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. Dyan

    That's actually funny. What did he and other Republicans expect after their stunt in the House on the stimulas bill? Did they really think that closing ranks to give the bill absolutely no Republican votes that it would encourage Obama to continue to try to reach out to them?

    Sometime you should be careful about the message you send. They other person may decide they don't need you.

    March 29, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Cynthia - Arkansas

    President Obama has bent over backwards for these fools. Everytime he offers to met with them. have them join him to talk, they are rude and are like a brick wall. I wouldn't even give them the time of day if I were Obama. They could kiss my backside! All they do is trash talk him and act like some kind of victims. They don't have the guts to stick their necks out and try to help. That way they can oppose everything the President does.

    March 29, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. usualone

    This has got to be a sad joke. The Republicans have only criticized Mr. Obama and his policies and have not presented any suggestions. As far as our children facing the burden, Mr. Bush already established that pattern. Three Republican Senators voted for the rescue package and now they are being threatened for their future possible campaigns. They saw besides the party and thought that somethings in Mr. Obama's package would help the people of their respective states. To the public, it sure looks like Mr. Obama stretched out his hand to the Republicans; and without even trying to come up with a compromise, the Republicans turned off any overtures.

    March 29, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Chipster

    Senator, President Obama has invited Republicans to join his administration. He has met with Republicans in the 1st few months of his administration more often than the previous administration did with Democrats in the its first entire year! Republicans have done little but whine and pout since Jan 20, 2009. Your days of "my way or the highway" are over. Try to reconcile.

    As for the surge, what worked? Additional troops were sent and the violence was reduced. No surprise there but did it bring Iraq any closer to managing the country without U.S. support? Did it improve the water and electric supplies to the people of Iraq? Do Iraqi refugees feel that it's safe to return home? No! I guess it depends on what your goals were.

    March 29, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. byrdland49

    Are the Republicans serious? After 8 years of the most partisan, vicious administration in our nation's history, where the minority Democrats were given no opportunity whatsoever to play a role in the administration, these same smug neo-cons now complain that Obama has been too partisan? The same Obama who named Republican Judd Gregg to be his Sec'y of Commerce, only to have the offer thrown back in his face? Or who added Republican Ray LaHood to be his Sec'y of Transportation?

    How many Democrats received cabinet posts under Bush 43, Mr. McConnell? Now please quit your whining and try and do something meaningful fo r he country.

    March 29, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Erin


    Thank you for speaking up about the 3.6 trillion dollar budget proposal. I hope you vigorously fight to balance the budget. Cutting the deficit in half in 4 years is not good enough. I won't borrow from my children's savings accounts, I expect our government to give our children the same courtesy. I acknowledge President Bush started robbing, however, President Obama is continuing to rob. I think there are plenty of policy changes we can make in healthcare, education and energy that don't cost money. Spending money does not always equal progress. I do like that President Obama is ending the war in Iraq.

    March 29, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Sarah

    No, McConnell, you are sooo wrong. RE: “The administration is essentially adopting the policies of the Bush administration and both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Unlike Bush/Cheney, we are not going into a country to wage a war based on lies and to "finish what George H. Bush started" and we will not torture!

    March 29, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Sally

    Excuse me???? What planet has this guy been on? Obama is the only one trying to be bipartisan. No republican has even pretended to try since before he was even sworn in!

    March 29, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. jacobs

    He turns down AN INVITE TO THE WHITE HOUSE and goes on network television to complain that Obama who invited him to the white house for talks isnt bi-partisan??? Mitch your hypocrisy and deceit is scary!!!

    March 29, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Mark

    What a jerk. He and his party are only interested in bipartisanship because they're in the minority. Were the roles reversed, he'd be pushing through all manner of "conservative" agenda items with no regard whatsoever for the views of Democrats.

    Get on with a progressive agenda, Mr. President. Let Republicans whine all they want.

    March 29, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Peter (CA)

    Maybe McConnell could use a dictionary for Christmas. Bipartisanship does not mean you get to hold the process hostage until you get what you want. The Democrats won the Presidency and both houses of Congress. They get to call the shots. The Republicans need to come up with some useful plans that can be implemented for the good of the country, not more of the same BS that got us into this mess.

