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. Ted van Tol

    Here in the Netherlands the veteran semetary Nargraten is closed because of the shut down. That means there are
    Americans (and people from all over the world) standing for a closed gate! It's unbelieveble the cannot honor there familymember who lost his life in WW2. If I was an American I would be a shame of my country.
    Your great country is not a shining star, it is covered by mud. Vote the republicans out because they did nothing for years just bashing Barack Obama and do every thing they can to let him fale.!

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

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

    Graham needs to stick a fork in the Tea part nut jobs and turn them over , there done !

    October 2, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Larry NY

    Ask your buddies in congress why are they messing with a bill that is passed long time and become a law before calling your boss, the commaner in chief..

    October 2, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. Jules

    Where the heck are you, Graham in standing up to the lunatics of your party? The lot of you are useless – you cannot even stop 80 people in your party from wrecking the economy, letting kids go to bed hungry and on top of that it is okay with all of you that the millions recently covered by health insurance, lose it. You are a despicable bunch.

    October 2, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Kermit1971

    To rephrase the question somewhat: "Where the hell is Graham?" This guy is a gasbag par excellence. Fixing "this problem" requires him and other GOP figures to get real and stop playing Russian Roulette with the US economy. But there's neither a statesman nor a patriot to be found in that pathetic band, none of whom has ever gotten over the pain of there sophomore year in high school.

    October 2, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    Question asked. Question answered.

    October 2, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Sean wrote on page 2:

    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!
    ----------------------
    Is that the right wing media is spinning it now? Well, they've got it wrong. Get serious. The Republicans offered nothing for the Democrats, while demanding that their own bucket list of demands be filled. The Repubilcans offered 3-4 weeks of keeping the government running and a dismantling of the ACA. They didn't even have the comon decency of putting forward a tenderable offer. The right wing media has it wrong. Democrats didn't say "no." They said, "Oh, hell no."

    October 2, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. EatRunDive

    The Republicans were told way in advance that there was no room for negotiation on their pet issues. This bill is only in play because Congress can't do their jobs anyway, like a student taking a make-up exam and then telling the professor that he won't turn it in without being promised an A.

    Boehner won't let the House vote on the Senate bill as he is too stupid to realize that the Tea Party are NOT Republicans, which makes their constant use of the term RINO the most amusing facet of politics today.

    Obamacare scares the Republicans. If they really thought it would ruin the economy they would not try to delay it for a year, they would want the full "train wreck" before the next election cycle. So they've decided to ruin the economy instead.

    October 2, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. wendel

    one more jerk trying to lay the blame on the commander in chief while supporting the crazy tea party. Congress should loose their pay too. Tired of these clowns

    October 2, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    -------------------------------------------------\
    How's that bait working for ya'?

    October 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Sniffit

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

    Question asked. Question answered."

    Don't doubt for a minute that Graham piped up because he found out that Obama had made that invitation and it reminded him that he needed to get out in front of some cameras and reinforce the GOP-manufactured misconception that Obama is somehow uninvolved in any of this.

    October 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Joyce

    All I can say is 2014 is right around the corner!!!!

    October 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    I guess Graham's buddies are off tea bagging each other. What a waste of a great country.

    October 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. ghostwriter

    Sniffit, you hit the proverbial nail. If we set a precedent that the minority party can simply hold it's collective breath until it gets what it wants, then government will grind to a halt. Especially if the only leverage you have is doing your job or the nation's budget.

    And how is this compromise? Repeal, defund or delay Obamacare? And I WISH these losers would quit attempting to tie this in with the one year delay for companies. They don't care about fairness. They don't care if it is ready to roll out or not. The delay is simply part of their plan to get rid of Obamacare. Quit trying to fool the people about your goals.

    October 2, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    " This bill is only in play because Congress can't do their jobs anyway"

    This bill is only in play because the GOP/Teatrolls refuse to go to conference to negotiate and resolve differences between the budgets passed by the House and Senate in April.

    FIFY

    The Dems have offered to conference and negotiate those budgets 18 times since April, the GOP/Teatrolls have refused EVERY TIME and they are still refusing to do so. Their little charade of offering to conference on a very short-term, temporary continuing resolution is nothing more than them dishonestly manufacturing a talking point for themselves.

    October 2, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. simplyput

    POTUS is packing for a shorter Asian trip right after he makes a symbolic appearance with all party *leaders* . While I'm not a member, I guess democrats don't understand that TEA stands for Taxed Enogh Already: you know, the people who actually support government by paying taxes. May I suggest changing the locks on the WH while he's spending money we don't have?

    October 2, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Peace

    Lindsey, some of good thinkers of your Party warned your crazy Tea Party folks not to shutdown the gov. They were worried about incidents like this one. Didn't you figure this out yourself? Also Sir, respecting the Office of the President and who is incharge there at the moment, and talking politely, doesn't cost anyone, anything. I hope you are aware of this!

    October 2, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Name Uche Agonsi

    Americans should simply bury what is left of Republican Party. They members are SECURITY THREATS to the entire world.

    October 2, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Dan5404

    Where the Hell are you and the regular Republicans when it comes to common sense? Why aren't you taking over the House and kicking the minority Tea Party nut jobs out. The CR and the debt ceiling are not negotiated matters. The GOP is debating itself over an insidious shutdown they caused themselves. It is the most ridiculous attack on the American people and the stability of the country in history. The political ignorance and cold-blooded, self-serving cruelty of this group is a total disgrace to the country. The American people will remember and the instigators will pay a dear price.

    October 2, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "respecting the Office of the President and who is incharge there at the moment, and talking politely, doesn't cost anyone, anything"

    Not true. It could very easily cost the offending incumbent Republican their nomination in 2014.

    October 2, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. tom l

    @Marie and DMFO,
    Why are you both calling Lindsey Graham a woman? Is that some sort of insult to be a woman? You have both done that. If a repub did something like that, you both would freak out and call them misogynists. I guess...IOIYOD

    October 2, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Sniffit: "Don't doubt for a minute that Graham piped up because he found out that Obama had made that invitation and it reminded him that he needed to get out in front of some cameras and reinforce the GOP-manufactured misconception that Obama is somehow uninvolved in any of this."

    Oh, I don't doubt it. Not for a second. There is a hidden meaning behind the comment. (I'm not allowed to respond to certain others).

    October 2, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    "Where the hell is the leader of the Republican Party?"

    Wrong question. Here's a better one. "Why do we still call them the Republican Party, instead of the Tea Party?" Which Republican "leader" are the Democrats and Pres. Obama supposed to talk to, anyway? Republicans have refused to hold a budget conference since the Democrats passed a budget in the Senate this past May. Cruz filibustered the measure to send the budget to a conference with the House, in order to reconcile the differences.

    The Tea Party members campaigned on shutting down government back in 2010. They've succeeded. Mission accomplished is what they're telling their folks back home. The Tea Party has no intention of funding the goverrnment. They're staging a coup to reset everything to their liking. Most of think government is not needed.

    They'd rather live on the "open range", just like in the Old West of the 1800s before state borders were established. They want to live like "The Waltons", and they want everyone else to do the same.

    I've been warning you for weeks and months now, folks. The Tea Party has no wish to govern, they only want to rule.

    October 2, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Thomas

    "POTUS is packing for a shorter Asian trip right after he makes a symbolic appearance with all party *leaders*."

    Last I heard that was cancelled. Regardless, what would you prefer? Him not doing his job because congress can't do theirs?

    October 2, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. Arun

    Just shut up Lindsey!! Hope you get ousted by a tea party nut job.

    October 2, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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