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

    Graham is correct in asking where is Obama, who just today, not two weeks ago, invited Congressional leaders to the White House. Two weeks of "blame game" politics in a crisis is Not good management. Managers across the Nation stopped this in favor of "teamwork" and service to solve problems
    decades ago! Even Bill Clinton participated more in the prelude to the 1995 shut-down
    Than Obama has now,
    Obama lacks the business and governing
    skills to deal with Congress, but Reid has used this OJT President's flaws to thwart any negoiations and advance Democrat chances for 2014, a windfall for them after
    Obama'a procrastination and bungling of Syria. Not to mention Benghazi, Arab Spring,
    et al. Failure!

    Obamacare is well in it's clichey way to join the IRS and the awful VA as yet another Big
    Government, fraud-driven quagmire, so Republicans, knowing this, tried to curb it.

    I don't see Obama, Reid, or Pelosi, the authors of this Bill, actually explaining it or,
    waivering Their salaries during the shut-down, as Republicans are. Hmmmm?

    October 2, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. sonny chapman

    Did Graham ever ask that question of George W. after vast plan to attack the US at home by el quida happened on 9-11-01 & the "COMMANDER IN CHIEF" had been given a PDR in Aug. 2001 telling him this ? Nah, it's much easier for Lyndsey to pretend he's Gen. Patton & bark loudly when the COC is from the "other" party.

    October 2, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. tampa mike

    Negotiate what? The ACA is established law, 60 tea party thugs don't get to hold the entire country hostage for the stupid extreme right ideas. The election was held, they lost, get over it.

    October 2, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Obama and Democrats LIED, your Healthcare System DIED

    Day Two of America Held Hostage by Obamacare.

    Sky has not fallen yet Democrats. This looks a lot like your sequester predictions that did not occur. Maybe th ecountry doesn't need all of these hundreds of thousands of non-essential government workers. Never heard of 800,000 non-essential corporate workers working for a company. Get rid of all of these non-essential government people. Obama and the Democrats say the economy is great and lots of jobs created. They have nothing to fear.

    October 2, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. Buc

    Lindsey Graham is self important loud mouth incapable of listening to or understanding the problems that the average American face. He and the spineless speaker of the house are wrecking this country's economy with their malfeasance.

    October 2, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Rachael Roberts

    It is called conspiratorial obstructionism followed by hanging the responsibility around the Black Man's neck.

    October 2, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Data Driven

    Oh dear, Lindsey's got the vapors again. Everybody better pay attention! LOLLLL

    October 2, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. tom l

    Let me get this straight, the website for the ACA crashed with a whopping 2.8 million visitors. Honestly folks, if that's not a metaphor for the whole ACA then i don't know what is. 2.8 million visitors should not crash a site; especially one that should have been in the making for 3 years. But that's the government for you. Incompetent and bureaucratic.

    October 2, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    I think that it is time to call a spade a spade, and a coup d'etat a coup d'etat. The Tea Party has no intention of funding the government ever again. As long as we have an active military, then they're happy. Their next target is the U.S. Treasury department, which many Tea Partiers have expressed a desire to completely eliminate. Target date, Oct. 17, 2013.

    October 2, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Two weeks of "blame game" politics in a crisis is Not good management. Managers across the Nation stopped this in favor of "teamwork" and service to solve problems
    decades ago!"

    Oh my. Have you not been paying attention? This grandstanding has been going on like forever now. Obama suggests (a) ... (b) ... or ... (c) ... and the GOP yell out "HELL NO". And so on and so forth. Ad nauseum.

    October 2, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. kirk

    Frank, poor uneducated Frank, just don't get it do ya, bud? Your party is all but DOA next year, and I can't wait

    October 2, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Thomas

    @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?
    ======

    There are two of us with the same name

    October 2, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Missy Graham's panties are all wadded up because he didn't get an invite.
    Every low life form is miliking this catastrophe: the media, people like Graham jockeying for camera time with disrepectful comments about the President, paid bloggers like our usual suspects with their fake outrage and ready-to-post lies and misinformation.
    Yes indeed, those that thrive and profit from our nation's misfortunes are coming out of the woodwork en masse....eh tom l?

    October 2, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. w l jones

    It appears some people action make one think like a desert safar camel rider.

    October 2, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. kirk

    I would embarrassed to say the things the rwnj do, Benghazi? Really? No quicker way to say I'm stupid then benghazi, get a clue, only idiots believe this is damaging, funding for additional security denied time and time again. First it was a lack of security, then when that put the blame on them, have some paid mouthpiece get up and say additional security would not have mattered, then still blame the dems, pathetic, they are responsible for zero according to them zero

    October 2, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Data Driven

    Tom L,

    2.8 million accesses over the course of one day can EASILY crash a site. If 2.8 million people visited the Ticker today, it would be down. Knowing what I do about this, I'm impressed that healthcare dot gov didn't have more problems.

    October 2, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Honestly folks, if that's not a metaphor for the whole ACA then i don't know what is."

    I'm holding you to that. From now, we get to say that you don't know what constitutes a good metaphor for the ACA.

    "2.8 million visitors should not crash a site; especially one that should have been in the making for 3 years. But that's the government for you. Incompetent and bureaucratic."

    Yawn. Popular, brand new websites often crash on their first day, even ones put together by giant multi-billion dollar software companies. It's par for the course ("the course" being the intertubes, not gov't...so save your deliberate misinterpretations for something else).

    October 2, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    Southern Belles grow faint when Lyndsey talks tough.

    October 2, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. John in Brooklyn

    The commander and chief is waiting for you elected officials to act like grown ups instead of spoiled brats.

    October 2, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. LOL

    He left the WH 5 years ago, haven't had one since!!! LOL

    October 2, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. DLee

    To Frank, Are you serious?

    October 2, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. LOL

    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.
    ____________
    Same can be said for the senate, 4 times they had a chance, the GOP even compromised in the last one, but of course none for the Dems!!!! This is ENTIRELY the fault of the Dems in the senate!!!

    October 2, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. CB FL

    When is going to show his true colors. (RAINBOW)

    October 2, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. OK

    @ Frank Deery
    Republicans are not getting paid? Who told you that? They are getting paid. Some of them have stated they will donate their salaries to charity. Which will yield them a big fat tax deduction next year. If you do not know what is in the Healthcare bill by now, you have no one to blame but yourself, you are ignorant by choice.

    October 2, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. tom l

    @DMFO,
    So now you're trying to suggest that I'm a paid blogger. Hilarious. I know it's not possible for someone to have a different point of view from yours, right?

    Disrespectful comments like when Reid called Bush a loser and a liar or when Pelosi called Bush a total failure. Get a grip. You seem like such a nice lady, I don't understand why you are so close minded to the fact that others, who love this country just as much as you, have a difference of opinion. Good lord.

    But I guess when you think that some want the govt closed so that President Obama won't have the secret service to protect him, it's tough to see the other side when you have such horrible thoughts of the other side.

    I swear to you that I'm a decent, good person. I'm a nice Jewish kid from LA who moved to Atlanta for a better job and I happen to have a girlfriend who is from Uganda. All of your assumptions about someone from the other side are just that...assumptions. Open your mind to the fact that there are good people on both sides. I know I don't think you're a bad person or someone paid by liberals to post comments here. What would be the point in that? You need to calm down a bit and take off your partisan hat.

    October 2, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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