represent us? so i would think they should fear backlash as in recall or voting for people who do represent them. What are they then if they don't represent the people who voted for them..

    August 23, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. miami

    Oh wait a munite why we have cuban like rubio in office he will never see good for american ...i would like to said after what this country been going to and now the we are in the right track.. why in the world you want to stop the economic grow..please people we are not a children no more we no what right and wrong If you dont want american grow and you want to stay in one thing like repeal obama care you just the enemiof the american people When
    you see million amarican without no health care and those guy do free health care for themself and their families what about the others families you dont care you greedy and evil...im a independent i dont like none of the party but i stand for what right . i vote for the guy who care about the poor care about middle class american Stand for something america strong base on the founder of middle class the hard worker.. please rubio and ted cruz i dont thing your understand what its mean to be american .american help its own peoplealways tand wait them .

    August 23, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. smkedbacon

    If you recall under Clinton the government went into a shut down. The only difference would be under Clinton Bill was busy with Monaca with Obama he will be golfing with Tiger Woods and Tiger's girlfriends.

    August 23, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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