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. Bill Smells

    LOL, the "privately" agree. Yeah, right. The president is even more delusional than during his first term.

    August 23, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. HomeBoy

    Empty suit trying to lie his way to his own vision

    August 23, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. Nodack

    I will never vote for another Republican. The ONLY thing they care about is their fight with Obama. If he came out tomorrow and said he supports all Americans breathing air, Republicans would try to stop breathing air out of spite and try to get Obama impeached for trampling on their Constitutional rights to not breath air if they want.

    August 23, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. Meh

    Glad they've told me about an "impending" shutdown. Judging by everything that's been accomplished so far, I wouldn't have been able to tell if they were shut down or not.

    August 23, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. McBob79

    Ahhh yes, more talk, no action and plenty of blame for everyone else. This is the Obama legacy... he is the spin-doctor in chief.

    August 23, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  6. Arthur

    Whats crazy... I live in Texas. I work a part time job that pays $11 an hr... my fulltime job I make $23 an hr. Why at my part time job white folks hate Obamacare and screaming their Republican. LOL... that's a joke, because half of them have medical conditions and the employer doesn't offer any insurance. Why do the the underclass white folks vote Republican when Republicans laws hurt them. Their making pennies and Republicans are trying their hardest to raise taxes on the poor and cut health care reforms that will help them. After interviewing the majority of my peers it appears only due to a black man being president is why they hate Obamacare and Obama himself. They are quick to say they don't need a handout... but as soon as Obamacare is passed they will be the first in line to have their medical condition examined. LOL...

    August 23, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. robert

    you going to believe a serial liar? Just like he was going to investigate Benghazi and the IRS. Sure.

    August 23, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Ricky

    Congress members are the most pathetic group of Americans in the whole country. Shame on them! They don't do any work, they only worry about covering their behind and blaming others, if they were in the private sector they would have been fired a long time ago. Shameful!

    August 23, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. blake

    There is little difference between a RINO and a Democrat, so that part of Obama's statement is true. Conservatives agree with Obama on virtually nothing. The man is bad, very bad, for our country. His deceptions, criminal activity, incompetence, and far left agenda are destroying us as a nation.

    August 23, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Dizzyd

    I thought the ACA was to help ppl to have the care they need regardless of their job, but esp. if they're unemployed. You say most of the unemployed are 'young and healthy', well sudden catastrophic illness can hit ANYONE at ANYTIME. What would you do then? This was designed for that purpose. Regardless of your party affiliation, why would ANYONE think cutting off care to the poor and needy and leaving them to fend for themselves is a return to the 'glory days of America'? Esp. if you call yourself 'Christian'? The ACA is far from perfect, but at least it's SOMETHING! If you GOPers have a better idea, please! Let's hear it!

    August 23, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. texasnotea

    What do the republicans really think will happen if they shut the government down? Do they think anybody but the smaller group of Obama haters will blame Obama? No! The vast majority of Americans already see the republicans as the reason Washington is not working for them and all of the time wasted by the republicans trying to repeal Obama care. Plus, they still believe that Romney won the election in spite of the five million more votes Obama won by. They are so delusional in their thinking they have forgotten the winner gets the spoil's! How does that go Rush? DITTO!!!!!!!!!!

    August 23, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  12. Brian Smith

    IIt is too bad that they don't agree publicly. Even if everyone in congress privately agrees with Obama, nothing still gets done.

    August 23, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. MiBigAl

    I will again ask this simple question. If pro is the opposite of con, is progress the opposite of Congress? Conservatives and Liberals, have we all lost the ability to just be Americans?

    August 23, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. gymviking

    Ok, so boiled down, the Prez is saying that some politicians (ie worthless leeches that often lie to voters) would side with him but they are worried that their constituents would see what they are doing and quickly vote them out...which he is blaming on other people and not bad policy and overspending. Such is the state of our leadership today.

    August 23, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Mwarren

    Obama just made a wonderful argument for smaller, less intrusive government. Washington is dysfunctional, every time we call for the government to fix some social or economic problem we accelerate its growth. I can understand why republicans are becoming more and more interested in the Tea Party. Americans want less central planning.

    August 23, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  16. Two thumbs

    I'm confused If Boehner already stated that he plans on passing a continuing resolution to avoid a government shut down, then why is Obama talking about it as if it is not going to happen.

    August 23, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. Peter Q Wolfe

    Well, I believe President Obama is stating the truth but its not just conservative politicians but the whole establishment that thinks this way irregardless of party affilation. More or less this doesnt' mean a majority but perhaps enough that normally sqeak a vote passed but since how next year is primary free for all that grid lock is inevediable. Sadly we have to make a decision on keeping medical research funded because of the sequeter that is pathetic.

    August 23, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. liberal disease

    Don't listen to Obama. if you already have stopped listening to him , good for you.

    August 23, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  19. EdL

    Names, please. Or are these silent cooperatives imaginary. Meanwhile, about that Red Line, Obama.

    August 23, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  20. No one

    You know quite well they'll be looking for those moderates to kick out and replace with people even more insane.

    August 23, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  21. Bart

    Republicans are crybabies. The nation as a whole disagrees with their policies. Even though Democrats have the White House and the Senate, the would rather blow up the country than give in to the will of the people.

    August 23, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. NorCalMojo

    Republicans only oppose amnesty on the radio. The leadership want that cheap labor.

    August 23, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  23. Namehn

    Getting more people insured is bad.
    Iraq war is good.
    Taking a surplus and plunging the country into deepest recession is good.
    Getting the country out of it is bad.
    The economy is back from bush abyss. Conservatives, what is your point? What has Obama wrecked and Bush saved?

    August 23, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  24. Bill

    We generally all agree, you have to go!!

    August 23, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  25. Coaster fan

    Marty, the deficit is shrinking under Obama, as is the unemployment rate. It was Bush who took us from a budget surplus to a multi-trillion dollar deficit by putting two wars on our credit card while reducing taxes. To increase spending while cutting revenue is a far better example of irresponsibility.

    August 23, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
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