March 29th, 2009
06:38 PM ET
14 years ago

McConnell: I'm 'disappointed' in Obama's lack of bipartisanship

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A leading congressional Republican did not pull any punches Sunday when asked whether President Obama had kept one of his most prominent campaign promises.

“I must say I'm disappointed,” Senate Minority Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “After two months, the president has not governed in the middle as I had hoped he would. But it's not too late. He's only been in office a couple of months. Still before him are the opportunities to deal with us on a truly bipartisan basis,” the Republican told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

McConnell also criticized the president’s $3.6 trillion budget and the ambitious agenda on education, energy, and health care which the budget seeks to implement.

“Republicans are very much in favor of dealing with [the country’s economic crisis],” McConnell said. “What we're not in favor of is going on this spending spree over the next five to 10 years and sending the bill to our grandchildren.”

Obama’s administration “is going to be the furthest to the left of any government . . . certainly in my lifetime,” McConnell also told King. “I’m not sure that’s what people voted for. I mean they were angry with President Bush. They were not happy with the economy.... Whether they intended to see America kind of turned into a Western European country as a result of an explosion of spending and debt and regulation is another matter.”

On Iraq and Afghanistan, McConnell did have some tongue-in-cheek praise for Obama.

“I want to commend the administration,” the leading Senate Republican said. “The surge in Iraq worked. I wish they could bring themselves to say that and I think the surge in Afghanistan is likely to work as well under the brilliant leadership of General Petraeus.”

“The administration is essentially adopting the policies of the Bush administration and both Iraq and Afghanistan. And I want to commend them for it,” McConnell said.

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Stephen Murray (Miami, FL)

    Sen. McConnell, Obama has made more of an effort for bipartisanship in 2 months than Bush and his goons made in 8 years. Come out with a budget with some numbers on it, and a real plan that doesn't include "free-market" or "de-regulation" ... and then you can talk.

    March 29, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Terry Turner

    I am so tired of Republicans who have spent the country into this hole with all the fancy bookkeeping such as keeping different books on the war and the regular. Come on the spending is the spending. Your god of Reagan cheated the economy into double the previous presidents combined. This last person did a great job in doubling that previous spending. As far as bipartisanship where was the Republican under Bush. Face the fact Republicans messed up and cannot even see that they lost. Worst yet they still do not have any plan other than there is terror out there and we need to be at war with someone or let us tell you howto live your life. Good riddiance to bad rubbish.

    March 29, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Bob (Illinois)

    I wonder what McConnell thought of bipartisanship when Bush was president.

    March 29, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. ronald

    The GOP continues to make noise that no one is listening to.
    They just don't seem to get that America wants to hear another tune,
    and that's why they have voted the way they have the last two election
    If McConnell and the rest of the GOP persist in the same old message,
    then 2010 and 2012 will be more of the same.

    March 29, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Sammy

    Takes two sides to be bipartisan. However, even with that goal the democrats have the majority in both branches set the agenda. While its their job to accommodate the republicans it would be wrong to just give in to their demands. The republicans job on their part is to negotiate to get as many of their goals as possible. Publicly blaming the democrats like this hurts that process. Then again... considering the comments by various prominent republicans lately maybe sabotage is their goal.

    March 29, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Sleepless in Colorado

    Great!!!! The GOP is disappointed with the President's lack of bipartisanship. This is great news for Americans! The GOP has run this country in the garbage for years. We didn't vote for your butts so sit back and enjoy the ride. I hope that your party never wins again. Why didn't you all have solutions when you were in power??? Idiots!

    March 29, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. worriedmom

    I think both sides are to blame and I would say Pelosi and Reid are more to blame than anyone else. But Democrats will always blame Bush and Republicans for anything bad that happens in their life and Republicans will always blame Democrats so what's new.

    March 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. jwdeluca

    Take reality, spin it on it's head, and accuse the "other" of exactly what you are doing.

    We have seen through this time worn republican ruse.

    "Reality testing" among republicans is extremely poor. Have you forgotten how the country voted last November???

    March 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Mitch

    Boo Hoo. A dope is McConnell is dissapointed. Isn't that special. In the months, years to come, we will likely see the real reasons imbeciles like McConnell are dissapointed, or angry, or whatever as the prosecutions begin to worm their way through the Republican party. It's important to be dissapointed, or angry, or whatever when you are functioning in CYA mode all the time.

