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. amanda johnson

    The parties are not relevant.

    The Country is Poor and Bankrupt because of Government Spending and Regulation. The government is too bid. The country is RICH without the government stealing everyone's money and wasting it in bureaucracy.

    I am ashamed of what America has put up with. Lies, Lies, Lies.

    August 24, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Roy Galutia

    Obama the pied piper of the modern era ...Plays Shape shifted tunes and his followers flock to him by the droves ...only to find out to late it was a different tune he played....

    August 24, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Get Real "Real Truth"

    This article is inaccurate when describing the Ted Cruz and others will use shutting down the government to defund obummer care. What they have said is simple, we will fund everything but obummer care. So if OB and his group want to avoid the shut down remove the funding for the healthcare act and nothing get shuts down. It is ob and his people unwilling to let ob care stand on its own because it is both Rep and Dems that would be on the side of not funding it.

    August 24, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Zach

    Unfortunately many of our fellow citizens can't understand the fact that republican party is a party of the rich and they have no interest for the well being of the common man in this country. They are only interested in creating frenzy about misinformation – whether it is President Obama's birthplace or affordable care or gun control or affordable college education, to get votes of the ill-informed that will keep them in power. Let us try to educate people so that our nation will progress.

    August 24, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Maltytasker

    It's sad to see how the Republican Party has become the party of fear and hate. I used to at least listen to what they had to say, and have even voted for GOP candidates for various offices, but their current intolerance and willingness to hurt the country to get their way has completely turned me off.

    August 24, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Robert McCabe

    All those who believe the liar raise your hand.

    August 24, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Roy Galutia

    @ Zach Prior to WW2 , similar disinformation was sold to a German population which bought it hook line and sinker...thier government could do no wrong wasn't til it was over that the German found out the extent of the deception .... We the People are the keepers and custodian of our government if we don't keep an objective eye out for problems ...we may well share the same fate as Germany ...

    I have watched Obama and his spokesmen over the last 5 years answer direct questions that had simple answers virtually every time they Wiesel worded and shape shifted their words to paint a different picture ...

    August 24, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. davecu

    As with s much of what he says, I call BS on Barry.
    Even HE doesn't think it's workable. Why else has he delayed implementation of key provisions of the law he crafted behind closed doors.
    History will not be kind to this administration.

    August 24, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. SciGuy

    Obamacare will destroy this already teetering economy.

    August 24, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Buddy

    Obama privately agrees that his policies are destructive to America. He whispers that he intends to destroy the coal industry, impose a Marxist dictatorship, and throw everyone who opposes him in a concentration camp.

    August 24, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. Peter Q Wolfe

    According to Bill Clinton, more democrat presidents balance the budget than do republican presidents especially since WWII. Every single balance budget needs more revenue and its a misnumer to think taxes onto themselves drive unemployment. The reality is that automation will eliminate 1/8 of service sector jobs and 1/6 of manufactering jobs by 2025 and coal mining has eliminated jobs by mountain top removal and our education regime has epic drop out rates in major urban cities. These are facts republicans not cherry picked ones either and I've studied economics in college as well.

    August 24, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Jim

    Elaine Coker...a good point, but please don't call them "progressives", especially capitalizing that word! I'm not even a Republican yet I think that Democrats, liberals are truly the farthest thing from being "progressive". It's a name they've given themselves to make the country think they're "moving forward" and other crap. No, instead, they keep pushing this country down the toilet.

    August 24, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Another Voice

    Sadly, this supports what I already felt about my once strong Republican party - the politicians I have met lately are mostly cowardly bureaucrats, rather than men and women of vision and passion. For most, their only passion is for power.

    August 24, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. Chicago101

    When do Republicans meet with Obama in the first place? Obama must be dreaming about them every night and wakes up thinking – They agreed with me in private?

    Can he name one?

    August 24, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. Willie12345

    Are these the same folks that secretly gave Harry Reid, Mitt Romney's tax returns ?

    August 24, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Bubba10

    OK, so how many laws has Bohner repealed? Lets start with the judgement....

    August 24, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  17. Jay

    Obama, nor the Democrats in congress care about this country. If they did then they would quit rewarding laziness, and reward working people. Obama's first order of business was to take over healthcare, and he did it. He does not want to deal with younger Republicans, only the old dogs who he can control. Tell me what working person not receiving government assistance enjoys going to buy groceries now, or filling their tank up with gas to go back and forth to work.

    August 24, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  18. A Little Bird

    @Dan 2:12 PM – Please let us know which statements Obama is quoted as having said in this article were lies, and what is your supporting facts for saying that they are. Seriously, we want to know. Even his statement saying, "Some republicans agree with him" on not shutting down the government may or may not be true. I suspect it's true based on the fact there are still a lot of republicans in congress who have never supported shutting down the government. I have no way of knowing for sure, any more than you have of knowing for sure it's untrue.

    August 24, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  19. Kenman

    Zach, That's because all that is nonsense! There are more millionaires in the Democrat Party, but theirs was mostly inherited, of course!

    And, you talk about keeping people "ill – informed", the Democrats have made a cottage industry out of it; it's called the mainstream media. It was the mainstream media that didn't even inquire about Obama's birth certificate, OR the "affordable care" legislation that Nancy Pelosi said they would have to pass before we could find out what was in it!

    And, the only "common man" that the Democrats are familiar with is the ones that they buy off with their social welfare, food stamps, disability, etc, for their dependency and VOTES! That's another reason they want same-day voter registration because they can scoop drunks up off the streets, pay them with booze or smokes, and get their uninformed votes to keep them in office perpetually!

    August 24, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. Magister

    How wonderful it will be when the Next Revolution deals properly with this hot pickle.

    August 24, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  21. Peter Q Wolfe

    According to President Clinton, more democrat presidents have lessened the deficit than do republican presidents especially post-WWII. Its scheduled that 1/8th of service sector and 1/6th of manufacturing jobs will be automized and much of the coal industry already had jobs erased by mountain top removal for years now, so taxes a lot of the time has nothing to do with it. For example, look at Australia's unemployment 5% or Switzerland, etc so these generalizations aren't true by the G.O.P.

    August 24, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. Zane

    Why do Republicans and Conservatives gripe so much about Obama's spending? If you look at the facts, you'll see that Republicans historically spend more money and expand the size of government far more than Democrats.

    Also, anyone who paid attention in Economics 101 knows that reducing government spending during an economic recession is like putting an anorexic on a starvation diet. When jobs are scarce and nobody is spending money, the only thing that keeps the economy from spiraling into a depression is an injection of cash from the government.

    August 24, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. esu589

    Even members of his own party are tired of his incompetence

    August 24, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. Dan

    I will never vote GOP again. They are no longer interested what's best for the country.

    August 24, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  25. Loathstheright

    But Republicans are all about country first....Right? Right?

    August 24, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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