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. BoatPuffandstuff

    "I do declare! Where the hell is the commander and chief on this sunny day of govamant shut down? My my, that beautiful well intentioned Tea Party is only helping this beautiful country and had nothing do to with any of this! Golly gosh, why do people blame the Tea Party all of da time? "

    October 2, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein

    If there was a CR that included a small increase in the debt limit (as opposed to repealing it totally so to avoid this kind of thing), then both sides could talk about going forward with real talks about both the budget and the debt limit.

    October 2, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "If you read this and begin typing up a comment about how your party would never do this, or how the other guys need to just give in and relent, understand that you are part of the problem because you encourage this absolutist behavior in your representatives."

    Yeah, false equivalencies make it soooo much easier to climb the high horse. "Everyone does it" and "both sides are equally at fault" and "I get to dismiss anyone who thinks one side or the other is at fault because I'm the only person on the planet who is intelligent enough to see that it's both sides at fault" and, my personal favorite (because it's the keystone of all MSM reporting at this point), "pretending both arguments are equal and both sides are the same automatically means you're unbiased and objective." Following it up with "anyone who disagrees with me just proves my point" is classic too.

    This argument has NOTHING to do with whose side I am on and is applicable no matter who or which party is doing it: There's nothing "absolutist" about refusing to help a party set precedent that says it's perfectly ok to shut down the gov't or default on the nation's debts if its extremely partisan ideological demands are not met. The cycle of hostage taking and manufacturing crises in an attempt to hold the Sword of Damocles over the other party's and the rest of the country's heads needs to stop. It is untenable, not a good faith effort to govern and is completely destroying the government's ability to function....not to mention that it's the equivalent of a petulant toddler's foot-stomping " I WANT IT I WANT IT I WANT IT" temper tantrum. Letting the people who threaten to do so hold their breath until they turn blue is the proper response.

    Besides, the Senate Dems already compromised by accepting the House's insistence that spending only continue at sequestration levels, as though that's the new normal. They also allowed every bill the House put forth, while the House GOP has refused to even allow a vote on the Senate's "clean" funding bill. Ignoring facts and distinctions that actually make a difference in order to play the false equivalency high horse game is BS.

    October 2, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Um... You should ask Boehner where the hell the leadership is in the HOUSE... A clean bill passes easily, but he won't bring it up. Why don't you take your anger out there? The President isn't writing legislation...

    October 2, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Sean

    Repulican passed the budget bill to keep the government open 4 times. Each Democrat senate said "no", shut the government down... Senate democrat does not even want to discuss with the House to find ways to open the government. SAD!

    October 2, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Pander Bear

    More Horse hockey from the GOP. This is the fault of your weak GOP Speaker, Lindsey. Stop pretending that the Dems or the President have anything to do with it. If/when the President intervenes, I'm certain you'll be complaining about his being a tyrant and superseding the separation of powers by compelling the House to do it's job. The shutdown is the fault of the GOTea. Period.

    October 2, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    oops..."They also allowed every bill the House put forth"...should have said "to be voted on" at the end.

    October 2, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    In fact, where the HELL have the legislators been? This could have been resolved months ago!! This 11th hour crap is getting old. DO YOUR JOBS for a CHANGE!!

    October 2, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Anne Goode

    The commander in Chief is in control! What patriotic citizen would allow their country to come to this end? Because there is a man in the White House that actually cares about the common people and not about their race .

    October 2, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. jinx9to88

    Where have you been Graham? The Commander in Chief said he wasnt negotiating on ACA. Whats so hard to understand?

    October 2, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. JustMe

    Hey Lindsey, you want to blame someone for this? Start by looking in the mirror, buddy.

    October 2, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Didn't we send Ms. Graham to Syria to help round up the chemical weapons?
    No?
    Well can we?

    October 2, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. JustMe

    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.

    He's at The White House you dipstick, organizing a meeting for 5:30 this afternoon. Next time, check your facts before you speak, capiche?

    October 2, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Rob Barker

    With Senators like Graham, who needs nitwits.

    October 2, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    What's more, there is nothing the GOP/Teatrolls have put on the table that would constitute them giving something to the Dems in exchange for whatever the Dems would be giving to the GOP/Teatrolls.

    This is NOT how a "compromise" works: "Well, the Dems want the federal gov't to actually be open and to continue to exist, so our concession to Dems is to allow that to happen...while their concessions to us should be the total undermining and destruction of a health care reform plan that experts say will result in lowered costs and millions without insurance finally getting insured, not to mention the lowering of the deficit. It's a totally fair and equal trade."

    So, what is the GOP offering? NOTHING WE'RE NOT ALREADY ENTITLED TO, i.e., a functioning, funded federal gov't. Offering to allow someone to have what they are already entitled to is not a "concession" nor a "compromise."

    October 2, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. freedom

    Maybe he's with Jay-Z and Beyonce.

    October 2, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "I think it's irresponsible for all of us to let it continue," he said. "But where the hell is the commander in chief?"
    ----------------------
    Senator it was your party that were the "enablers" for this extreme right wing to grwo in power. Now they've become completely drunk with power, and are obviously addicted to it. The only way to wean an addiction is with a placebo, or going cold turkey. Most addicts self-destruct and hurt those around them. In the case of the Tea Party, they are burning out quickly, but they are taking the nation's economy and the entire country down with them to an early grave.

    October 2, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. RomneyWho

    No Sir, Mr. Graham, this mess falls totally on the republican leadership. They created this chaos all by themselves, with no help from the democratic leadership. The republican leadership is now a "Two Headed Monster" unto itself. The teaparty and the republican party are one in the same . . . One of you will have to step forward and cut the other head off. :(

    October 2, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. jinx9to88

    All you GOP trolls on here that complain about Obama vacations or golfing, I dare you to google "which president took the most vacations". GOP will be in for a rude awakening, but then again GOP dont like facts since the live in a fiction bubble.

    October 2, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Vence

    TTT stands for Traitors Terrorists of the Tea party Sen. Graham

    October 2, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. PEM

    Anyone who votes these incumbent Republicans back in office should have their heads examined. REMEMBER THESE POLITICIANS AT ELECTION TIME, PLEASE!!! They are an embarrassment to 90% of Americans, since only 10% approve of their actions. Idiots, every last one.

    October 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. Hector Slagg

    Well now Folks,
    It is time to stand up and salute! When the Commander-In-Chief isn't voting present he is out campaigning. Remember? If that was Lyndon Johnson, the gaggle that started us down the road to this mess he would be in there swinging. Obama doesn't want to get dirty. Obama doesn't want to make a big mistake, as if he hasn't made enough already. Now why, do you suppose, he wanted to be President? He sure talked a good game. So, where's the Beef?

    October 2, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. heydavid

    Let them stay shut down as long as they like, as long as they don't touch the Affordable Care Act. Whether you like it or not it's a law. We cannot allow a political party to hold anything ransom just because they don't like it. I am a true independent, I have voted split tickets in almost every election for close to forty years. But I promise I will never vote Republican again at any level if this hostage taking continues.

    October 2, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Rick McDaniel

    Obama seeks photo ops..........just like Graham is seeking a photo op.

    Neither is doing they job, they were hired to do.

    October 2, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. barryinlasvegas

    The answer to the question is he is busy holding press conferences calling Republicans names and letting everyone know that he will not negotiate on anything. A great example of how to compromise and lead.

    October 2, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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