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. Darren

    This guy is the typical fo down here. I'm in Georgia, and nowhere is the crappy state of education more evident down here than in who these people elect.

    Ask the people form Alabam what Shelpby has done for them – seriously, ask them. They can't tell you, because the elected leadership down here does NOTHING but point fingers at 'libs'. The people down here are just to stupid to know any different.

    November 17, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Republican

    A country that was founded on Christian values now talking about all the "hate" that Christians show. History repeats itself. Instead of suffering religious persecution in countries abroad, they are now suffering that same persecution in the land that was supposed to be free... Its interesting to see the shift where Christians have gone to being so hated in the US especially when this country was founded to allow that very freedom....

    November 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Reality Check

    If the GOP follows the "sage" advice of those like Demitt, they will be hanging out with the Wigs soon.

    November 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Phil-Little Rock

    I think he doesn't take into account that the economy wasn't in the toilet back then as it is now. It'll take a long while before the American people totally trust the GOP with any of their purse strings again.

    November 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. California Gold

    I sure hope the GOP can reconstitute into something better than what we have right now. With DeMint, Palin and far right wing proponents in the media, I just don't know many Republicans that are drawn to that brand of politics.

    November 17, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. catmom

    That's another problem that Republicans have, not facing reality. They refused to check Bush and our country is paying for it now. They refuse to hold Bush and his administration accountable for anything all the while blaming Democrats for all that is wrong with the country. Republicans have even gone as far as blaming Jimmie Carter for problems occurring now.

    To all of the posters who are whining about how bad Obama is going to be as President, what do you call the shape our country is in today? Are you saying Republicans have done a wonderful job leading the country? You all are so afraid that Obama will turn out to be a wonderful President and will make Bush and Republicans look worse than they already do. Get over it Bush and Republicans have been a total failure for the past 7+ years. Republicans allowed this to happen because they never bothered to hold him accountable. Obama is the best thing to happen to America. Give him a chance and you'll see.

    November 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. lovable liberal

    There's so much dirty laundry that needs to be aired that it's hard to keep it all out of sight of the public. The three factions of the Republican Party – bullies, fundies, and wealthies – are going to fight it out, and they won't always be able to obey Ronald Reagan's eleventh commandment.

    I'm having fun with the schadenfreude!

    November 17, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Skipperdog

    To paraphrase the famous Grover Norquist, I look forward to downsizing the republican party to the size it can be taken to the bathtub and drowned.

    November 17, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. blaising

    Does anybody see the relevence of these mouth-breathing radical righties??

    Oh yeah...I forgot...they're now the party of Deliverence country.

    YEE HAW!!!!

    November 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Texas Trail Kitty

    John McCain is, quite possibly, the only Republican NOT responsible for the party imploding. Between George Bush's incompetence and the Republican's being unable to update their thinking, that party is lucky to have anyone in power. Unlike the Republican party and its standard bearers the Democratic party and President Obama recognized that there is no such thing as a 'base'. President Obama made the entire electorate his 'base' THAT's why he won. So all of you Republicans had better get a clue. Also clearly there is not enough of your 'base' to keep you in office so you people need another game plan and next time, try playing nice. Seriously, you lost some voters by your outright lies about President Obama and the distortion of almost every aspect of his life.

    November 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. John

    go ahead gop hack away thats why we the people don't like you guys anymore. your all bad apples.

    November 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. KW, Vail AZ

    I agree with Shelby that John isn't why the GOP lost in recent election, however, I don't think all the blame can be dumped at Bush's feet either. For six years Shelby and other Republicans, while controlling the Congress, went along with everything G.W. Bush wanted. So, if you republicans are looking for someone to blame, look at the man in the mirror.

    November 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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