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

    Dear Obama. You are a narcissistic jerk, the only people that agree with anything you do or say are 3rd and 4th generation, welfare sucking, uneducated, lazy, leeches on society.

    August 25, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  2. Ken

    Can you say delusional? Man I am sick of this man and the Democratic party. They walk around playing different groups of people off each other to get votes in order to gain power, and then use that power to make people dependent on them and government so they keep voting for them. Come on, admit it .. who are you more likely to vote for, the candidate promising to reign in government spending, or the candidate who says reigning in that spending will hurt program "X" (which you are using) so not only won't they reign in that spending but they'll tax this tiny portion of the population to give you even more. Unfortunately many of my fellow citizens can't comprehend this. Let me try and simplify the Democratic Party platform so maybe you understand ... You the American Citizen have become so pathetic you can't accomplish anything without government help. No matter if it's insurance or buying a home or your retirement, you are just to stupid to do that on your own. So vote for us and we will take care of you.

    August 25, 2013 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  3. wayne

    What the country is putting up with from our government isn't new, it is just our generation that is seeing it with our own eyes. Governments, while they are a necessity for the care and feeding of our society they are also a magnet for those who desire power and money. The problem is that it is hard to find good help when it comes to dealing with the great temptations of money and power. Mind you, there are no poor or middle class in congress and none of them are going broke while in the government. Not to mention, the retirement package is pretty sweet. Also they are the ones deciding how much they make. Also, while it may look like we are only a two party system we aren't. There are other parties bidding for government position. We just don't pay much attention to them. Plus the two parties that we do pay attention to by name (republican vs democrat) are both supposeably for the people and the union. Unfortunately that is where the parties stop being the same. This is where money and power play a big role. The republicans want the money and power to be pretty much in the hands of 1% of the population where the democrats want to spread it out a bit more. On the people side we get into pressures that have always been a part of politics since the beginning, namely religion. Religious beliefs on issues like marriage, men vs women, birth control, race, military and even what faith will be dominant over shadow the logistical operation of a country. The size and age of the voting public along with the different races all vying for control and power all become a factor. Then of course there is the race of the rich. They too are vying for the power and control of the government and thus the country. On top of it all, no seems well enough informed or educated to make a healthy decision about who to vote for leaving the masses open to well tained manipulators. For me, the republicans will walk over the bodies of everyone in this country and try to take every last dime from anywhere and every where it is available. They will say they care with a knife behind their back. The democrats aren't any angel but they are at least seemingly interested in forward motion and dealing with the changes needed in our times. But don't let them out of your sight, money and power are pwerful mojo.

    August 25, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  4. sprint32

    Congress is full of not Obama as I read peoples comments. Congress is not worried about the American people its worried about doing whatever they can to make it difficult for Obama to govern this country so it looks like he is failing. The acts of congress should be treated as treason on some levels. It makes no since that they would be willing to shut down government which would negatively affect so many people excluded congress because they are rich.

    August 25, 2013 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  5. ep tor

    What would make my day is to see anther Democrat elected president. What a great way to rub it into the GOP's noses that the people won't tolerate obstructionism.

    August 25, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  6. zippy

    Sure they do.

    August 25, 2013 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  7. JC

    The problem, people, is that a bunch of stuff the president got behind IS NOT FUNDED, or is funded on an assumed reality – you know, like how the California Lottery was going to fully fund schools? How well did that work out? The healthcare law is completely unfunded; Obama pushed to borrow from Medicare to cover it. Why the hell do you think they pushed back a key provision for a year? Did NO ONE in charge read the damned bill? It's so obviously bad that some of the bill's DEMOCRATIC co-authors have expressed dismay over the likely outcomes, and have even suggested getting rid of or delaying parts. Here's a little tip: if it ain't funded, it adds to the debt. Where the hell are the adults? The president and congress both need a timeout; and we need to fix this obviously broken system of buck passing.

    August 25, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  8. Ohreally

    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"

    Please by all means do tell what he's lying about. You are so deep in the echo chamber you wouldn't know the truth if it hit you in the face.

    August 25, 2013 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  9. Steve

    I don't get it, I read through the comments and all I see are people pointing fingers at the "other" side. Let the government shut down regardless of which side of the aisle they sit on, they haven't done the one thing they get paid for since 2009. They haven't passed a budget. Both sides. If I failed to do my job for 4 years, I would no longer have one. Fire them all.

