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

    Right. Another disingenuous snipe from a Republican. We all know this whole problem is Obama and Democrats in Congress just haven't surrendered fast enough to meed Republicans' demands. Maybe we should just start calling it Bongress because Republicans are smokin' something.

    October 2, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Blame your fellow colleagues in the Tea Party for this mess, Senator. While you're at it, take a slice of blame for yourself. These Tea Party campaigned on shutting down the government in 2010, but failed to do it in 2011. They have now succeeded and have no intention of starting it back up. Tea Party is practically fully engaged in a coup to take over and replace the government, Senator..... .... and you have given them your unfettered support.

    October 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    ""why aren't the members of the House and the Senate in the White House right now to try to solve this problem?"

    Because there's really no need. There is a bill right this second in the House that, if brought to a vote, would end the gov't shutdown, but the House GOP/Teatrolls refuse to allow it to be voted upon unless they are paid ransom.

    October 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. OK

    A clean continuing resolution funding the government would pass the House with bipartisan support;. Boehner will not allow the vote to come before the House. He does not have the guts to stand up to the extremists in his own party. The terrorists that we need to be concerned with are in our own House of Representatives.

    October 2, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "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,"
    ------------------------------------------–
    Well Lindsey, where the hell were you before this self manufactured crisis hit? You knew well in advance what the affects of a shutdown would do. Shut up and don't say another word!

    October 2, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Rich

    Tom – Exactly!

    October 2, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. just saying

    'Where the hell is the commander in chief?'
    ---–

    anybody check the golf course? is there a campaign fund raiser going on? a celebrity event? those are your best shots at finding him.

    October 2, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Ah, yes. Let the posturing begin ...

    October 2, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Carlos

    Obama, stop us from behaving like children!

    October 2, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. rs

    Mr. Graham- as inconvenient as reality may be- he gave YOUR party enough rope to hang themselves.

    October 2, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    Just called ms Lindsey's office to leave them a message. I guess we found out about the meting with the WH before he did?
    He has some little out of a job bimbo speaking for him about the defunding of Obamacare, how he is giving his salary to wounded warriors (which if true he is a millionaire maybe he should have been doing it all along and no I don't think any better of him for this either) and if you have questions call the WH because I really don't have an answer except I hate ALL Americans I wish everyone goes bankrupt thanks to my teatards and I want to destroy the country.

    October 2, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. O'drama ya Mama

    "Where the hell is the commander in chief?"

    I guess Lindsey didnt get invited to the meeting lol

    October 2, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    What? Little Lindsey has his panties in a bunch and it isn't even on a Sunday morning talk show! Stop passing the buck Little Lindsey... tell Boner to DO HIS JOB!

    October 2, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Duke

    Let's see...taking care of business, you dope

    October 2, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Jill-IN

    How disingenuous. Just what you would expect from Lindsey Graham.

    October 2, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Marty, FL

    Agree it's irresponsible to let this continue...

    Where the hell is the Speaker of the (entire) House, NOT just the TGOP extremists?! Boehner has the bipartisan majority to PASS a clean CR.

    Enough already of this tea nonsense. Vote it OUT 2014.

    October 2, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. just asking

    Lynda/Minnesota
    Ah, yes. Let the posturing begin ...
    --

    that started days ago with obama's endless news conferences and tv addresses. it is all the campaignger-in-chief truly knows how to do.

    October 2, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. ashton

    The fundamental problem is this as I paraphrase Ghandi-only when the power of love replaces the love for power will there be peace. Whereas the Republicans have demonstrated extremely poor judgement in their stance on this current issue, your President has once again demonstrated his very poor leadership qualities by not addressing the issue with a more reconcilitory approach. For a person who prided himself as a great communicator, his past record is dismal. There has never been more division in the Whitehouse or with America world wide than there is now. He has lied before and will lie again. At best- he is a great orator- not a leader- and a wonderful community champion.

    October 2, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. anotherGDlefty

    He's fighting the teaparty just like you are Mr. Graham.
    The tea genie will not go back in the bottle quietly, he will need to be pushed back in kicking and screaming.
    We have FINALLY hit the kicking and screaming part.
    Keep relegating the teanuts to histories ashcan.

    October 2, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Where the hell is leadership in the HOUSE? All Boner has to do is put the Senate version of the bill in front of everybody and it will pass...

    October 2, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. ladyjag

    You can say anything you want to say, but this is a full REPUBLICAN, shut down. It is a shame that our CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS, but they are not LEADERS, they are not what we should have running our COUNTRY.

    LETS USE THE 143 YEaR LAW and fire them, under that act, we can even put them in prison. I have not researched this law yet, but I do intend to and if thre is any way to fire every REPUBLICAN, we will see what can be done about it. the people are idiots, and good for nothing.

    October 2, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    All I know is the GOP is going to get trashed in their next elections. If the dems get control of the house, we will never be going through this GOP bafoonery again and the country will run smoothly. Kick out this GOP teabafoons garbage of America in 2014 !!!!!!!

    October 2, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Dave in Arizona

    Uhm, Graham- this is the bed you made, you sleep in it. Obama has no legal or logical obligation to come clean it up and tuck you in. When you can't even be bothered to compromise with House Democrats for bipartisan support, the POTUS is the least of your concern. The House is at the beginning of the process, the POTUS is at the end of the process. He has no duty to influence the House. In fact, it would be a breach of separation of duties if he did.

    October 2, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Gurgyl

    What the HELL is congress thugs doing? This thug from NC needs to be fired immediately. Get rid off this Al Queda thug. Evil goes away.

    October 2, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. HenryMiller

    "Where the hell is the commander in chief?"

    Off pouting somewhere, like a little kid who's been told she can't have a pony.

    The least irresponsible thing Obama can do is put Obamacare on hold for a year. He's already done that for his corporate buddies—it's mystery why he continues to want to screw ordinary people.

    October 2, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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