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. Erik from Real PA

    The re already is an alternative to the distasteful new GOP: It's called the Libertarian Party. The LP advocates for fewer taxes, smaller government, free-market economy and minding our own business overseas. Sounds like our grandparents' Republican Party. The mistake the GOP made was in pretending to care about so-called "values" issues.

    November 17, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Terry, Dallas Texas

    Note to all the people still posting comments about Obama's supposed fake birth certificate and his aunt and how they are hiding this or that etc.

    The election is over and Barrack Obama is the next POTUS. All your ranting and spewing will not change it. Thre will be no do-overs nor will the results be overturned. I suggest you get over it and get on with your lives.

    November 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. WhoCares?

    LOL..Don't go after fellow Republicans and then in the same statement bashes President Bush.

    Sorry to let you know this champ : Bush is fellow Republican.

    November 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Sherry in Kentucky

    Times, they are a changin'. The country is becoming more and more moderate. Republicans are known historically for being pro-slavery, anti civil-rights, pro segregation, anti-social security, etc., etc., etc. They have come down on the wrong side of every major decision for many, many years. It's time for the GOP to adapt or die.

    November 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. bill

    knock yourself out backed bushes failed policies.for eight year.its time for the chickens to come to roost.if you dont want to help barack straighten.bushes mess out. THEN GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY.WE HAVE HAD IT

    November 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Mark

    "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.

    If "spirited campaign" means one of hate and intolerance then the GOP succeeded.

    November 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |

    Dick Shelby (R-AL) and his Neocon repugliCONS to their Wall Street cronies:
    Want a bailout? Is $700 Billion enough?

    Dick Shelby (R-AL) and his Neocon repugliCONS to the Auto Industry workers:
    You want a $25 Billion Bridge Loan? DROP DEAD!

    Now that's sticking to the GOP principles – You betcha...

    November 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Rick

    After 8 years of listening to the democrats whine, complain and criticize about everything George Bush does, I'm kinda looking forward to whining, complaining and criticizing everything that Obama does.

    And it will be even more fun is watching the Obama administration implode, which it will.

    November 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Thanks, but no thanks...

    Senator DeMint should be ashamed of himself. Sen. McCain gave up so much to accommodate the far right in his campaign, and this is the thanks they offer?! Nonsense.

    November 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Ken

    What a crock - so many Democraps whining about Republican "hate" when all you've done for the past 8 solid years is spew venom and hatred. The fact is, John McCain lost because he was only slightly to the right of Obamajesus - it was a choice between Socialism Light and Socialism - and thus most Republicans sat this one out.

    November 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. David Newport, OR

    RIP GOP. As long as you continue to seek the path of divisiveness and dissention, this is the best you will have.

    November 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Ken in Dallas

    Republicans eating their own again (snicker).

    They just don't get that it's their philosophy, their approach, and their mendacity that have been repudiated this year.

    If Republicans think this is the way to regroup, we may be free of their influence for some time to come.

    Stop looking for someBODY to blame anywhere but in your mirrors. What's to blame for the Republican defeat is the fact that their power has been based on misdirection of an ignorant electorate. Their strategy won't work again until the American people are once again fat, dumb, and happy. That will be a while.

    November 17, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. BC

    Hey, great! The GOP really should embrace the views of the far-right lunatic fringe and ignore what real Americans are interested in. They will cease to exist as any kind of real political force in the great country – which is fine with me...

    November 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Drill, Baby, Drill

    Too much politics. Not enough statesmanship.

    November 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Maybe the GOP needs to find and ask those of us who changed our registrations during this campaign. We'd be more than happy to tell you why we jumped ship.

    November 17, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. JIM...TX

    EW you ARE DUMBfounded for sure! Just as us "liberals" are talking Obama for 2 terms you idiot Republican's are calling for his head and belittling everything he's doing BEFORE he sets foot in the WH. GET OVER IT. Obama is going to be our President an hopefully it WILL be for 2 terms. He'll need it to clean up you right wing nut jobs mess!!!

    November 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. change

    In 2012 the GOP will offer up another unqualified candidate to push the the republican hate agenda. Then all the right-wing bigots will crawl out of the woodwork to support their new zealot until the country is ran into the ground again. At which point the dems will have to bail them out again while they all cry, and call each other names.

    November 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. Greg

    McCain was the only Republican who had any chance of winning that election.

    Part of his problem (besides the failing economy) was that he enlisted the help of the same individuals who ran the Presidential campaign of G.W. Bush. Their influence was obvious and it led to the horrible decision to tab Sarah Palin as VP.

    If McCain would have run the campaign he ran in 2000, and picked a decent VP candidate, he would have fared better.

    If the Republicans want to win in the future they better find a way to come up with a new message. The same old wedge issue politics ain't gonna cut it any more.

    November 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. suzyku

    mccain IS a disgrace, not because of his conservative politics but because he sold his soul to the devil, sold out his "country first" ethics and sold his integrity and ethics, all in the name of blind ambition! He has proven he has no character and certainly no judgment. He was more than willing to thrust that moron, sara palin, on this country even though she was and is unfit and unqualified and by doing so he has shown that he, too is unfit!

    November 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. ED FL

    It is funny Shelby calling the kettle black. All of a sudden he is a pinnicle of honor and prestige. I can remember when this not so honorable man took the democratic's peoples money and votes and went to DC. then like a two faced scab[like he is ] turned around and changed parties to the GOP[ WHICH HAS MANY MEANINGS]. Live it up old man the south is rising again to their old heitage of Democrats and they will not have room for likes of a turncoat like you.

    November 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Michael, Houston Texas

    How about blaming that dim wit you, the faithful RNC chose for VP, Sarah Palin. She lost it for you guys. If I remember, McCain was in a dead heat prior to chosing that clown. Place blame where it needs to be placed. You Republicans are so misguided and delusional that you cannot even get the blame game correct.

    November 17, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Thanks, but no thanks...

    Since Sen. DeMint is sadly representative of too much divisiveness in the GOP, I would not be so sure about that 2012 thing...

    November 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Marie

    Why did I vote for Obama since I am a registered Republican who has voted Republican for over 50 yrs?

    George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Iraq, waterboarding, Abu Grahib prison, illegal wiretapping, no capture of bin Laden, no energy policy, executive signing statements, etc etc etc.

    When my Republican party loses the religious right wing, they will get my vote. In other words, I don't care about gay marriage or abortion, but I do care about being blown to pieces by an IED!!!!

    November 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Tifoso

    The public as a whole has voted against the Republican candidate in four of the last five presidential elections - 92, 96, 00, and 08. The GOP won in 04 as a result of the power of incumbency. GOP lost the popular vote in 00 but won due to the Electoral College and help from a GOP Supreme Court and Ralph Nader. Those facts tell us that the Rep "brand" is out of step with the majority of our voters. The Dems won in 08 with votes from young people. The GOP is chasing a rainbow if it thinks these voters will move to the GOP column anytime soon. The post-Reagan GOP has been losing its grip on the electorate. The slide will continue.

    November 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Lori

    The best way to conquer a foe is to divide them–well done whomever, the Republicans are dead. Let's just hope the democrats don't follow–I really don't pay this much in taxes to live in a third world nation.

    November 17, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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