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

    Woke up today and Obamacare is still the law of the land. People are signing up by the droves for the Affordable Care Act. Yes another beautiful day in America.

    October 2, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. Shelia

    Playing golf and taking trips.

    October 2, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Jim Hahn

    Dear Senator Graham,

    The Commander in Chief has made IT PERFECTLY CLEAR WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE AND WHAT IS NOT. IT IS YOUR PARTY THAT IS PLAYING GAMES WITH OUR GOVERNMENT AND AMERICANS' LIVES. iT IS HIGH TIME FOR THEM TO KNOCK IT OFF. President Obama has made it abundantly clear, in no uncertain terms, for MONTHS, what is acceptable and what is not. President Obama was elected to make the hard decisions and he made it. You either lead (Republicans have abdicated this possibility), follow or get out of the way. NOW GET GOING.

    October 2, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Celia Timmerman

    I'm placing the blame on both the left and right.Ego's in Washington are out of line.Can anyone compromise for the sake of the ordinary American?They have had years to compromise and work together.These people in this country need to realize this nation was built by hard working simple folks,and yes many many throughout history were uneducated farmers and mill workers.Nowdays the college educated can hardly find jobs or pay their loans.

    October 2, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. superbole

    Mr Graham... where is leadership, period? I don't see much leadership on either side. I see an embarrassing political brawl. Give Obama his due – he did not draw the line in the sand. The GOP did that. And, as predicted by the Dems – the damage widening and you're worried now? I ask again... where is leadership? Where is statesmanship? Where is the fire in the belly to do the people's business?

    October 2, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. What's in that tea anyway?


    "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.
    Must suck that the facts totally disagree with your vapid statement.....I mean, the roll-out of Obamacare was so popular that 3 million people went on the site "because they wanted to get screwed"....boy the genius that is Tea Troll logic is astounding.....Go take your meds for starters Henry, Obamacare likely covers it.

    October 2, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. rs

    The Republicans keep diggin' that hole- but they haven't figured out that diggin' just makes getting out that much harder.

    Look guys, it's game over. The ACA actually enrolled people yesterday. Money exchanged hands, contracts signed. You blew it. You could have offered amendments sometime over the past 3-4 years, a different program perhaps, but oh, no. You had to go all nuclear on the ACA- and now you've shut down the government. No surprise- that has been your barganing chip for you since 2010.
    Well, you pulled that stunt and it didn't work. You've made a financial mess for 800,000 federal employees- mostly low-level folks just trying to get by as loyal civil servants (what did they ever do to you?). Now they'll miss their rents, have to skip a car payment or dodge a utility bill IF you guys fix stuff soon. You go longer, and there will be a ripple through the economy. Don't forget all of the small businesses affected by shuttering the Parks, Forests, museums and so on. Hold out on them, and they'll have to lay folks of, maybe close their doors altogether. That won't do the economy one bit of good.
    Shoot, I know you know that- Hell- you probably planned it that way. Say, the jig is up- you lost, gather up your little toys, send your radical little friends and get back to work now, or the adults will just have to put you over their knee....

    October 2, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Winston Smith

    Same can be said for the likes of the inbred morons that voted for Lindsey.

    October 2, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. A Kickin' Donkey

    I would like any of you Anti-obamites to explain to me why, if ObamaCare is so unpopular, in just 24 hoursa fully 2 % of the entire US population flocked to the site? The ACA is far more popular than opponents claim and this will only go higher with time. If the ACA were truly hated by the "American people", as the T-Partiers claim, this would not be happening. The lies are starting to unravel.

    October 2, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. kirk

    Let the hatred flow Luke, some pretty gullible posters, oh well, the truth doesn't appeal to everyone

    October 2, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    chief justice roberts must be relishing the disaster he inflicted on this country with his insane ruling on a case that was not presented.
    "....a case that was not represented". Hmmmm. As I recall, there were several state attorney generals who filed suit, and they were represented by at least one lawyer who argued the case to the Court. Robert's job, contrary to what you want, is not to carry out the orders and whims of the RNC, but to see if the law in question can be upheld. The SCOTUS is reluctant to strike down a law unless there is a portion of it that does not meet the current situation, or if it clearly goes against established precedent. This was Robert's call, and if you claim to care about the country, you will abide by it. I accepted Bush v. Gore, so I think you can man up and accept this.

    October 2, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Larry in Houston

    Amazing, isn't it ?? LOL – when the republicans are interviewed on TV, they say the ACA is the worst thing since sliced bread has been invented. They tell it like it's going to ruin the country, the people, & the whole 9 yards. But IF you find out what is really happening, you will see that there is so many people that is signing UP for this thing (The ACA) It's pitiful . . . According to the news, they are saying there are at LEAST 3 million people that is Hungry for the ACA. . . . . I wonder How Many Of These 3 Million People Are Actual Voters ?? You'd think that would be some sort of "sign" or "signal" to the republicans, that since this thing is so popular, they would let it go. . . . . Can you imagine if these 3 million people at the Polls at the mid – terms ?? How many of these 3 million are Voters ?? Look for a democratic sweep in 2014.

