March 29th, 2009
06:38 PM ET
13 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. Shannon

    Mr. McConnell, you as well as the other republicans need only to look in the mirror to find the people responsible for the lack of bipartisanship.

    March 29, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. S Callahan

    Sen. McConnell you may want to have a little dialogue with your peers on this want him to be 'in the middle' but your peers have made that very difficult...there is no good game without good players on all the teams.

    March 29, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Disgusted

    McConnell's idea of bipartisanship is the old Bush line: My way or the highway. Obama tried to work with the Repugs and was rebuffed. So he will go ahead and work without them if necessary.

    March 29, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Justin from New Haven, CT

    Republicans are the ones who aren't bi-partisan, they vote NO on anything and everything while offering no alternative and expect a near supermajority to bow to them.

    March 29, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Kimberly from Houston, TX

    Oh please, I'm 'disappointed' in the GOP's lack of bipartisanship.

    March 29, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Meka

    Why is it that John King, appears to only interview Republican's ?

    March 29, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. james

    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, not even your Appalachian constituency. 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 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Curtis Anderson

    I now see why Sen. McConnell was only narrowly elected. After refusing a personal invite to the White House to discuss the budget and economy, Sen. McConnell has the incredulous gall to call Obama bipartisan?

    Come on Kentucky, you can do better!

    March 29, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    President Obama doesn't have to show any sort of bipartisanship; #1 is that He is president of these great United States, #2 which he is a Democrat holding the most powerful office in the Country. #3 he is clearly showing more signs of a Socialistic leader going back to the Biblical times that are signs of Sodom & Gomorra all over again...;

    March 29, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. js007

    Where do I even start? After doubling the debt during good economic times to spend on STUPID things like the war in Iraq and no-bid contracts for Halliburton, McConnell and his pals are now complaining about the deficit THEY left Obama? He is at least using the deficit to fund crucial things like health care and education. Bi-partisanship? How about the fact that not ONE GOP member voted for the stimulus? Give me a break...

    March 29, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. KLS

    I'm very disappointed in the GOP and their refusal to work with Obama. They don't want a truly bipartisan working relationship. They act like spoiled children who refuse to play/work with others because they lost. During the last 8-years the GOP went on a wild spending spree, grew the size of our government larger than it has never been and deregulated like crazy. The GOP and Bush created our current economic crisis but they are trying to place the blame on Obama who has only been President for two months.

    March 29, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Brian

    He won the election. He doesn't need to be bipartisan. Even thought thats how he won convincing the independent voters he would bring everyone together for smart decisions. I am constantly surpriosed at how his approval ratings can be at 60 some perscent, when he was not even elected by that much, and I am pretty sure if you did not vote for him you would not approve of his spending fetish so far.

    When this dead cat bounce in the market goes south again, he will be too far in too blame Dodd and Frank (or as he says Bush). There is a credit card crash coming later this summer with all the unemployed that are carrying high balances. Plus, more foreclosures when the band aids wear off. Plus, a bunch more houses coming to the market when the next round of ARM adjust.

    March 29, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Tim Savin

    I've grown very tired of politicians using the tired old expression "we don't want to spend money and stick our children and grandchildren with the bill". If this sentiment were true they there would be greater efforts to address the issue with social security. My money, which I will have contributed over my entire adult working life, won't be there for me because we will run out long before I'm due to collect. However, this problem continues to be ignored. Truth is politicans dont' care because it doesn't affect them. The money will still be aounrd when it is time for them and their colleagues to collect. This is further evidence they just say what sounds good and the actions they take don't match the rhetoric. We won't see any change until the next generation of politicians come of age to be ellected

    March 29, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Chas

    McConnell wants Obama to govern from the center? Republicans will only be satisified if Obama starts embracing all of their simplistic and failed right-wing policies and ideas: tax cuts for the wealthy, creationism, deregulation....

    March 29, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. No Hillary = No Obama

    One of the criticisms about Obama during the primaries was his chameleon abilities. We see that now with his working the different venues – internet, late night, 60 minutes – doesn't seem to matter. So, the issue here is – is Obama going to grow into the role of the Presidency or is this going to be an "as if" Presidency – never really being the commander-in-chief, but rather the chameleon-in-chief.

    March 29, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Mark

    I would like to ask; What sort of bipartism is possible when a party declared through its defacto mouth piece that he wishes Mr. Obama to fial? I did not vote for Mr. Obama, but the more I hear and witness the GOPs attempts at "reforming" itself and attacking the new administration, claiming that after eight years of total and willful failure it now knows how to do things – the more I fear that we only really have one party operating with any accuity in this nation.

    March 29, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Gpenn

    He doesn't want to go on a 5-10 year spending spree? Where was he when Bush was throwing money around like a drug dealer? The past eight years saw unbelieveable spending and yet he said nothing. He is towing the party line in his "dissapointment."

    March 29, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Joyce --- Virginia

    Senator McConnell,
    You didn't mind your republican controlled party and President Bush spending billions and billions leaving our grandchildern to pay for. I didn't hear one word about spending when your party was in power. So just suck it up and shut up and let the party elected get things back in control.

    March 29, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. michelle

    If I'm not mistaken, Obama said "I won, so get over it." He's not bipartisan either. The truth is he is a Democrat and no matter whether Dem or Rep – all sides only want their side to win. None of them are bipartisan. Just because Bush wasn't bipartisan doesn't mean Obama shouldn't be. The fact is, he isn't bipartisan and that is the truth. He ran on change, and he hasn't produced any change yet except for an enormous amount of extra debt and non bipartisanship. No change whatsoever. And the debt was run up by congress who holds the purse strings. Don't go blaming it on Bush. And congress has been democratically controlled since 2006. Hmmmm.......

    March 29, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Moe NY

    Republicans are sooooooooo out of the main stream....sick political party. Nothing new to offer, no solutions....just same old...same old!

    March 29, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Sammy

    Wow! "GOP leader dissapointed with Obama", a big freaking surprise that is...

    March 29, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. MRT

    Pres Obama has certainly tried more than the previous Admin...
    I guess the GOP interpretation of Bipartisanship is " do it my way or we will continue to say NO to everything you suggest.". They seem to forget that the American people voted for a change to this way of thinking but as the saying goes "You can't teach an old dog new tricks>"

    March 29, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Danny, OH

    When was the last time George sat down with a democrat to talk about issues?

    March 29, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. jason twombley

    problem is...the republicans STILL want it THEIR way...middle my behind..GOP, YOU gotta bend or you will get left wayyyy behind, America speaks, just as we spoke in electing a leader, not a GOP behind the times, silly rhetoric party. get with the president or get lost !!! America now has a president willing to fix everything, instead of screw it up like the republicans did, time and time again.

    March 29, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Clay

    I'm quite certain that Obama will move more toward the middle, after some headway is made fixing the mess that McConnel and his cronies created. I've yet to hear one republican make even a single constructive comment. All they do is criticize. The country is tired of these corrupt jerks and, quite frankly, nothing they have to say interests me in the least. The last time the Democrats turned the country over to the republicans we were over a trillion dollar in the black and the economy was doing fairly well. McConnel, Phil Gramm and company made sure that wouldn't if when lost power. What a bunch of jerks.

    March 29, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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