    March 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Byron in Minneapolis

    "Whether they intended to see America kind of turned into a Western European country as a result of an explosion of spending and debt and regulation"
    You mean like the explosion of spending under Bush? Where was your fiscal conservancy then?
    What about Dick 'Deficits don't matter' Cheney? I don't recall McConnell trying to reign him or Bush in.
    The only thing McConnell and his cabal have consistently ignored and opposed are REGULATIONS, which the American people DID vote for when they elected a pro-regulations Government in the Democrats and President Obama.
    Remember, these are the same revisionist idiots who take pride in being ignorant, insulting the intelligence of the American people, and claiming the New Deal didn't really work. These people are FINISHED and the fear is so thick within the GOP you couldn't cut it without a chainsaw.

    March 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. D Va.

    Who cares......The party votes NO at the start. They have rejected every policy before it even hits the press. Talk to the hand!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Nick, Rochester, NY

    I am a Republican and I believe the call for bipartisanship is bunk. I accept the fact that I am now the opposition party and my task is two-fold. To show to the electorate that the Democrats are all wrong, and convince them that I have a better plan, that's all!

    Bipartisanship is an oxymoron! If we are all going to agree, why bother to have two parties? And remember GOP, we will be back in power soon and then the Dems will be asking for "bipartisanship" to re-inject their socialist agenda into what we will be trying to do.

    March 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Samo Samo

    Here we have a nice Republican calling Obama on bipartisanship when his party slammed the door on the Dems for 8 years! What a joke. Let's look foreward to 2010 when we get rid of this fellow and replace him with a Dem.

    March 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Dan

    Obama's success means GOPs doom. Obama's success will prove GOP's wrong. For that reason, they want Obama to fail. GOP isn't bipartisan from the very start.

    Goodbye Old Party!

    March 29, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. matt from Pa

    McConnell is an idiot. He has been a part of the problem all along, but like any "good" Republican he's going to try and deflect the blame from himself and the GOP. Sorry, nobody's buying it Mitchie, . Your party's "spending spree" is what bankrupted us in the first place. It's about time we started funding healthcare and education, and not billionaire pensions and bank accounts.

    March 29, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. nolapearl

    Who cares what McConnell thinks? Did he complain about the last administration's policies which have taken us to the brink of disaster – both economically and on defense issues? NO – he was one of the leaders so why should anyone believe he knows what's best? He toes the party line, thinks the American public is foolish enough to just take him at his word (some are) and looks like a fool to anyone who can read and keeps up with current events.

    March 29, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Mary

    Mitch McConnell and other republicans who insist that President Obama is turning our country into a Western European country would do well to study Ronald Reagan's actual implementation of economic policies.

    March 29, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. becky

    Is he kidding?? He needs to help clean up his backyard (the Republican Party).

    March 29, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Kate--Waterford, Michigan

    ...OF COURSE they are...Well, gee–IMAGINE THAT! Does that surprise anyone?? The GOP BLAMED (and is STILL blaming) BILL CLINTON all the way through both of Bush's terms...!! It's always someone else's problem or fault. The only disapointment to me is they STILL don't get it; and they already have the AUDICITY to say, 2 months in, that Obama will be a one-term President...PUHLEEEEZE!


    March 29, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Erin

    Democrats: Bipartisanship doesn't mean that every body votes for everything that Obama proposes. Bipartisanship means compromise. That means that you include Democrats and Republicans in the drafting of legislation (from the beginning). You also can't just say, "I'm going to listen to your ideas, but I'm not going to use any of them." Of course, Bush was not bipartisan. However, Obama campaigned heavily on being that way. Yet, so far, he has not included Republicans in any of his policies. It is not sufficient to try to talk them into voting with him. He needs to actually include them from the beginning of the process. Everyone who is calling the GOP the party of "NO" needs to wake up. In our two party system, the two sides generally have very different ideas. Obama cannot simply push through an extemely liberal agenda and expect the Republicans to fall in line behind him. He needs to actually include some of their ideas. This all just goes to show that Obama campaigned on bipartisanship, but never really meant it. He expected to get 60 votes in the Senate and the increased majority in the House. That way, he wouldn't have to even admit that another party exists. Since he failed to get the 60 votes in the Senate, he now likes to remind the Republicans that he won the election, and then smear them for not being "bipartisan." Bipartisanship goes both ways, not just having the opposite party vote for everything you say.

    March 29, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Brian L

    Bicycles require two wheels working together.

    Bipartisanship requires two parties to want to work together. If Obama is failing at bipartisanship so are the Republicans!

    March 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. deb

    and i am disapointed in mitch mcconnell.

    March 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Jim H

    Obama has attempted to be bipartisan, but since Sen. McConnell's definition of bipartisanship is to vote the straight Republican platform. there is no bipartisan consensus on what bipartisanship is. Sen McConnell needs to re-read the election returns. He lost. He cannot expect to get his way, just to nudge the legislation a bit. Too bad he was one of the few Republican Senators to retain his seat.

    March 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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