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. Marty Says Shrink Government more

    Republicans should not buy into the reckless irresponsible way Obama is bankrupting and destroying America one job and one trillion dollars at a time.

    August 23, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. sparks2000

    senators afraid of a little criticism?do we have any senators who still have balls?

    August 23, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. nintex

    And what's with this term "train wreck", referring to the Affordable Care Act? Was this Rushbo's Vocabulary Word of the Day? I read it over and over in the conservative posts on CNN. I can always tell when Rush comes up with a new word and all the conservatives have to try it out for a couple of months. (Or if not Rush, then one of the other rocket scientists on Fox News).

    August 23, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. elkwc

    First I would like ot know the names of the RINO's who said they agreed with him. It could very easily be another of his lies. It could also be some of the RINO's. Until the Republicans/conservatives eliminate all of the RINO's they won't win another important election. Time to tell Powell, Christie and several others where to go roost. If it takes a shutdown so be it. I'm ready. It would be better than supporting a bad law. It is odd to me that Obama and the Liberals keep saying it is the law and the conservatives should accept that but Obama refuses to enforce several laws including existing immigration laws and the Liberals think that is fine. You can't have it both ways.

    August 23, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Rusty Shackelford

    And many Republicans also agree with Obama on the NSA

    August 23, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Elliott Carlin

    Privately Harry Reid told me he thinks Obama is an amateur.

    See how easy this is?

    August 23, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. BobInIrvine

    I'd agree in part with @elkwc. Of course, it's only because a further move to the right will ensure we won't have to deal with radical conservatives who only want to shut the "gubmint" down. Let 'em corner themselves into irrelevance.

    August 23, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. SomeOneElse

    "Republicans secretly side with him on wanting to avoid a government shutdown, but they’re afraid they may face backlash from the conservative right. "

    Yeah, sure they do... More lies from O. This administration has been a train wreck for America. He will be known as the Great Divider that bankrupt America.

    August 23, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Intransigence always ends badly for the inflexible party. I'd say to Obama: Stay firm because, Republican insanity notwithstanding, people know who's on their side. And it's not a Republican demagogue.

    August 23, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. Jakinak

    Right, and Nancy Pelosi "privately agrees" with John Boehner that the Affordable Care Act is a terrible piece of legislation...

    August 23, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Guest

    Interesting. He is having secret private meeting Republicans.

    August 23, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Sean

    Mass delusion permeates the mind of Obama. I once thought he simply was out for his own agenda now I believe he actually believes his own lies. Humans have an amazing ability to rationalize anything no matter what the facts may be. We are all guilty of this from time to time. The president is the only one who is responsible for a shutdown despite what he wants the world to believe

    August 23, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Fed Up

    Yea, there are a few "uncle tom" republicans out there. you know, demorats in Republican clothing? Chris Christie, McCain, and a few others come immediately to mind. We needs to cull the weak ones from the herd, and get some in there that have a backbone! This potus is destroying this country!

    August 23, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Fish

    Yes we know Mr. President this is all a matter of posturing but posturing is fleeting but these people are out for blood. This has been full-contact politics from the first day of your administration indicative of politicians protecting their money sources. End the war and your travails will end also!!!

    August 23, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. Joe M.

    This man really has trouble telling even a simple truth. There's not one chance he's even talked to a Republican in the last few months, let alone had one tell him they agree with him.

    August 23, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. LDub

    What he doesn't say is that some Dem.'s in both the House and he Senate agree that Obamacare is a bad program, and shouldn't be funded because it will be disastrous. Maybe it would be helpful to tell the whole truth Mr. President. Try it, you might like it!

    August 23, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. rbatnc

    The only good thing about a gov't shut down would be that we'd finally be rid of the repugs and the teabaggers in 2014.

    August 23, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Vijay

    Our Govt has been shutdown since 2009 January... There are only few bipartisan bills passed since January 2009. This need to change... Many pre-existing condition people are just waiting for Obama Care (Affordable Healthcare Act) to get started... If Govt. shutdown happens, it will be very bad for republicans rather than democrat. People are very tired of partisan politics since January 2009... People just waiting for bipartisan bills to jump start of slow recovery process began on July 2009. God Save America from partisan politicians..

    August 23, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Smeagel4T

    Obama should not buy into the reckless irresponsible way Republicans are bankrupting and destroying America one job and one trillion dollars at a time.

    August 23, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. Rob

    How do you know when Obama is lying? Easy. His mouth is moving

    August 23, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Mike Kaiser

    Both parties are guilty of reckless spending. It does not matter who the President is.
    Reagan ran up huge debt. Bush Sr did as well. W was out of control and Obama has spent
    money we don't have. A proper debate on how the money is being spent is an appropriate course of action. But let's be objective here. W spent money on the prescription drug program for Seniors and all the Republicans went along with it. W ran up huge debt on the Wars and whatever else you want to name. The current President has given us Obama care. I find it disingenuous at best for any Republican in Washington to talk of repealing healthcare for the Americn middle class while each of them accept "Free Healthcare" bought and paid for with taxes taken from the American people.. The hypocrites in Washington should take up a new motto and campaign slogan.......Let no politician in Washington receive entitlements purchased for them by the people! Until you give up yours Mr. Boehnor don't take mine!

    August 23, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. Gee

    Obama really is a snake as Oliver Stone said...it is easy for him to stand up in public and make a speech saying that "some republicans" secretly agree with him and goes on to bash the tea party and Rush Limbaugh because he knows that it is impossible for anyone to confirm whether he is lying or speaking the truth...total skunk-butt...

    August 23, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Perplexed

    And exactly how many bills have they repealed?? What a joke.

    August 23, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. abbydelabbey

    Politicians only care about themselves ... They really don't care about their "constituents" except to get the votes to stay in power and feed off the taxpayer funded gravy train and all the loot they get from the lobbyists.

    August 23, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. Ray

    Obama: There are also some Democrats that privately agree I am a bad president.

    August 23, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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