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. Lynn in NM

    Can't anyone in the Congress and Senate just shut their mouths and get on with business??? I am so sick of all the fighting, that we should fire the whole lot of you. No wonder this is the do-nothing Congress! Get ready for 4-8 more years of this disgusting display of infantile behavior.

    November 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Turner, MD

    "Who's hiding..."-3:45
    Obama's aunt is packing her things to migrate into the white house! That's your answer so you can shut up about it now! Who cares?

    November 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Sam, Lincoln,NE

    For openers, who the hell cares about Obama's aunt? I wish the right wing idiot posting under the name "Who's Hiding Obama's Aunt" would crawl back under his rock.

    As for Senator Shelby, I don't think it's his place to criticize Senator DeMint or anyone else for expressing an opinion over why the Republicans lost so big. It was equal parts George W. Bush and his policies, John McCain and a poorly run campaign, and a party platform that is beholden to religious fanatics and totally out of touch with what the vast majority of this country wants. Despite their empty promises, the GOP has never been the party of the "big tent" and never will be so long as they continue to promote the hateful, exclusionary policies of pseudo-Christian right wing fanatics who want Armageddon to start sooner rather than later.

    November 17, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Maggie in NYS

    Who's hiding Obama's Aunt – why don't you as PRESIDENT BUSH?

    November 17, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. snugglebunny

    The Republican party will not be in existence in 10 years.

    November 17, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. rm

    @Who's Hiding Obama's Aunt:

    She needs to be protected from ignorant people who will probably try to hurt the lady. You sound like one of them she needs to hide from...

    November 17, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Angie


    November 17, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. just a thought

    shelby can call it spirited if he wants, but it just shows he still can't admit that the republicans and john mccain ran a dirty and awful campaign.

    November 17, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Haramzadah

    Whats better than Repugs getting knocked out in an election? Repug infighting!

    Fight! Fight! Fight!

    And fade into irrelevance you useless hate-mongering insects. ;-D

    November 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Greg Smith, Clifton Heights PA

    The reason that John McCain lost is because this Country has alot of idiots who vote for Democrats. The Democratic Party MUST be put out of Business. America get smart and vote Republican.

    November 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. White girl

    OMG! I forgot all about his aunt!! That is so much more important than everything else going on in the world! So glad that's the priority in your head!
    Seriously you idiot, shut your computer down, clock out for the day and go home!

    November 17, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. SBP, Syosset, NY

    OMG, the hard core Conservatives STILL believe global warming is a hoax.

    Heck, what do 99% of the world's scientists know? If it stands in the way of big business, they REFUSE to believe it! Oh well, kinda like evolution.

    November 17, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Gary

    It wasn't long ago the Republicans tried to blame Obama for all of Cicago's problems.
    Well if thats the case, DeMint, Graham and Sanford better get back here to S.C. and help solve ours. We have low student test scores, high crime, job loss and a lot of poor people who need help.
    Graham especially, try and pull your self away from your buddy and get back to S.C. where you were elected to serve.
    You hardley have any advice we should be listening too.

    November 17, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. ln1959

    First of all the repubs did this to themself. They went with everything Bush said and did not stand up to this little man. The country got upset and got rid of the repubs.

    Obama Discriminating Against Gays - No ones Discriminating Against Gays but Gays. The country is going through to much right now to worry about a man and man or woman and woman getting married. Secondly, the reason it was 90 percent blacks voted against that prop was because they voted straight Democrate. So stop your discriminating. Don't you think there are black gays and les that didn't realize they were voting against that prop. Guess your were listening to Rush Lim also.

    November 17, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    Oh man, there are some cynics on today! And a few nuts. Honestly, WHO CARES ABOUT OBAMA'S AUNT??!! We have enormous problems, thanks to Bush & the Republicans!

    The Republicans lost because they are a bunch of hate-lies-fear-and-division mongers!

    As long as the GOP continues their vile bullying, they will continue to LOSE!

    November 17, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Laura, Boston

    John McCain was once again defeated by George Bush even though he ran again Obama.

    If the economy didn't take a nose dive in September this race would have been a lot closer. But because of the severity of the economy and the record of George W. Bush, John McCain didn't stand a snoball chance in H*ll!

    Sen. DeMint hasn't been in the Senate long enough to know that John McCain is a powerful republican figure. He needs to realize that being bi-partisan is the correct way for the party to head. I guess he must listen to Rush Limbaugh 24/7 so he believes one needs to be a totally right wing conversative to be a good republican and that "my friends" just isn't correct.

    As to Sarah Palin...she wasn't given a chance. The media was against her from the get go! I hope she listens, learns and takes in every bit of knowledge being governor offers her so she can play a more active part in her party. Do Meet the Press, O'Reilly, Face the Nation over the next 4 years. You'll see a different more confident Sarah Palin.

    November 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |

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

    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????


    Who is hiding your brain?

    Please take your inane, juvenile comments and post them on FAUX news. Say hi to that loser Hannity.

    November 17, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Minneapple gal

    Well karma is something else. Im glad the republican party is folding. They do NOT represent nor reach out to the REAL americans that survive day to say
    REpublican party are RACIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 17, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Anne

    It is so nice to see the Republicans fighting about who lost the election and worrying about how they can regain power rather than worry about how to get this country back on the correct path. At this rate they deserve to lose every election cycle. Our country is facing some pretty serious problems currently and they do not include worrying about the Republicans regaining control.

    November 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Candia

    Erm, not that I mind Republicans pointing fingers at each other, but: If DeMint shouldn't criticise McCain because he's a fellow Republican, wouldn't that also mean that Shelby shouldn't criticise Bush? Last I heard, Bush was a Republican, as well!

    November 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Allen in Hartwell, GA

    Maybe if the RNC and GOP implode we can do away with the Democrats also, and have straight independent voting. If we could do away with the Electoral College also then we could have true representation of the people.

    November 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Washington Observer

    Let all the Republicans gather in a confidential caucus; sit around a very large circular table; and then all point fingers at each other. The only decent republican left is the one in Alaska; she was honest and a breath of fresh air. The Republican insiders and power brokers, including Mitt Rommney's staff, have tried to smear her and hold her up to ridicule. I would take governor Palin over any of the stuffed shirts - the insider Republicans need to look in the mirror if they want to find blame

    November 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. bill for barack

    While John McCain certainly didn't run the best campaign possible, giving in, as he did, to the politics of fear, hatred and racism, there is so no way that he could ever have beaten Obama.
    You can thank Bush for that.

    November 17, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. KIR

    Since you anti-Obamans have nothing else you can attack Obama on, now you resort to attacking the illegality of his aunt. Please find something else worthwhile attacking Obama on. You're really stretching now.

    November 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Obama supporter #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????"
    OMG, This is to funny CNN and I could not stop laughing.

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