    August 25, 2013 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  10. Brooks

    Obamacare needs to crash and burn.

    August 25, 2013 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  11. Oliver A. Dyer

    So lets shut down the government so a political party can make a point. So the government workers(including GI's) will have to scramble to make mortgage, rent, car note, food and other living expense payments. While congress, because they are sooooo dedicated to their principles, will continue to get paid even during the shut down. I have read a good number of them are in the "upper middle class" to "independently wealthy" range. That certainly makes it easier to talk about a "shut down" that doesn't reach out and touch you personally.

    Our politics sometimes is utterly useless in moving the country ahead. In the process of obtaining two business degrees, working in private, local government and military environments, I have yet to see an instance in which various degrees of compromise did not move things forward.

    August 25, 2013 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  12. Tony

    Obama and the Republicans work for the same families.

    August 25, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  13. James

    Borrow ? Borrow from who ? China not to fiscally stable either !

    August 25, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  14. Jesse Lambert

    Emperor Zero, "Sometimes they say to me privately"

    So what you are saying is, what little republican support that you have, you jeopardize, by airing their private comments to you nationally, and you wonder why nobody wants to cooperate with you or trusts you?

    August 25, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  15. philabias

    The biggest lier in US history says so!
    so which 1 of you fools believe him?

    August 25, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  16. moderatejoe

    President Obama is correct in that this is what a number of GOP Congressmen are thinking, it just a lie that they'd be telling im as he doesn't have a relationship with Congress GOP or DNC as it just about him.

    August 25, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  17. dudley

    What the Republicans "publicly" agree on is that Obama is the worst President in the history of the United States. And that is quite the accomplishment.

    August 25, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  18. Average Joe

    I am totally ashamed at how corrupt and evil our United States of American Government has become, especially how they get away with all the negligence and crimes creating real scandals all happening from the very small to the very big Obama, Our great country was safe and secure but now it has become dangerous and life threatening to all it's Citizens, With a God like Jesus who needs Thugs like Obama and his corrupt Government and what they do not know is how they are being exposed of their crimes and cover ups. When Almighty God created the universe he did it in a certain Riteous perpetual indelible motion, one of these properties is that unriteouness would be exposed and weeded out just for the sake of maintaining true righteousness created by him. Watch out corrupt Government of USA, you are and shall be exposed and weeded out very soon, God will no longer tolerate the corruption especially in a country founded and blessed by his principles.

    August 25, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  19. Tom

    It really bothers me to see how a certain group of people are willing to hurt the whole country to get what they want. And then say its for the betterment of everyone. Just shut it down, well then lets start with their pay their medical coverage for them an their family(all their relatives, moms, dads, brothers, all of children) This is the government of the people not a private club. Respect your position an then show it. When you do good, good things happen . Were you not raised any better. then so show it. As adults you remind me of a punch of kids, what are you going to do next take your Ball home an cry? This is not be written about what party I'm for or against. Its about THE PEOPLE YOU SERVE!!

    August 25, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  20. tayllor1234

    What is barry, 12?

    August 25, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  21. LakeRat1

    Obama haters, enjoy it while you can. Now, even Republicans are getting increasingly sick and tired of you nut-jobs. Some Repubs are even starting to "find a pair" and stand up to you. Doing stupid things like attempting to defund the government will only speed up the process.
    I can't believe Boner was stupid enough to make that statement: "We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal."
    That will really resonate with the American people! You'll be judged, alright!

    August 25, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  22. jamie

    Obama has lost the WhiteHouse

    August 25, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  23. ManWithThe1000PoundBrain

    @Dan, the "political tactic" that Obama is using is based on facts and reality. I know that you tea sippers have a hard time with "facts" and "reality." The fact is, there are "normal" people in the GOP and then there are people like you. The "normal" people in the GOP say they are tired of the GOP being the "stupid" party and say that people that think like you–and the other GOPers that want to shut down the government, like Cruz are "wacko-birds." The GOP's future on the national stage is deteriorating because of this schism within the GOP.

    August 25, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  24. Dean

    10 trillion is what Obama will add in 8 years to the nation debt . That is as much as all presidents before Obama combined. Democrat are very proud of that.

    August 25, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Rich

    Conservative blowhards are always eager to start a trillion dollar war resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands – being the good Christians that they are – but healthcare funding? No, we can't have that.

    August 25, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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