November 17th, 2008
06:20 PM ET
14 years ago

GOP senator scolds DeMint over McCain comments


Watch Sen. Shelby in The Situation Room.

(CNN) - Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby scolded fellow Republican Sen. Jim DeMint Monday over his recent criticisms of John McCain.

"I think my friend Sen. Jim DeMint should keep this stuff in the caucus and not be out beating up on fellow republicans," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

The comments refer to DeMint's recent statement - first reported by CNN - to a gathering of conservatives in South Carolina, during which he said the Republican party has strayed from its own "brand," and directly faulted McCain for the GOP's across-the-board defeat on Election Day.

"We have to be honest, and there's a lot of blame to go around, but I have to mention George Bush, and I have to mention Ted Stevens, and I'm afraid I even have to mention John McCain," he said Friday night.

Earlier: DeMint says McCain betrayed conservative principles

"McCain, who is a proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver's seat," DeMint added. "His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn't fit the label, but he was our package."

In the interview Monday, Shelby suggested the blame does not rest with McCain but instead with President Bush.

"I wouldn't blame John McCain. John McCain has not been president of the United States. He ran a spirited campaign. We lost. I hated to see us lose but there were a lot of things working against us," Shelby said.

"I think the GOP, the Grand Old Party, the republicans, they will regroup," Shelby also said. "This reminds me 16 years ago when you had the big history by president Clinton and they said that the GOP was finished. We were back in a few years, we will be back again."

- CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: Jim DeMint
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. World Peace Begins With Me

    It's like blaming Jesus for the KKK.

    November 17, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. Who's Hiding Obama's Aunt?

    Obama's aunt is an illegal immigrant who was deported 4 years ago but failed to leave. She's been living on taxpayer money in Public Housing.
    Now she's disappeared somewhere in the U.S.

    Who's hiding her illegally and why????

    November 17, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Lesley

    I agree. This is a major reason why Repubs have lost their appeal. They attack and blame and don't have any ideas for moving their party forward. They keep chasing their tails.

    November 17, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Larry, Hazleton, Pa

    May I say with all due respect – I certainly hope not – What BushCheney have done to this country under the banner of Republican should never be allowed to even come close again. They (republicans) have to change there name and ideas if they want my respect ever again.

    November 17, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Blue is my favourite colour

    Shelby, DeMint, and GOP. I wouldn't count on that come back any time soon.

    November 17, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Janice Illinois

    I don't believe that there is need in America for two parties, Why we are all Americans , Why does two words, ReP. And Dem have to devide one country to the point of nothing getting done or resolved and that is what is happening for years now.

    November 17, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Nick

    The party is falling apart. They can rebuild, but the internal fighting has to stop.

    November 17, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. AEK

    Could it be that the reason the Republicans lost the race for President and several others is that the Party does not represent the American people anymore? Even exit polling for those who did vote for McCain indicated that many were voting against the Democrats. The party of Lincoln has been in trouble ever since they started pandering to the Christian right wing faction of the party that forced Sarah Palin on the ticket and sealed Senator McCain's fate.

    November 17, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. Obama Discriminating Against Gays

    Obama told us he was the unity candidate? So why does he not embrace us gays? He walked away from us on Prop 8 and said nothing while we marched for our rights over the weekend.

    Is he afraid of the black community which voted against our basic rights by 70-30?

    How can he not support human rights unless he's just another slick politician who won't walk the talk. Are we not human? Speak to us president elect Obama. Where's the tolerance all of your followers talk about????

    November 17, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    Didn't the GOP god Ronald Reagan once say that NO Republican should speak ill of another one? I guess with all the in-fighting that rule has gone by the wayside, too.

    November 17, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Rorschach

    DeMint and his fellow right-fringe loonies would do the GOP a favor if they'd drop out of the party and form their own. Call it the "Tin Foil Hat Party". They can dedicate themselves to the memory of Joe McCarthy, swear allegiance to Limbaugh, and campaign on the platform that they will never rest until every pinko commie socialist is in leg irons, and demand birth certificates from every member of Congress, the Cabinet, etc etc ad infinitum. That'll keep them busy for awhile.

