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. Ramon F Herrera

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

    ... and yet, people continue voting for him (and next, for Hillary).

    Who is the delusional now?


    • Most Admired Man in America: Barack Obama

    • Most Admired Woman in America: Hillary Rodham Clinton

    (both, for several years in a row)

    August 24, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story: The deficit has SHRUNK remarkably under Obama. Raising the debt ceiling is the act of paying bills already incurred in years past (yes, even well before know, such as that $2 trillion tag and counting for Iraq-Afghanistan adventures). Bush and the Republicans in control of the purse strings from 2000-2006 ran up more debt than in the previous 225 years of U.S. federal spending. Remember such lovely items as the UNFUNDED $600 billion prescription drug package? Never mind, everything is Obama's fault. I just wish we could return to those great days of 2007.

    August 24, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. geckopelli

    "Secret" and "Obama" go together way to often for me.

    August 24, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. DickPerry

    The world is laughing at you USA.. LMAO...

    August 24, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. MJR

    Why aren't the republicans speaking out if they agree with President Obama?

    August 24, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Rosslaw

    Are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio really American citizens? Rubio invented a false family history where he lied about how his parents supposedly had to flee Castro's Cuba, whicjh never happened, and Cruz seems confused about where he was born and what countries, including Cuba, he might be a citizen of. And both want to do serious damage AGAIN to the US economy to oppose the ACAwhich the Heritage Foundation wrote, Republicans promoted and Mitch Romney put into effect? Are Ted and Marco Fidel's last laugh on us?

    August 24, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. nytw

    Any RINO that supports any Obama policy should resign. They no longer represent READ CONSERVATIVE VALUES.

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

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

    Hey, Einstein: How long do you figure I took to decide the EXACT words that I was going to use in the Benghazi hearings? How much experience do you have writing political speeches compared with me and my world-class staff?

    The term "what difference does it make?" was not said by accident: it was coldly calculated to produce the EXACT effect that it did.

    IOW: Thank you for being played.

    -Signed: Hillary Rodham Clinton

    You right wingerr are really, honest to God PATHETIC

    August 24, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. Jeff G.

    It pains the Republicans terribly to see my house value come back, employment come back, and the country move forward after 8 years of their failed policies. When the conservatives cry about how Obama has ruined the country.. I wonder - what country do you live in and what were you actually hoping would happen to it?

    August 24, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Larry Mietus

    Lets look at facts for a big change:
    1. Obamacare has not even started: Claims of how much of a disaster it is are based on CONJECTURE as we have hot
    seein it implemented. Y. I discard all claims of how bad it is till it gets going.. Chicken little claims of the Sky is falling are just that, Fears. Then lets see , not just fear it, and repeal if bad, keep if good.
    2. Deficit spending began under Reagan in a "New Day for America" and continued under multiple Presidents, Democratic and Rebpublican to boost an economy that no longer produced Jobs without deficits. Richard Nixon broke the Gold Standard to fund the end of the Vietnamh war with Paper money, fiat currency. Bill Clinton enacted Welfare reform severely limiting Welfare. Bill Clinton allowed banks and investment firms to merge then Republicans voted the deregulation to allow Mortgage backed securities that killed the economy under George Bush., not Obama. This is not black and white. Lets stop the namecalling and see that Americans, you and I have demanded these actions by electing these presidents.
    3. Our national debt is High but a great deal, is owed to , The Federal Reserve who is buying our Debt, With MONEY THEY PRINTED, ie Quantitative easing.. Ie. "We buy back Chinese owned US debt by giving them money we just Printed". Do we really "OWE" the fed anything? They just printed the money. Really, we should encourage more Quantitative easing, its not even real money. Chill out on this National Debt. We owe it to guys with the printing press who really are not going to ever want the money back.

    What I am trying to say is think and read. Dont listen to the pundits on either side. Get facts and make your own decisions. Stopping governement because we want to stop our own printing presses- is just silly. There is no inflation as people are now sucking up the dollars we mint, Silly them.