    October 2, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. teej

    Get your folks in order Lindsey! All this forced cognitive dissonance has caused ppl to have to make a decision and that decision is not in favor your House leader Ted Cruz. Take a stand against the coup that's happening in you party. Don't waste another breath blaming!!!

    October 2, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Knowing what I do about this, I'm impressed that healthcare dot gov didn't have more problems.
    Data you know that whatever endeavor THIS President undertakes is not something that he does willy-nilly or half-azzed
    He anticipates, prepares and is proactive in his approach to most everything.
    Notice where the funding is coming from for the ACA, and how to the howling rage of the Republicans "they can't touch that".

    October 2, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. tom l

    Lol. You got me! I didn't know you were an internet geek! 😉 However, as far as the site is concerned, I'm sorry but we're just going to have to agree to disagree. Sure this is a "new site". However, the internets isn't new. Sites do not crash if they are properly built. There is no way that a site like that should go down. It just shouldn't. Some random new site, maybe. But one from the govt with the resources they have should not go down. And I think yoiu know that. I will also say that I am not all that impressed with the numbers. Heck, I went there. I wanted to see it. That traffic is not that amazing based on all the hype, the fact that it comes from the govt and, most importantly, the fact that this law affects everyone. It's just not that amazing a number and it is no indication of anything. The only thing to me that matters is the efficiency of the site and that's it.

    October 2, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. freedom

    @Tom Paine

    You are not informed about the monstrosity that Obamacare is as a whole. You democrats are always claiming that you're helping the underprivileged, but what your policies really do is strangle the middle class and place more burdens on them and small businesses – which debilitates our economy from growing. All the republicans are asking is to re-work it and take out all the damaging parts. Also, Obama can't pick and choose who is under this law and who isn't – it needs to be a level playing field. Not a dictatorship.

    October 2, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    Yes, and the GOP did soooo well the last time out. Ask anyone in NO.

    October 2, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. freedom

    @Tom Paine

    Chief Justice Roberts sold his soul – and the country with it. We will continue this fight.

    October 2, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. AST

    Where the hell have YOU been, Senator? Tell you what, I have a bucket of tar and feathers waiting for each of you. Of all the stinking turds up on the hill, you are one of the ripest.

    October 2, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    The Tea Party has voted to repeal the ACA at least 45 times since they took over the House in Jan. 2011. One definition of stupid is to keep doing the same thing over and over, again and again, and expecting a different result when you already know what is going to happen.

    October 2, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Marcus (from...?)

    LOL – Basic difference between the Senate bill(s) and the House bill(s):
    One kind makes the government running for a whole big fiscal year, no ideological strings attached.
    The other kind just give it about a month or so before the cash runs out, and they have unnegotiable ideological strings attached.
    I stand for the first kind, you for the second (and call me and those like me dumb and worse for it!).
    Simple, isn't it?

    October 2, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Marcus (from...?)

    freedom – 'All the republicans are asking is to re-work it and take out all the damaging parts.'
    You forgot to tell it to them, since they haven't showed up any 're-work' except that infamous 'wishlist' that was showed as an alternative to the AHCA, remember? No actual (PRINTED) ways of how to implant it, no ways to fund it (or actually of how it would be funded), no timetable on its implementation... a wishlist, plain and simple.
    And none of them have come forth with something better than that ever since, so it's a little hard to think that they are actually wanting it...

    October 2, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine


    @Tom Paine

    You are not informed about the monstrosity that Obamacare is as a whole. You democrats are always claiming that you're helping the underprivileged, but what your policies really do is strangle the middle class and place more burdens on them and small businesses – which debilitates our economy from growing. All the republicans are asking is to re-work it and take out all the damaging parts. Also, Obama can't pick and choose who is under this law and who isn't – it needs to be a level playing field. Not a dictatorship.
    No, I am very well informed, since my wife, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, neice and nephew all work in the medical field as either doctors, nurses, or staff. They are on the front lines with this, and if you spend time in any ER, you would see how the old system was a disaster. Obamacare, while not perfect, is a damn sight better than what we previously had, with 40 million unisured being paid for by you and me. Exceptions are made in the law, yes, but the president did not personally pick and choose who gets exempted. Your shrill cries about it not being a level playing field are rank hypocrisy after all the lectures the Right hands out about capitalism rewarding people for making the right decisions. Well, capitalism is getting huge boost courtesy of teh government, and they will make out just fine. As for small businesses, explain to me what alternatives exist for them: if they want insurance, it won't be free. If they want people to work for them, they need to offer benefits, and if they can't, well too bad: that's how the business world operates. its not a dictatorship, its business.

    October 2, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine


    @Tom Paine

    Chief Justice Roberts sold his soul – and the country with it. We will continue this fight.
    No, you sold your soul. He followed the law. Sucks, don't it?

    October 2, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    tom l

    Lol. You got me! I didn't know you were an internet geek
    So you just admitted that you throw your lies out there in the hopes that there's no resident expert on this thread to catch you at it and dispute them.
    You're not only an instigator tom l you're also stupid to boot.
    BTW you'd think that DATA's moniker would've given you a hint to go fish in another pond.

    October 2, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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