    November 17, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Truth Hurts

    What do Obama's aunt on his father side have to do with this conversation? And the republicans need to stop airing their dirty laundry!! That's one of the reason why they lost because they are not a uniform party!!!

    November 17, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Independent In NY

    Shouldn't he mention the fact that congressional republicans enabled Bush by voting in lock-step with everything Bush proposed?

    November 17, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Republican voter

    Jim DeMint is a a jerk- i am sorry, but he is. I don't think he represents the GOP either- he is an extremist and needs to see the reality of the world these days. John McCain was just fine- he had some ups and downs during the campaign- but doesn't need to be blamed for the state of the GOP these days. It's the DeMints that do, frankly.
    A republican

    November 17, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Red State Republican who voted for CHANGE!

    I love sitting back and watching this party crumble...its a karma thing!

    November 17, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Tulsa

    The GOP has only itself to blame. Just look at the photos from the Dem Nat. Convention and those at the RNC.... The Republicans have remained the party of old, white males and the neo-con brown shirts.
    They bring nothing respectful or intelligent or new to the table. Let them bicker and tear themselves down as long as they want. Just stay the heck out of the way of the new administration. You all have had your way and it has done great harm. Take your OLD party and go.

    and to"Who's Hiding Obama's Aunt?", grow up. there are many problems to deal with and this isn't one worth considering.

    November 17, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Warren from TEXAS

    Who's Hiding Obama's Aunt? Who cares?

    November 17, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. jerry rubin, Whitefish Bay, WI

    Sen DeMint is way off base. If he sticks to what is presently the "base" the GOP will be out of every branch of Government for a long long long time and other GOP good people know it.

    November 17, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Michael

    Unfortunately, the GOP has been highjacked over the last 28 years by faith-based extremists. When they jetison these scoundrels and realize that there are great things to be accomplished closer to the middle of the political spectrum and stop fanning the flames of social wars, they may find new relevance.

    November 17, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Republican voter

    You can't gropu Shelby with DeMint, "blue is my favorite..."-
    At least Shelby knows what it means to be bipartisan when necessary.

    November 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Tim

    Soros? Please. The Scaife Family/Foundations have given 10x as much to rightwing/conservative foundations over the last 30 years. Nice try on a boogeyman Repugs!

    November 17, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    As they say, it's the economy, stupid.
    McCain was neck and neck with Obama until economy went into a tailspin and Obama then pulled ahead. If the economy had remained fairly steady until after the election, McCain may very well have been elected. The party in charge always gets the blame for bad times, making it easy for Obama to say we need a change and for voters to simply say throw the bums out (and get new bums in there).
    Obama didn't really say much other than platitudes and he killed the changes for gay marriage here in California when he came out against gay mariage.

    November 17, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Kpawlak

    It's beginning to appear that a majority of the times I read the CNN Ticker it seems like a place for liberal and Dems to use as a punching bag towards predominantly negative stories about individual Republicans or the party in general.

    Come on CNN the election is over.
    Your credibility is waning.

    November 17, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Ben - Portland, Or

    You know, there's enough blame to go around. You can heap the blame on everybody from Rove to Atwater clear back to Nixon, but the real problem with the republicans is that they're straying too far from center, campaigning on wedge issues, and basically polarizing themselves right out of relevance.

    They built a formidable and impressive machine in the 80s, but they've spent too much time and energy on keeping control and not enough on listening to voters or recognizing the need to meet in the middle to get things done. The single driving force behind the republican party has been control, control, control, but what have they done with it?

    November 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. carol

    Is this man for real, spirited campaign....McCain ran a negative campaign nothing spirited about it unless he saw something different
    from the rest of us!!!!!!!
    Why can't members of your own party be allowed to say what they think about one of their for things going against them he was right.
    Number one is all the negativity and secondly is Sarah Palin and her rabble rousing antics, plus a badly run campaign from the start.
    They all need to go back to the drawing board and re-think how they should re-group as a party and start thinking on more inclusive ideas and change the faces in their crowds, more diverse and not so prone to one group.

    November 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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