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. plain and simple

    National security is all that grabs the attention of most of the wing-nutts out there. That hits home. The problems of the poor don't affect them. The unemployed....doesn't concern them. Public education....why pay taxes for that??? Their children are home schooled,or in private schools!!! The short sightedness of this group is almost beyond belief. White,wealthy and wacky!!! Fear of not being protected from the terror of the bad guys scares these ignorant few,hopefully enough to actually do the hard work required to govern our nation.

    October 2, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    **************************
    Sorry, numbnuts, but the economy did slow down because of the sequester. See the markets today? They are dropping because of the plans Cruz and others hatched months ago. Nice job, you mouth breathing idiot.

    October 2, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. kirk

    He left five years ago, not soon enough, only a fool calls a man who sent thousands to die for money a commander in chief: just don't have much to go on do ya? Another clueless rwnj, they don't understand what a real leader does.

    October 2, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    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.!
    -------
    Hey Teddy – instead of finding fault with our country, you should be thanking us for that fact that you're not goose-stepping down the streets of Amsterdam in your leiderhosen and engaging in German conversation over plates of sauerbraten and weiner schnitzel. You're welcome.

    October 2, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. tom l

    @Data and Sniffit the Corporatist,
    So, I'm in marketing. I have sold both digital and radio. I am very, very familiar with the online space. It is a joke. A site, especially one that is going to have the scrutiny like this, should be prepared for a measly 3 million visitors and if it wasn't then that is a clear indicator of incompetence. They should have had multiple servers set up to prepare for that. The site should not go down. Period. Bottom line is that it wasn't ready. How could it not be ready? This is the concern of many such as me. The govt should have the resources ready if they are so great. But they're not great. They are bureaucratic by nature. You should be embarassed but because you are so enamored by our President, you defend and deflect.

    October 2, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. freedom

    @tampa

    America is not a dictatorship. Laws can be disputed and changed and even done away with. This fight is just beginning – you and the democrats need to get over THAT fact.

    October 2, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. orrball

    I think the damage from Obamacare is done you know insurance companies won't go back to the old prices!

    October 2, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. 'The Mercurial Prez'

    Who will meet only if They see it his way...He will not negotiate if The don't see it his way..."I will..I will not "...Fickle, fickle Prez...who thinks that he is "the Absolute One"...Yes, Lyndsey the Commander in Chief is going AWOL next week.

    October 2, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. MTATL67

    Isn't he suppose to be a "Leader" in the Senate. He has been a huge supporter and promotor of the extremists obstructionist agenda.

    October 2, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Anthony in California

    @freedom

    America is not a dictatorship. Laws can be disputed and changed and even done away with. This fight is just beginning – you and the democrats need to get over THAT fact."

    In that exact same regard, and with an even higher approval rating, Democrats shout introduce stricter gun laws into the fray, just to see Republic heads spin out of control.

    Repeal AHCA, you say? We'll see you one better... 1 year waiting periods, 1000$ bullets, and Life terms for ANYONE committing a a crime with a gun(this means illegal selling/purchasing as well). Scary huh? But giving people access to health care is sooooo worth shutting down the government. Priority fail.

    October 2, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. carrotroot

    This is simple, Boehner needs to pass a clean CR. No games, no grandstanding, no blaming the Democrats for "forcing" Republicans to shutdown the government, no more nonsense.

    October 2, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. Wake up People!

    Oh Mr. President I simply ADORE you!! I get such a kick out of reading all of the racist, irrational, hateful comments written by people with less than a 5th grade education. They couldn't string a sentence together let alone a paragraph. It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that people that treat US worse than dogs have to acknowledge that you are the Commander-in-Chief of a country that just over 150 years ago treated US no better than cattle. Carry on Mr. President.

    The Best POTUS Ever.

    October 2, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. freedom

    @orrball

    Damage has been done, yes, and some of it will stay, but we won't give up – this is not only a train wreck, it's a bulldozer trying to run over us. We have to fight it.

