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. Tea Party Thomas

    Some Republican should fear the more Conservative " TEA PARTY-REPUBLICANS".

    We are going defund Obama Care you can take that to the bank. If the old guard Republicans get in our way.
    They will find themselves replaced with a true Republican.

    August 23, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. Idonttrustcnn

    This story is so biased. The title says "GOP fears Rush" but it comes out of Obama's mouth. Congratulations CNN for an excellent piece of propaganda.

    August 23, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. Thom

    Hey Cruz.....get a life....... quit playing politics with other people's lives, health and careers.

    August 23, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. pyusmc66

    This is right on target. Many Republicans are afraid of what happened to Richard Lugar in the last election. Being challenged by right wing Tea Potty loon in a primary, who then loses the general election by a huge margin. Face it Limbots and Teapoopers, you are irrelevant and can only destroy the Republican party.

    August 23, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. the hippies were right

    @the truth you can't handle. Typical Fox sheep comment. Look at the bills the house has tried to pass the last few years. Equal pay for woman...voted no! Let immigrants innocent family members stay, voted no! Make it harder to vote for people in poor areas, voted yes! A womans right to have an abortion if she feels its best for her, voted NO. Take away voting rights for black communities, voted yes. Where are your facts? I see only opinions. Or are these bills all fiction? Who's the idiot now?

    August 23, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. Chucker

    Why would anyone fear a progressive rock band comprised of three wholesome Canadian gentlemen?

    August 23, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Steven Colo

    While Obama is correct, I don;t see what good making it public will do. It will just make the GOP dig in more stubbornly.

    August 23, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. ron

    "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."

    Spoken like a true politician! Just talk talk talk and no results.

    August 23, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. MalBGood

    Still trying to deny the health care reform, despite the fact of the law having been passed and upheld by the Supreme Court, even after President Obama has compromised and allowed several sections to be delayed? Really? Even after the majority of this country polled has supported the need for reform? That's not just petty, its dangerous, especially when these irresponsible legislators are willing to bring us to the brink of a government shut down over it time and time again.

    This grid lock in Congress is not just hurting the GOP's chances in future elections. This hurts the country as a whole. The real core of that party needs to start writing their leaders to do whatever they can to publically reject the influences of the likes of the Tea Party and Rush Limbaugh. We need real bipartisanship to return to continue improving our nation, and the kind of results that can only come from both parties working together and compromising.

    August 23, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. The Truth Hurts

    A grown man being afraid of a 60 something talk show host, or even using the lame excuse that he is, should not hold public office.

    August 23, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. Will

    This guy is a train wreck for a President, and Obamacare will be that shining example. Let it pass for all to see. The biggest middle class tax hike in history coming soon, and the Obama leming supporters have no idea what's about to hit them....

    August 23, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. Ryan in Texas

    I'm sure the leftists like Republicans who don't block Democrats.

    August 23, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. SV

    Rush and the Teapublicans are bullies. How do you deal with a bully? You stand up to them. And apparently Republicans are incredibly weak sissies who are afraid to defend themselves....or the country they say they love so very much. Now it makes more sense why they cling to their guns. Republicans are chronically frightened of darn near everything. They should change their logo from an elephant to a rabbit. A very scared little rabbit.

    August 23, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. ziplaw

    Republicans are so influenced by Rush Limbaugh that they're last two presidential candidates were John McCain and Mitt Romney; which means Rush has very little influence among the majority of the party

    August 23, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. matkins4268

    BLAME BLAME BLAME BLAME is that all he have to offer

    August 23, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Bobbi

    They are afraid of RUSH. Please...the problem with the Republican party is that they have failed us completely if they let this train wreck of a health program go into effect. The government won't shut down. Come on Obama!!! Everything out of your mouth is a lie. Blame it of Rush. Cry baby

    August 23, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Old West

    Let the fading republicans tear each other into small pieces...they deserve each other...

    August 23, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. lol

    Someday, maybe, politicians can remember they are not republicans, nor are they democrats, beholden to an ideology...they are americans first.

    August 23, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Ted Cruz is a closet commie

    GOP fear Tea Party and a fat bloated talk show host? Really? Reeaaally? Sounds like ratings week. Maybe they will lose some of their sponsors.

    August 23, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Dil

    @lara99
    I don't see how what they are doing is wrong, the gospel is all just wild, unfounded accusations.

    August 23, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. Jez

    Republicans backward are cavemen. Give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves.

    August 23, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. Roger

    Most Republicans are racists and they afraid that people are going compare a black president-Obama’s many good deeds for this country that many presidents have failed to do in decades. Republicans are really in a bad position because probably most of them thought a black president will be so damn but unfortunately, Obama is a very smart man with a big heart and very popular with the American people and this is why most republicans are trying so hard to bad mouth him so he can look bad. Republicans, please learn this, if you did your jobs right, Americans would like you but unfortunately, instead of focusing on doing your jobs, you are trying so hard to pull down the president so you can look good but sorry, we know what Mr. President-Obama has done for this country.

    August 23, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. oh really, give us a break

    you have got to be kidding us obama, republicans secretly agree with you, I guess those drugs and your imagination is at work within your mind, half of your own party doesnt agree with you, stop lieing, stop whining, just stop, maybe if you showed a true willingness to create good rather than divide. your racism is truly shown with your no comments on the black on white killings and beatings recently, this could have been my kid, my grandkid and my grandfather, but no its all about you, well not for me, I dont agree with you, I dont care about you and I personally dont like you.

    August 23, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. fayray11x

    zzz zzz same old GOP. angry old white men. dying off a little more every day. soon to be a relic party

    August 23, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. Mr Foobar2u

    Reagan tripled the national debt.. George W went and doubled it..and left 2 wars while cutting taxes (first time in the history of man that was ever done by any government) and borrowed, borrowed, borrowed...
    Give me a tax and spend liberal than a borrow and spend "conservative"...

    August 23, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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