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. Thirsty

    Every time I hear or see Jim DeMint, I think of Crème de menthe and then I want to go get drunk.

    November 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Jim West

    The Republican's loss in this last election was due completely to their support of President Bush. Running against the Bush record was impossible. That does not take an Einstein to figure out.
    John McCain could have walked on water, and it would not have helped.

    November 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Rashawn

    And the Republicans said they had the election in the bag because the Democrats were not unified like the Republicans....


    November 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    I agree with Shelby on this one. Bush has completely trashed the Republican brand, so John McCain didn't stand a chance.

    November 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Barb

    My grandparents (on both sides) were staunch Republicans. Both of my parents supported the party. When I turned 21 (that's what it use to be) I too joined the Republican party.

    No more-I traveled, I saw the world, I met people of all different races, colors and creed which meant that not only my eyes were opened but so was my mind.

    Unfortunately the Republican party has a very narrow tunnel vision of what life and the world is about. They refuse to come into the modern everyday world and so I could not long tolerate their straight laced bias opinion of life as it is.

    I proudly am a Independent and will vote for the individual running for a position whether it be local or national. I choose what they stand for and not what is written down on paper.

    November 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. DJ in TX

    As a Democrat, I actually do not want to see the Republican party go away. I actually like some checks and balances. With the majority in Congress, I actually hope Obama doesn't give in to everything Pelosi or Reid's wants.

    I agree with Sen Shelby. If there is to be any infighting, it should be done in house, not publicly. I also believe as long as Republicans cater to the far right, they are going to have some issues. If they leave the social stuff to the individual states vs trying to have something added to the constitution, they'll be better off. I'm not saying give up on their cause, but fight it at state levels vs federal levels. Conservatives state they want government out of lives, then stay out of them. Trying to FORCE the social issues down our throats, doesn't seem to fit the Conservative rhetoric of government out of our lives. I'm a Democrat and I like fiscal conservatism. But I also believe government can and should help when necessary.

    November 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Democrat for McCain


    November 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |






    November 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. TomT

    Here is to Ron and Who's hiding Obama's auntie?

    Darn it, another "turrorist" that slipped through. I bet anarchist Obama auntie is sitting in a Chicago basement cooking up some explosives with potatoes and sweet yams. Man, imagine the security risk. Before you know it she will blow up a babymilk factory. Hahahahaha... trembling in my boots here.

    Hello, wake up. This article is about two republican senators having a public discussion and maybe disagreement. What's next? Are you going to bring in Micky Mouse and his deviant friends, like Donald Duck who runs around half dressed with three underage nephews?
    Maybe the Grinch has a secret agenda too? Imagine if he ran his sled into Whoville fully loaded with bricks and firecrackers???? Woooohoooooo. Get real, make comments like a halfway literate adult or swallow it. T

    November 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |

    Shelby scolds DeWitt for public negative statements about a fellow repub...But isn't that what Shelby is doing? Publicly criticizing fellow repub. And you wonder why they are falling apart.

    November 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. John Q. Cynic

    You can't blame John McCain for the losses the republican party suffered, the blame goes to the entire party. The republicans forgot that we stepped into the 21st century, and many Americans are seeing republicans as the past millenium party, and they don't fit into modern American philosophy. I believe many Americans are tired with the parties evangelical far right movement that have taken steps closer to a theocracy, and that's a mistake. I have no problem telling my rep that I'm not a christian, I flushed that primitive part of myself years ago. Their self rightous attitude doesn't work with people who can think for themselves, it's time to flush the evangelicals because they're a wart on American society. Sorry bible thumpers, time to step into the real world.

    November 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. chat

    You call it "CHANGE".

    We call it "Recycling of Old Washington".

    OBAMA has no CHANGE DNA at all.

    He is good at doing shows though. And making propoganda for himself. But he can not fool people like us.

    November 17, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. RJ in NYC

    What I find amazing is that almost everyone posting here is a hate mongering LIBERAL. The anger and venom you spit at those who you think differently from proves you are truly the "one sided" "hate mongering" " idealogues" you claim everyone else is. So much for CNN being unbiased LOL, that is a joke. Look how all you Libs hang around in here.....