    October 2, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "It is a joke. A site, especially one that is going to have the scrutiny like this, should be prepared for a measly 3 million visitors and if it wasn't then that is a clear indicator of incompetence. They should have had multiple servers set up to prepare for that. The site should not go down. Period"

    Oh yawn. It took all of an hour to a couple hours to adjust the system to address the problem created by overwhelming traffic and it's running swimmingly right now. Your breathless, hyperbolic overreaction to a launch-day traffic issue for a brand new website that received millions of hits in just a few hours is absurd. Moreover, some of your commentary reveals that you're not as well versed as claimed...if you think they are running it off just one little server, not an office full of computer equipment, then fail fail fail. Websites go down on launch day all the time. It's the nature of the beast.

    October 2, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. jajabar

    Mr. Graham should remember that he is merely a servant of the government. Obama is lot more intelligent than Graham. So Graham should show proper respect to commander-in-chief.

    October 2, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "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!!!"

    It is not "compromise" for one party to continue to offer the other party nothing and say "but I still get what I want...just a little bit less of it."

    October 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. SteveInMN

    Hey, 'Lindsey', the POTUS has been real, crystal clear on this - "Stop screwing around and issue the checks for the programs you authorized".

    What part of that excellent advice don't you get?

    October 2, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    "But where the hell is the commander in chief?"

    You know where he is physically but mentally, he's out of your league.
    Your days are numbered senator and so are your disrespectful rantings.

    October 2, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Data Driven

    @Tom,

    You're in Marketing, I'm in IT. Badda Badda Bee, I call QED!

    2.8 million accesses is "measly" in a 12 or 24 hour period? Of what are you speaking, Willis? That's MAD traffic in a short frame. Not Smiley Twerking traffic, but only the biggest sites can handle that kind of volume in such a short amount of time. And, as Sniffit says, the site basically worked. So ...

    October 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Adam

    Oh miss Lindsey go lay on the fainting couch already

    October 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Larry in Houston

    doesn't matter where the commander in chief is, Lindsey. . . . . . . IF I was the commander in chief, I would wait it out. In other words, wait till sometime after the first of the year, when the ACA really "kicks in" . . . . Then find out IF the bonehead & company will want to re-open the government

    October 2, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    freedom

    @tampa

    America is not a dictatorship. Laws can be disputed and changed and even done away with. This fight is just beginning – you and the democrats need to get over THAT fact.
    ****************
    We are also a country that has a process that has been followed. The ACA was debated, voted on, signed into law and upheld by the Supreme Court, whose CONSERVATIVE Chief Justice wrote the opinion. Having followed the process, it should be pointed out ( yet again) this is not a dictatorship simply because you don't like the outcome, its a from of republican democracy where there are winners and losers, and your side lost. You need to get over THAT fact.

    October 2, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. freedom

    @Anthony

    Interesting you have that stance coming from California. People are moving from there in droves because the regulations are strangling businesses. Obamacare will increase that 100-fold. As far as gun laws, fight them all you want – that's why this country's great – everything's open to debate. Obama, Reid and Pelosi are trying to silence the debate – which is totally un-American.

    October 2, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Obama and Democrats LIED, your Healthcare System DIED

    Obama, Reid and Pelosi have proven to the entire country they are liars, cheats and frauds with their endless lies and deceit to the American people to get Obamacare passed. More and more lies come to light every day. Why does ANY American believe a word that these disgraceful criminal people speak? What new lies are they going to tell us? Come on People! Obama, Reid and Pelosi are worse than the crook and con guy at the local used car lot!! Trust them and you are guaranteed to get burnt.

    October 2, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -freedom

    @orrball

    Damage has been done, yes, and some of it will stay, but we won't give up – this is not only a train wreck, it's a bulldozer trying to run over us. We have to fight it.
    **************
    Do you really think that people being able to have their own health insurance is really a bulldozer trying to run you over? How is offering people the chance to pick their own insurance so they won't become a drain on the rest of us damaging you? The only sound you are making is rage of dreaming sheep, sheep that have done nothing but imbibe a liquid diet of hate, carefully fed to them by people who don't want to inform you, but affirm your worst fears and use you for their own amusement.

    October 2, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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