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. Greed is not good

    The GOP is all confused right now. The Neo-Con right-wing lunatics are fighting with the moderates. The GOP lunatics don't believe the scientists or global warming...rather only what Rushbaugh tells them to believe. Many people once upon a time refused to believe the earth was round also.

    November 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. Laverne

    To the person who said Obama is discriminating against gays:
    1. Obama made it clear during his campaigning that he does not support gay marriage, but did support civil unions.
    2. This is a state issue, so he should stay out of it.
    3. Obama does care about all people and can do so without supporting gay marriage.
    4. There are other states that allow gay marriage, maybe one should think about relocating if it means that much.
    5. For once and for all, Obama is not POTUS yet, he is President elect. Where is the rage for Bush and Swartgenegger certainly did not come out in support.

    November 17, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    I do fervently hope the GOP will rebuild itself around Sarah Palin!
    Yes, I am a Democrat, how did you guess?

    November 17, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Jackie

    Well, that's what happens when a liberal runs for president and gets defeated by a radical liberal.

    Next time around, I hope we have better choices. A real conservative and a conservative Democrat.

    November 17, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. Amber

    To "Who's Hiding Obama's Aunt?" –
    What in the world does your comment have to do with the subject at hand? Please, stay focused. Don't let your bitterness about the election get the best of you. We are talking here about the problems in the GOP, not about Obama, and most certainly not about Obama's aunt. Your worthless comment does not even deserve the correction that it needs. Keep your conspiracy theories to you dark basement and in your own poisoned head. It's a new day in America!!!

    November 17, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Mike from Newport, KY

    What is needed is for the Republicans to get back to the basics of fiscal responsibility, differentiating between issues/items that should be resolved on a state level and those that need to be resolved on a federal or national level. After the last 8 years of GWB, I don't believe that any R could have won the White House. It certainly didn't help that a Republican light – John McCain – was the party's eventual choice to run for President.

    Time to get back to basics and make sure that the message being sent is consistent, clear and concise.

    November 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Optimistic Again

    As long as the Republicans move further to the right to "satisfy their base", they will continue to alienate the center, and they will never recover.

    As long as intolerance excludes more people than it includes, it can't win.

    November 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Baracks aunt has not disappeared. It has been noted in a few publications that she is living with relatives in Detroit while she fights extradiction. People, if you are going to go off topic, at least get your information correct.

    November 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Concerned for our Country

    Who's Hiding Obama's Aunt? November 17th, 2008 3:45 pm ET wrote:
    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????

    What does this have to do with the subject. What's next. The people of the United States voted in Barak Obama in as our new President. Get over your anger and be an American. You people are so bitter it's scary!

    November 17, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Jon

    The Right is against redistribution of wealth, but apparently don't have a problem with redistributing the blame. Don't worry Republicans, there's plenty of blame to go around for everyone, you can all have a piece.

    November 17, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I agree with Shelby concerning DeMint. McCain is not the sole reason (or even a significant reason) why Republicans are not doing well. Republicans need to take a deep, long, and hard look at what the party stands for and how they will evolve with the rest of the nation. I believe strongly that McCain sold out his moderate-conservative values to please the right-wing extremist of the Republican Party-the same people who are now scapegoating McCain and Palin for destroying the party. If Republicans do not begin moving to the center on both social and foreign issues, then the party has no future.

    November 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Spencer/NY to VA

    Fighting in the ranks. I love it. Keep it up guys. While the rest of the country gets back on track, I can count on you republicans to keep up the bickering amongst yourselves.

    November 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Somewhere in Texas

    The Republicans lost because the Republicans proved they stand for nothing over the last eight years. McCain and the rest of the Republican congress members along with Bush can take that blame equally. I am a conservative and have voted Republican for years, but after the last eight years I'm pretty sick of the Republicans. I voted for McCain because I though he was the lesser of two evils, but only by a smidge. I'm not heartbroken that he lost. True conservatives – meaning those that believe in fiscal restraint and restraint of federal power – have no party. We are outcasts.

    November 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. Steve

    The Republicans continue to shout each other down and blame each other for a debacle in the recent election. Now they are blaming each other for blaming each other. Obviously these people are VERY slow leaners. Even though they lost the election by constantly playing the blame game, they continue to play it.

    We Americans don't want to hear who's fault it is. We couldn't care less about who's fault it is. We want action. We want problems solved. We want a plan for the future. We don't want pandering to the religious reactive right, or the liberal, licentious left. We want moderation. We want public service, not political self-gratification. We want thoughtful administration of our laws and our funds. We want stability. We want our laws to be reasonable, even-handed, and obeyed, not only by our peers, but by our politicians.