    March 29, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. James Aire

    Boo hoo!

    These Republoicans are a bunch of hypocrites and liars.

    They already had their chance to screw up the world.

    Now they should just shut up... it would only be good taste!

    March 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. Mad Dog


    McConnell was a poster child of NON-partisanship. He had 8 yrs under Bush to reach across the aisle....did he? Heck no!

    Give Obama a break. He has been in office less than 3 months.

    He HAS tried to reach out...what the GOP wants is to still maintain control....which they don't have anymore.

    You would think that the close call McGOP had in Ky re-election....he might have learned something.

    Hey about coming into the discussions about issues with some IDEAS...not just NOOOO!!

    March 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Independent

    Another hyprocrite from Congress. Where was all of this concern for "Bipartisanship" from Republican members of Congress during the Bush Presidency?

    March 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Fred

    After all this country has been through since Obama has been elected, if this guy thinks a GOP candidate would have done a better job, well, he outta step down...............the entire Republican party FAILS to realize: if Obama fails, WE ALL FAIL.....I'm disappointed with the GOP for constantly acting like like the ultra-partisans we all know they are. IT"S ONLY BEEN 2 MONTHS!

    March 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. norma wilkinson

    The only word that Republicans know i |NO||. Pres. Obama has many times reached out to them in an offer of bipartisonship and all he gets is "NO".

    March 29, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Tom McCarey

    Mitch McConnell's presentation of himself as a proponent of true bi-partisanship would be laughable if the obstructionist minority that he represents didn't threaten the well being of our great country.

    March 29, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |

    GOP "disappointed' SO WHATS NEW?

    March 29, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Smiles

    The more Republican's talk the dumber they CONTINUE to look, ha,ha,ha I'm loving it, keep it up Republicans
    R- Righteous
    E- Egotistic
    P- Perfect....they think
    U- Unthankful
    B- Big headed
    L- Liars
    I- Ignorant
    C- Cons
    A- Arrogant
    N- Nuisance
    S- Selfish

    March 29, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Mike Syracuse, NY

    I'm amazed at all the Dems who are so historically challenged. True just a few short months ago Obama invited Republicans to share their ideas on the stimulus; then he rejcted all of them telling them "I won". An exact quote. Pelosi and Reid never wanted Republican involvement at all, as was obvious when they wrote the bill without ANY Republican involvement until after it was done. Then when they realized they needed a few Republican votes to get it through the Senate they grudgingly let a few Republicans participate. Bipartisanship doesn't mean inviting the other party to a Superbowl party. It's up to the party in power to make concessions to those not in power. The only one saying 'my way or the highway' is Obama and the criminal gang of Pelosi and Reid.

    March 29, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. JonDie

    I am disappointed that for eight years, from 2001 to 2009, Mitch McConnell rubber-stamped every decision that George W. Bush made, including lying about the reasons for going to war in Iraq, okaying the transfer of billions of dollars to Bush-friendly corporations, the record deficits Bush and McConnell created for our children and grandchildren, and the reversal of hundreds of years of legal traditions of our country (e.g.,Bush and McConnell's embrace of torture).

    I call on McConnell to retire in shame and to give back all his ill-gotten gains (if he wants to commit hari kari in shame that's between him and Jesus).

    And I do so in the spirit of non-partisanship that I learned from studying McConnell's 100% partisan record as a senator.

    March 29, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. JMinNorthJersey

    I think that Mr. Obama has been too bi-partisian, Mr. McConnell. He should cut you and your party out of everything as you have so far had nothing constructive to bring to the table.

    March 29, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. JGBNY

    All I see on here is a trashing of McConnell, America you need to wake up about what Obama is doing with your Taxes.

    All of our taxes are about to go through the roof where is the OUTRAGE THERE!!!!!!

    March 29, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  24. Dwelsh

    I am amazed at these politicians! Don't they yet realize yet who won the election and who is going to do the governing. They had their chance but supported Bush 100% disregarding the other party, then the electorate pushed them out. As long as THEY keep the barage of NO, NO, NO, what do they expect?

    March 29, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. elouise

    What??? i saw on my t.v how obama try and they practically slap him in his face,with a resounding no!!! get lost.

    March 29, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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