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. thomas

    No doubt about it. Once the democrats get things up and running again, some republican maverick will come along to tear it all down again.

    November 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. AppleinAZ

    Yeah the "Grand Old Party" will be back to screw up America so a Dem has to fix it again.....HELLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOO, don't kid yourself buddy!

    November 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. 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 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. PL

    I'm sick of hearing how the BLACK community voted against prop 8. New flash blacks make up 28 percent of Califronia population and I find it hard to believe that all of them voted against the measure. Get Married or do something, but get over it. Blacks are not anti gay and believe me they have more in their community than any other race.

    November 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Obama Discriminating Against Gays November 17th, 2008 3:50 pm ET

    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.
    What you're talking about is pretty much out of his hands. This is a state problem, not a federal problem. You shouldn't blame this on him. Rather, you should blame whoever put prop 8 on the ballot in the first place.

    Barack Obama is not the president-elect of California. If anything, you should look at Arnold. At least he's the governor.

    November 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Maggie from Virginia

    The GOP is a dying breed. That's why all the attacks on Obama backfired. You reap what you sow.

    November 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. E

    I love watching Republicans eat their own...

    November 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. LaJuan

    YEAH without a doubt GRAND and OLD party.

    How pathetic!!!

    November 17, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Zak

    I think GOP stands for Grouchy Old Party

    November 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. johnrj08

    The Republicans have no brand. It's a fragmented mob of factions, running the gamut from moderate centrists to extreme, right-wing fundamentalists. As long as that party feels it has to pander to its extreme right faction, it will never win another national election.

    November 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. sbjvbj

    I suggest we ask Sen. Shelby what the Democrats should do about Sen. Lieberman.
    Another thing, it's obvious the Big Three are not located in his state. If they were he would be singing a different tune.
    Anybody who would just say let em go aren't thinking very far down the road. If Wall Street deserves another chance after their major screwup, then certainly the Big Three do.

    November 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. William

    The circular firing squad continues. Look for the Republican party to become more reckless, divisive, irresponsible and more obsessed with the "Dark Ages" than ever before in its next evil incarnation. Nothing embraces ignorance and arrogance better than the Republicans!

    November 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The GOP is grave digging.

    November 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Dan

    One point raised against McCain is worth examining and that is campaign funding. The rules reducing the free speech/money of entities such as corporations or unions is a good thing for the country. The fact that Pres. Obama raised so much money from many small donations is also a good thing. If both parties can use many small individual donations as the future model, there will be no quid-pro-quo in campaign financing.

    November 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. s

    The Republicans lost because they do NOT represent the majority, silent or otherwise. They are out of way touch with minorities who now are an integral part of America. Their slash-and-burn, partisan politics was rejected for what it is. And for what it isn't–unifying and cooperative.
    If this continues, they will have to change their party mascot from the elephant to the dinosaur.

    November 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Ian

    Well let's see...campaign finance only succeeded in moving the campaign money elsewhere, increased the size and role of the federal government, and further limited the effectiveness of third parties by forcing them to spend more money on lawyers and ballot access than advertising.

    November 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY

    Come join the Libertarian party, get the GOP to return to the core values of Freedom and Liberty for all.

    November 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Simmy

    Demint is demented. The Republican Party will be back again, but not soon – there are too many mean-spirited members. Just some of their comments on this blog and judge for yourselves.

    Shut up about Sen. McCain, own up to your flaws, and move on!

    November 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. jet

    Hey …..does anybody think that BO resigned from the senate so that he didn't have to vote on the Auto/Union Bailout? He didn't want to put his name on that …

    just like all the other times that he voted “present” when he was there. He is a coward….He will NEVER be able to run this country!!!

    November 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. SJC

    I don't believe anyone failed the Republucan or party or their right wing ideals. Bush lived up to them admirably. Just look at who still approves of him as president; the right wing ideologues who worship Ronald Reagan and everything DemInt espouses.

    The problem was that the Bush administration exposed the failed and discredited ideology. Yes, bad luck had something to do with it. 9/11 and the subprime mortgage meltdown were not caused by him but showed what militant go-it-alone foreign policy and blind deregulation can do.

    Sorry to say this to Reagan worshippers, but if he were president during these events he would have done the same thing Bush did. It's not Bush et al who abandoned conservatism, it's that conservatism is a failed ideaology that has no place in this century.

    November 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Matt

    Jim DeMint is a coward who does not have the courage to run for president himself and has the nerve to berate a person who did. Gutless coward who should lose his job the next time he is up for re election.

    November 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Andy

    The GOP stands for nothing but failure. Just take a look at the red ink Raygun years and the Bush debacles. GOP=War, Unemployment and recession/depression. The Republican party should be abolished and eventually it will as voters wake up.

    November 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Mike

    Who can believe it? The GOP imploding on itself. Looks good on them. Until they can figure out that the base is not what is good for the US, then maybe they can start to build in a fashion to reinstate themselves in some form of majority. Likely won't be in the White House for about 8 or 12 years.

    November 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. susan

    I think that is exactly why OBAMA did withdrawal already. He won’t have to vote "present" again. He leaves it to Bush to do.

    Notice that Biden is not resigning until Jan 20th? Obama
    made sure he has Biden to vote for his cause.

    NO BAIL OUT FOR AUTO INDUSTRY !!!! The Obama / Union trash.

    November 17, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. thomas from Alabama

    It is not just Mccain it is also Republicans like Shelby, I live in Alabama and this guy has an average amount of intelligence. He has only appealed to old southerners who want everything to stay the same. The only reason he is still in office is the democrats down here are border line conservative, in which those old southerners would rather support the good ol boy party of the Republicans. The state needs new leadership instead of sending hillbillies like Shelby to capital hill.

    November 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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