    Is that too much to ask? Apparently so, if you're a Republican. If you can't stop blaming each other, and you can't come up with a plan of action, then you have no business being in office. Hopefully a younger generation of Republicans can reclaim the party, and restore it to its former greatness.

    November 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. ron

    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????"

    I say you take it upon yourself to start a nation wide search. Forget about all the real problems the US has we need to mobilize the National Guard and make finding this woman a priority. Thank you for bring this to our attention you clown show.

    November 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Vicki5

    I think we should have a 3-party system. The Republicans can split into two different parties, which seems to be what they are doing anyway. One of them can be more of an Independent party??? I'm just thinking, then it would be more difficult to filibuster and hold up progress in this country. In my opinion, it should be 3 parties or 1 party, but the two party system (without 60 seat majority) gets us nowhere.

    November 17, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. insanity

    Michael November 17th, 2008 3:55 pm ET

    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
    I agree with you Michael, but I think the republican ideology is flawed and not relevant to the 21st century. I was listening to Bobby Jindal the other day, and he was going on and on about how there are conservative principles to every problem. What he doesn't realize is that there needs to be pragmatic solutions and not blind ideological principles.

    Jindall is the future of GOP, and if that's what the future looks like, they have no chance.

    November 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Carter in ATL

    Seems to me like Shelby recognizes that the truth hurts! I hope he understands that most people feel the same way as DeMint! Either way McCain lost and so did most of the GOP senators. Who cares who's to blame? It is what it is!!

    November 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. The Stallion & The Champ vs. The Old Mule & Winky Half-baked Alaska

    All I ask as a Democrat is that the Republican party bank their future on FAILIN' PALIN.

    November 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Anni, Uyo.

    Lord, when we are wrong help us to be ready to correct ourselves: and when we are right, pls help us to be easy to get along with.

    November 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. boered1

    Wow the back biting and back stabbing continues in the GOP self pity party!

    the fact is the GOP has strayed too far right and the Average American is no longer buying the "for God and GOP" line of crap. The tighter they cling to the radical religious right and try to take rights from Americans and limit personal freedom the worse it will get for the GOP. I support them on fiscal responsibility but when they try to force their religion down my throat as the law of the land I resist voting for them no matter what my basic agreements with them are. GW bush ended it for me when he said God told him to invade Iraq, the GOP lost it when they told me that "religious freedom" only applies to Christians (fundemental ones at that) and that portions of the Constitution and bible should be ignored. Now the left needs to be careful and realize that opposition to the radical religious right does NOT mean we buy all the redistribution and removal of our gun rights malarky either.

    November 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. rayjay

    Mabe just worry about getting the country on its feet and working again not trying to blame and run the other direction. The poeple voted you in to better life for them. Smarten up or get out.

    November 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. tj21

    Obama also said in one of the debates w/ Sen. McCain that he opposed homosexual marriage. The people of CA voted to end this disgrace against real marriage. There is nothing further to discuss; the people have spoken.
    Now, on to other matter at hand: Oh please! Out of everything that McCain may have had some blame for, the failure of the Republican party in the elections is hardly one of them. The fact of the matter is, what candidate wants to be put in the precarious situation of having to demonize his party's own office holder in order to get elected? McCain was in an impossible situation. If anything, how ablut blaming Mark Foley, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, or better yet, how about blaming Bush? His incompetence and arrogance may have cost his party not only the White House, but the House and Senate for years to come. If Obama is only marginally bettr than Bush, he probably will win a second term in a landslide.

    November 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. JL

    Honestly, calling global warming a farce because they think it will hurt the economy...what economy? Turning on eachother and blaming their most recent presidential candidate? ouch!

    Either you get real, GOP, and come up with solutions that will truly help voters, rather than trying to fool us and divide us, or we will not vote for you. Period.

    For years, you have been lieing about your opponent's character, trying to turn us against eachother using social issues like gay marriage, and tearing our country down with your "with us-american/against us-unamerican" mentality. Well, obviously by our votes in the last 2 elections, we are no longer that gullable, even though you still think we are.

    If you do not drop your smoke screen and get a real message and a real strategy (rather than hate-based tactics), you will keep losing, GOP! And it's no one's fault but your own.

    November 17, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. Joy Remson-Johnson

    Shelby needs to quell the dissent because soon Republicans will start calling the good ole boys from the South like him who came up during the Newt Gingrich Republican rise. They all stood by Bush and voted consistently with the man. They hold much of the blame for putting party above the nation and the ideals of fiscal conservatism and smaller goverment that they said they stood by. They need to be tossed out and new blood needs to replace the old GOP guard, but this is just a suggestion from a Liberal, so what do I know. Anyways, if your in Georgia help toss out one of the good ole boys by electing Jim Martin for Senate in the run off December 2.

    November 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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