    57 million people voted for the Republican party. You Liberals are nuts... It is not like the vote went 90/10 against republicans. Please save your drivel and "change" the country. The clock starts in January '09 so you better start moving!!!! And when you accomplish nothing in four years are you going to still say it is the ghost of Gorge Bush's fault?

    November 17, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. EJ

    Is Alambama Sen. Richard Shelby so against helping the U.S. auto industry because foreign automakers Honda, Hyundai , and Mercedes-Benz have plants in his home state of Alabama?

    I'm sure no tears would be shed by the foreign automakers if the U.S. auto industry goes belly up.

    November 17, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Mike

    McCain lost because Obama smartly resorted to fear mongering politics. McCain lost because he failed to stress that it was Democrats and Republicans alike that put our Nation in this mess. McCain lost because Obama bought the election. As a 3rd party voter, I'm infinitely disappointed that Obama chose to lie about not using public donations for the election. McCain is the only Republican that would actually agree to such a thing and Obama failed to do what's right, long term. So now, as in every race past, the election will go to who spends more. What a great allocation of resources. (sarcasm)

    November 17, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Agnes Fleming

    Do the Republicans simply not get it: global warming is a fact of life, it is real, and it is accelerated by human activity. Was Sarah Palin after all just a reflection of how dumbed down conservative republicans have become? Either they get with the program, or they find themselves out of business.

    November 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Julie

    Message to Who's Hiding Obama's Aunt. . . You're pathetic. Why don't you tell us your real agenda? Get a life.

    November 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. EW

    I'm dumbfounded at all of these liberals are foolish enough to keep clamoring for a two-term Obama and we haven't even seen him in action yet. It is even more mysterious at where all of these liberals were 4 and 8 years ago that are now saying we have to work together. All I heard for 8 years from liberals is how bad conservatives are.

    The best part is that now teh liberals have no one to blame in Congress except themselves. No more scapegoats to hide behind.

    My crystal ball tells me that there will be a dramatic change in the makeup of the House and Senate in two years because liberals couldn't make good on thier campaign pandering.

    November 17, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Watching Republicans bicker is more fun than my dog eat peanut butter.

    And the visual is not dissimilar...

    November 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Bipartisan_?

    What do you think as American people, Mr. Obama used his rhetoric putting everyone down, and tearing people apart, during primary and general elections, and criticizing the sitting president, to get elected, because he himself had no records of his own to show, but now is coming to everyone else with experience, knowledge and tested leadership skill... for help? He is calling it "bipartisanship," or is it his own inability, or lack of confidence, or inferiority complex?? Only time can tell.

    November 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Chuck, Tennessee

    One person here called DeMint a "gutless coward." Well, he voted against the stimulus package, the bailout, is against the automaker bailout, and stands up against many other government giveaways that will break us all. I hope he stays in Congress for a very long time. I don't care if you call it Republican, Conservative, etc, but this country needs a party that will stop flushing our money down the toilet.

    November 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Thomas

    After 4 years of an Obama administration, the voters that moved over to the dems will be chomping at the bit to back the GOP candidate in 2012...

    November 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. MikeH


    There are numerous trolls posting today, like 'mike' and that hammerhead blathering about Obama's aunt.

    DON"T FEED THE TROLLS! Ignore their outrageous post, they hate that.

    On-topic now, Senator Shelby is an example of what the Republican party needs to be like. DeMint and Chambliss are examples of what the Republican party is. So long as these Lester-Maddox-loving gomers run the Republican party, it will continue to destroy itself, and America if we let it.

    November 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. tom

    when we as a nation put a end to the hate and violence that comes from christains then we can all live in peace. that also will end the republican party because they wont have anybody voteing for them

    November 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Laura

    The Republican party simply no longer represents the majority of the people. Conservative principles are not a mandate for a government which is supposed to be "of the people, for the people, by the people".

    I really think that pandering to a base that would teach "creationism" in school, deny global warming while the Republicans themselves can't figure out how to use the tools of technology to win an election demonstrates how backward thinking the Republican Party has become. Playing the blame game is not productive.

    There are plenty of smart, technologically savvy and forward thinking Republicans but they need to show some vision and leadership if they want to prove that conservative principles are relevant. And they need to help educate that right wing base of theirs to move forward.

    November 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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