White House denies GOP leader told Obama ‘I cannot even stand to look at you’
October 23rd, 2013
07:36 PM ET
6 months ago

White House denies GOP leader told Obama ‘I cannot even stand to look at you’

(CNN) - The White House Wednesday denied an accusation from a top Democratic Senator that a House Republican leader told President Barack Obama “I cannot even stand to look at you” during a recent White House meeting on the government shutdown.

“I looked into it and spoke with somebody who was in the meeting and it did not happen,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in response to a question about the charge, which Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, posted online three days ago.

“Senator Durbin stands by his comments,” said Max Gleischman, a spokesman for Durbin.

But Gleischman declined publicly to provide additional details about the allegation or say who Durbin believes uttered the remark.

In his comments, which were posted on his campaign’s Facebook page, Durbin wrote: “Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn't try hard enough to communicate with Republicans. But in a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the President, one GOP House Leader told the President: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you.’ What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?”

The alleged exchange occurred at an October 10 meeting between the President and a group of about 20 Republican House members – mostly members of leadership and committee chairs, according to a Congressional aide. Durbin did not attend the meeting.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner demanded Durbin retract his allegation and apologize.

“Senator Durbin’s accusation is a serious one, and it appears to have been invented out of thin air. The Senator should disclose who told him this account of events, retract his reckless allegations immediately, and apologize,” said Brendan Buck.

Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, who attended the White House meeting, told CNN Durbin's account "never happened."

"It's irresponsible and divisive of him because it never happened and he ought to apologize for saying it. He ought to just man up and say 'you know what, I said something foolish I shouldn’t have said, it didn’t happen’ and apologize."

–CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story.


Filed under: Dick Durbin • GOP • President Obama • White House
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. tom l

    I'm not sure how anyone can stand any of these children in Congress. Just a joke. All these politicians do is pit one American against another. Repubs do it to dems. Dems do it to repubs. Does anyone not see this obvious game these politicians play to pit us against each other so they can gain more power??????

    October 23, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    I wouldn't put it past any of them. They've said that and worse. But President Obama just lets their hate roll off his shoulders.

    Btw, since Durbin didn't name any names, just who exactly should he apologize to?

    October 23, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. Faux Scandals

    Lying and the GOP go hand and hand.

    October 23, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  4. S. B. Stein

    Durbin didn't specify which one of the GOP leadership stated it. Could it have been Cantor? Or was it someone else?

    October 23, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  5. A Kickin' Donkey

    Well that WOULD BE disrespectful to the President and we know that the Republicans are ALWAYS reapectful of the POTUS so this could not have happened, Mr. Durbin. Oh wait, never mind.

    October 23, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. obamie needs to leave

    its hard to look at someone. when all they do is lie. I Dont blame him for saying it

    October 23, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  7. Name carl

    The Gop has disrepected this President so much its truly SHAMEFUL. Never seem anything so shameful.

    October 23, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    IT HAPPENED. This is only a small fraction of the nasty things thrown the president's way on a daily basis. Thank God we have a president and First Lady who are too classy to even repeat the ignorant names they're called. As I said, IT HAPPENED.

    October 23, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  9. Name Uche Agonsi

    Whats the need for denials, a worse inccidence happened publicly, under media glare when in a Congressional Address, a Repub Congressman called the POTUS a liar. You can visit the websites to see how critics desecrate the President. These perpetrators of hate politics are in a mundane world conservative political belief. It might hurt morally, but it must not prevent Mr. President from his goals.

    October 24, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  10. calif guy

    Dick Durbin is a race batter. He is a career politician from Chicago and is used to hardball tactics of Chicago Thugery Politics.

    Come to think of it, all Democrats are race baiters and class warfare politicians.

    October 24, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  11. king

    where were all these folks ordering durbin to apologise, when the lunatic tea partiers were disrespecting this president left and right, i didnt know they knew apology was in the dictionary.

    October 24, 2013 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  12. A True Conservative

    So, who is teling the truth here?

    October 24, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  13. Ron L

    This whole article shows just how piety things have gotten. First, it was CHILDISH for Senator Durbin to post something based on hearsay. Second, it is just a CHILDISH that CNN is covering it like it is even remotely important.

    October 24, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Ok, so "if" it did not happen, what exactly are you reporting here?
    Do you now have to delve into the realm of "thngs that could've but did not happen" to demean the President?
    But since you brought this non-event to light CNN, I tend to believe that it did happen, I wouldn't put it past the classy GOP to thusly speak to THIS President.
    And to have us think that it did in fact happen was your intent all along wasn't it?

    October 24, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The GOP should be very greatful for Presidential term limits because we most certainly would re-elect President Obama to a third term.

    October 24, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  16. Maripil

    Tea partiers are total haters and the most destructive people to converge in the face of the earth!!

    October 24, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |