August 23rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 years 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. Mike in SA

    And many, many Democrats secretly agreed with Bush...right.

    August 24, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  2. Steve

    Count me as one Republican who openly disagrees with Obama.

    August 24, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  3. felicityva

    Name names, Mr. President. Who are the Republicans who side with you in private? Without names, it's just another story with 'unnamed sources'.

    August 24, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  4. ya rights

    And they talk about the Republicans being in a bubble, your in one yourself Obama.

    August 24, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. Jerry Schull

    When I see Snowden welcomed back as a whistle-blowing hero by the government, I will believe and trust the government. Until then I see the government and Obama as complicit in illegal activity.

    Secondly, the recently revealed TPA 2.0 program that undoubtedly was sponsored by the NSA that allows spying on any so equipped computer without a warrant has got to be discontinued. This is tantamount to the rootkit that Sony put on their music CD's years back. It should be illegal, period.

    August 24, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Mike

    Gutless politicians who are afraid to stand up for what is right.

    If it is right you should be able to explain it and the voters should understand. But our politicians are gutless and lazy and are afraid of the ignorant citizen. So instead of teaching or explaining what is right they would rather just tow the line.

    How do these people sleep?

    August 24, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. impact0900

    Let them shut it down. I think that will finally motivate enough people to get out to the polls and get rid of these moronic Tea Party Republicans. Go for it!!!

    August 24, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. Seola

    For Obama to sit around campaigning and constantly talking about how the GOP won't talk to him (which isn't true but I digress) and how they won't work with him, meet with him, etc. and refuse to even acknowledge him – I find it hard to believe they are somehow confiding in Obama now. If you believe Obama for this, then you must admit he was a liar when he said the GOP has shut him out. If you believe Obama then, he is a liar now. Take your pick.

    August 24, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. BD70

    Our Congress should only care about what is right for all Americans not what Rush might think or the tea party. Hope the spineless ones get voted out. Get someone in there who does the job we hire them for.

    August 24, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Randy

    So who are these Repbublicans that agree with Obama? As far as passing new laws being the mark of a productive Congress, why? Passing laws just for the sake of saying laws were passed is stupid. Legislation should be passed only when it is well planned and necessary for the proper function of government. Also, why does it seem like so many new laws are intended to limit the right of private citizens? Our nation began by creating limits on the power of government. Yet in the last few decades, it seems like the sole purpose of federal legislation is to take from the private citizen and give to the federal government. Maybe this push for math and science in our schools should be tempered with a greater focus on history and government!

    August 24, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Bob

    "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" – why do they need to constantly pass new laws? I'd rather see them on a record pace to repeal them.

    August 24, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. conoclast

    Ted Cruz would gladly repeal the very Laws of Physics if he saw it as a path to power.

    August 24, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. RAR

    all lies. oba is behind govt spying and irs problem. his lack of americanism and ignorance of anything how a govt should be run is proof of his hate for the usa. it is also evidenced by his low info voters. blind and dumb voting for the blind and dumb.

    August 24, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. Kip

    I hope they don't agree. How many more lies can this guy get away with. I feel the help and the cost of hope for the middle class. The middle class might as well buy pants with a zipper on the backs of their pants with this guy in office.

    August 24, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. joe

    Yes, sometimes personal ideology have to be compromised if it would damage the harmony of human race,world, country, society, friends, family and oneself. chaos creates opportunities, but harmony keeps happiness. It depends on where you stand.

    August 24, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. Jason Ranson

    Harry "Let Me Sped Your Money" Reid has been in control of the Democratic-led Senate for some time now. He has yet to present a comprehenive budget to be voted on the floor. Why? He doesn't want his party to actually have to go on the record voting for higher spending, larger government, and an abject lack of fiscal discipline. Harry, Patty Murray, Chuck Schumer and the entire Demoratic band of spenders haven't been able to once actually REDUCE the size of government because, bascially, they are believers in the concept that larger and larger government programmatic spending is what the country needs even though the average citizen in all of their states does NOT believe that. The average joe is sick of watching Federal and State employees paid more money than they earn in the private sector and also enjoying post-retirement and health care benefits that none of us in the private sector enjoy in our employment. So the democratic polic machine is to never vote on any budget, blame Republicans, and use the national press corp to go along.....

    August 24, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Sarah S.

    Obama is delusional! He has destroyed America, our laws, suspended our freedoms and decimated our economy. NO ONE agrees with him, except the left-wingnut liberals and staunch DemocRATS.

    August 24, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Armor66

    Obama's economic policies are those of a teenager with his first credit card. We are 17 Trillion dollars in debt with no fiscal solution on the horizon. Spending is already out of control, and we are implementing the largest social welfare program in history with Obama care. Socialist economic policies NEVER lead to the creation of wealth only the destruction of it.

    August 24, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. gop usa

    Shutting the gov is only going to make things worse for the gop, there are other ways to make a point other than commiting suicide

    August 24, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Dave

    Republicans are the cause of all of Americas problems and if they think they will ever win the Presidency again they better think again. This Republican Congress is the worst in history.

    August 24, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Bill

    What difference does it make? (Media-elected President Hillary Clinton)

    August 24, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Larry L

    Sarah S. and others are themselves delusional. It was YOUR President who operated a cut & spend economy. HE started two un-funded wars. HE left office with over 8 million jobs lost and a horrible recession. HE issued the first bailout package. Its YOUR GOP who obstructed all progress in the Congress and House. YOUR GOP who filibustered every Senate bill – even their own! YOUR GOP who caused the lowering of America's S&P rating. YOUR GOP who offered no ideas for jobs, healthcare, climate change, or immigration reform.

    August 24, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Ryder J

    "We shouldn't be judged on how many laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal."

    Are you kidding me? Boehner has to go down as one of the worst SOH in American history. This is the exact opposite of what needs to be occurring and precisely what is wrong with politics.

    August 24, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. Scott Moore

    Both the Republican and Democratic parties need to get it together. They're serving lobbyists more than they're serving the nation. But the Republican party is particularly entrenched in religious and social ideologies that are crippling the nation. Shutting down the government will again stall the economy, lowering consumer confidence and taking back into recession. A political party that is willing to do that for their own purpose does not have the best interests of the nation at heart – they are willing to sacrifice the nation to "win" their own turf battles. For the Republicans it's not about the country anymore, it's about winning, it's about bankrupt iidiologies and personal financial interest at the expense of "the people.

    I think it's time we the people started filing class action law suits against all of our congressional leaders, holding them each personally accountable for breach of fiduciary duty, and failing to uphold the constitution, or what little is left of it.

    August 24, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Ramon F Herrera

    "The president is even more delusional than during his first term."

    Right, a winger-bagger calling other delusional. Wanna bet that Republicans (the DINOs who have confided go him) WILL NOT contradict the president?

    August 24, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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