Graham: 'Where the hell is the commander in chief?'
October 2nd, 2013
12:37 PM ET
12 months ago

Graham: 'Where the hell is the commander in chief?'

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Lindsey Graham grew furious Wednesday after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate committee the government shutdown "seriously damages" national security.

The South Carolina Republican blasted his fellow members of Congress for failing to reach a deal to end the shutdown, but he took particular aim at President Barack Obama.

"I think it's irresponsible for all of us to let it continue," he said. "But where the hell is the commander in chief?"

Clapper told the Senate Judiciary Committee that 70% of the intelligence community is being furloughed as a result of the shutdown, interfering with the government's ability to support the military, diplomats and policy makers.

Clapper said the law requires them to define "essential" employees as those who are "necessary to protect against imminent threat, imminent threat to life or property."

"The danger here, of course, is that this will accumulate over time. The damage will be insidious. So each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases," he continued.

Clapper said he shared the same information with the president.

If that's the case, Graham continued, then "why aren't the members of the House and the Senate in the White House right now to try to solve this problem?"

Just minutes before Graham asked the question, the White House announced the president had invited congressional leaders for a meeting late Wednesday afternoon.

The senator went on to argue there was a "huge difference" between shutdowns before and after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"And for the president of the United States, for our House Democrats to not negotiate is irresponsible. For our Republican Party, not to try to find a way to end this mess is irresponsible," he said.

– CNN's Josh Levs contributed to this report.


Filed under: Government Shutdown • Lindsey Graham • Senate
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. omeany

    What a drama queen Lindsay Graham is. I love how the GOP creates problems and them blames the Dems for not having perfect solutions. Face it guys, you lost. Now Americans don't have to worry about getting sick and having to declare bankruptcy because you earn to much money to qualify for any assistance but not enough to afford health insurance or health care. There's no point in discussing anything with the GOP until they accept that the ACA is here and here to stay.

    October 2, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. ghostwriter

    Republicans had 3 years to offer up something more than all out repeal. Asking for a reprieve a week before it's set to start is stupid. Especially when you have aggressive spent time on everything from Fast and Furious to the NRA. On 40+ votes to repeal it. Numerous voting law changes. Abortion legislation. Oh, and that freaking pipeline.

    At this point, you guys should really just sit back and let the grown ups handle this.

    October 2, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. kgala

    The Drama Queen Lindsey. If it is Irresponsible, and you do recognize it si Irresponsible, then why do you keep doing it before asking the question where the C-in-C is? Put a stop to it, won't you?

    October 2, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. sara

    LOL. Graham should be ASKING where is the Canadian named RAfael Cruz Who Started the Fire! Poor Boehner, left with the bag to hold, while Cruz has "scurried" off like the buzzard he is. This is sad, but these Clowns are a joke!

    October 2, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  5. gahh

    This coming from a man who said," He wished there were more illegals in this country, to give citizenship to". Lindsey Graham is taking money from Big Business Lobbyists, that want illegals here, for the cheap labor. Graham is a miserable low life traitor, to his own country. SC wake up!

    October 2, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. HeatherfromOhio

    I am so glad I am just a 20 something house renter that makes good money working for a company that is not impacted in any way by all of this. I find it kind of laughable but also hear my dad saying it's high time that Congress takes control of spending before it's too late to reverse our "treacherous" course. I said okay, whatever, and gave him a beer and a hug. I really don't have any worries in life. Already decided I'm never buying a house or paying property taxes. I max out my 401k so I can reduce my federal taxes owed, I keep my social circle small and tight and we all formed a pact to totally ignore the noisy radicals in society. So what if I'm still full of idealism and dreams. My dreams are actually coming true and I could care less about politicians and their really odd way of doing things. When I am old and gray, I know I'm taking my money and leaving for someplace else.

    October 2, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. obamafail

    What has Obama accomplished or succeeded at SERIOUSLY. He is a total failure and the very worst president this country has ever had. This imbecile can't do anything right. Putin has the guy pegged and exposed his weaknesses when he made him sit in the corner, put his red crayon away and shut up. IMPEACH. The Obama care website is a total fake..

    October 2, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Gary

    Here's an idea. If we don't have government, we don"y need congress. As of Yesterday, you should all be unemployed. Now, when we get the govt back up and running, we elect new representitives. And make it a national election. This way when a congressman gets the majority of votes in his little district, he can't say he was elected by a all Americans.

    October 2, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. the dude

    Oh Lindsey, whatever would we do w/out your pithy insights? But I do agree with a previous claim that if Obamacare succeeds (the real GOP fear), H. Clinton will be the next POTUS. On that note, if the ACA was truly as the GOP claims, they'd fund it, claime 'we told you so' when (if) it fails, win the Senate in '14 & take the Presidency in '16. But it won't fail, & the GOP won't win the Senate, or keep the House or gain the Administration. If I didn't find all politicians contemptible, this would be great theatre.

    October 2, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. the dude

    Ps – there is no negotiation. The GOP showed its hand when it made bizzare claims about unseating the president (rather than doing the work a state elected reps & senators to do) & destroying Obamacare. You can't say & attempt to kill it year after year, then beileve the party that wrote it, voted it & signed it will negotiate. only a fool believes a president would negotiate a law he initiated. the bill passed both chambers, was signed by the chief executive, survived a bogus legal battle in the Supreme Court, & now ACA is the law of the land. To not fund the ACA is non-negotiable. GOP lost the battle, & the election – on the ACA! – & now they must accept it, get over it & strategize to try & win the next battle/election; try to stay healthy for the larger war that they will inevitably lose if they remain out of touch with 'we the people' & serve the wealthy & moral minority.

    October 2, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. Bamabegone!

    Where has a "commander in chief" been ever since Obama was elected? There has been NONE - Obama was merely a "mirage" perpetuated by the liberal media - and he STILL knows NOTHING about commanding or being chief of anything - come on , people - he was a community organizer, for goodness sake!

    October 2, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  12. sajar

    Is impeachment an option for the House "representatives" who have created this? I want to fire them! Obamacare is providing a good job for me and 500 others who were hired at the call center where I work as licensed healthcare representatives. I hear horror stories from people who have been denied insurance or couldn't afford it. Plain and simply, the Tea Party Republicans SUCK-just when you think they couldn't possibly do anything stupider, they come through stupider than ever. I thought they were trying to win back the White House-keep doing crap like this and you don't stand a chance. Hey just so you idiots could understand why we need Obamacare, maybe we should remove your health insurance so you could really GET IT. Salaries-what are we paying you for?

    October 2, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. sajar

    Can their health insurance and salaries be removed as part of the shutdown? We should just say-you voted for a shutdown and that includes YOU here you go-as requested! that would be really funny and might teach them a thing or two!

    October 2, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. Catmandew

    42 times the senate has never voted on the house bills. The senate is obstructing things all the time! The house sent a bill to the senate they're supposed to vote on it like it or not. The Dems would rather shut the government down than fix Obamacare!

    October 2, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  15. Jack

    He waiting for you 2 branches of Congress to do their jobs!

    October 2, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  16. Mike

    Americans have the same constitutional right to bear healthcare as you have to bare arms. Treason is all that comes to mind.

    October 3, 2013 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  17. Steve

    So have they stopped ObamaCare yet? What are they doing? The Republicans are willing to tear this country apart by tearing at ObamaCare. What is worse? We need some sane Republcans to meet with Bohner and tell him what is really at stake, because right now, he is more in love with his speakership than he is with America.

    October 3, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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