    August 24, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. USMC Veteran

    Obama displays zero leadership. He has not unified this country – he is clueless and will go down in history as a failure. In the meantime we all suffer: economically, race relations are horrible, promoting gay rights, obamacare, joblessness. The fact he has so many devoted followers (and MSNBC and the media) is really sad to me. So misinformed and mislead.
    Look at the military – women in combat units, gays - all this political correctness has no place in combat. And now due to Obama's leadership people will die. Women cannot hack being grunts - fact over 80% of females were pulled out of duty in garrison posts in Iraq and Afghan due to urinary infections due to the conditions (and they weren't even out in the field doing real ops!!!). They are inneffective and others will die. Same with pushing gay rights – nobody I mean nobody cared before if someone was gay. Now watch for quota's for promotions (it is coming) – and $$ needed for multiple housing units and billeting. And dropping the standards again. People will die. There is no 2nd place in combat Obama!!! So sad for America to fall like this so fast!

    August 24, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Gregory

    Spending bills originate in the house, which is controlled by republicans.

    If you want to add up what Obama's policies have added to the national debt, it comes in around $982 billion. Really. TARP, tax cuts, Medicare Plan D, Iraq and Afghanistan are all on Bush. Obama did not institute these expenditures that we are still paying for today.

    But it really doesn't matter because the only party that counts in DC these days is the corporatist party. All of these guys leave office and help corporations get sweetheart tax laws written.

    Does anyone really believe the tax code became complicated by accident?

    August 24, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Jerry Okamura

    When should politicians do what they think is the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences, and when shouldn't they do what they think is the right thing to do, because of the possible consequences?

    August 24, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Mark

    The extreme polarization of the country worries me quite often ... and you can see it here.

    August 24, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Balanced journalism please

    Several members of my family serve in the education industrial complex and identify as progressive liberal leaning. They have commented frequently that they are fearful of speaking out against the destructive portions of progressive liberalism due to threats of retaliation from the adminstration of their academic institutions. The knife cuts both ways.

    August 24, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. chris hogan

    When did the Republican Party get so hijacked by the extreme nutwings that you can't even admit when you agree with a Democrat on something? I really wish we actually had two legitimate parties that, while they may disagree on HOW to get something done, could at least sit down and hash out a plan that would work for most of the country. Not in the 21st century, apparently. This Party has been pushed so far to the extreme that the real Republicans today are actually conservative Democrats.

    August 24, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. dajowi

    Maybe the first thing we should start doing to decrease government spending and increase the value of the dollar is to quit printing it.

    August 24, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Peter Q Wolfe

    Don't cut NIH for short term gain and for long term suffering! I will be part of a clinical trial perhaps in Miami pending FDA and NEI funding that could restore 100% of my vision next year. Please listen America that the government does do somethings right and this is one of them!

    August 24, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Dan

    The technical term for the tactic that Obama is using here is called "pants on fire" syndrome. A layman would know it simply as lying
    He is so full of it

    August 24, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Matt

    The Tea Party has changed me from being a straight line Conservative voter to a mostly Democratic voter.

    If they keep on pushing the moderates away there won't be any Republican party left.

    August 24, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Elaine Coker

    When the Progressives have drained every penny from the rich, and all the businesses are shut down and no money is left to tax anyone, what are all you BO sheeples going to do? That is where this administration is going with this. And frankly, I have to say that the there are many Progressive Republicans who think/believe the same as he does. They are all wrong and if this world continues much longer, we are all going to suffer.

    August 24, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Roy Galutia

    i It would be interesting to see a conversation among our founding fathers over the direction the knucklehead politicians are taking today ... even some conservatives are afraid of their own shadows

    August 24, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. sandalista

    This is slow political suicide by the GOP. Happy trails...

    August 24, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. taxedmore

    As for Republicans holding things up:
    Obama – Let's spend some more money we don't have.
    Democrats – Good idea, let's do that.
    Republicans – No! Enough is enough.
    Too bad the Democrats don't have brains enough to know that.

    August 24, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Pam

    President Obama says the sky is blue. Rand Paul immediately begins a filibuster as other GOP members threaten to shut down the country.
    Get on with running the country for the people who elected you NOT worrying about your next election to office!

    August 24, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26