August 2nd, 2009
10:59 AM ET
12 years ago

McCain slams Blue Dog Democrats

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="In an interview that aired Sunday on State of the Union, Sen. McCain took a shot at the Blue Dog Democrats."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The “Blue Dogs,” a group of moderate to conservative House Democrats who have worked to limit the price tag of health care reform legislation, are taking a hit from a prominent Republican who is suggesting that the group will ultimately prove ineffectual.

Related: GOP, Blue Dogs get health reform slowdown they wanted

“The Blue Dogs, they always bark and they never bite,” Arizona Sen. John McCain said on an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They almost always – in fact, always, roll over and then play dead.”

McCain’s slam of the Blue Dogs came in the context of being asked whether President Obama has the political power to stymie Republicans in their efforts to shape Democrats’ ambitious plans to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

“There's no doubt that this is a very effective president of the United States,” McCain said of his former rival. “He's an excellent communicator. He has sizeable majorities in both houses of Congress.

“So I would never count anybody out in health care or anything else when you have these sizeable majorities. I think they will renew the push after the August recess. The question is, are they going to be really bipartisan efforts or just pick off a couple of Republicans?”

In the House, the Blue Dog coalition has worked within the Energy and Commerce Committee to bring down the near trillion-dollar price tag for health care reform over the next 10 years while also protecting the interests of rural hospitals in some of their districts. Efforts to appease the Blue Dogs resulted in delays in getting legislation out of that committee. A vote on a bill came late Friday, just before the House broke for a five-week recess.

Filed under: Democrats • Health care • House • John McCain • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (174 Responses)
  1. What were they thinking

    McCain seems to think Blue Dog Dems should be Republicans. If they wanted to be GOP, they would be. Personally I admire the Blue Dogs, they seem to be the only ones doing the job of a loyal opposition – opposing, yes, but loyal to trying to accomplish what they think best. It will all work out in the end.

    August 2, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. Henry

    What has happened to my CNN of the past. It has turned from a rather unbiased network to one that is slanting right. Look at today's Ticker. Everything reported is Gingrich and McCain. Today surely will be another John King day with his known Republican slant.

    Fox is right, MSNBC is left. CNN was always middle. Sad to see the change. Truly sad.

    August 2, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. truthsayer

    McCain = Irrelevant

    August 2, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    It is healthy for the country to have the Blue Dog Democrats act as a counter balance to the liberal wing of the party. The GOP lacked a diversity of governance during the disastrous years of the Bush administration. Checks and balances are essential to a healthy democracy.

    August 2, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Tim Tsantoulis

    Old McSame is still beating the same drum,with a smaller audience. Perhaps the GOP should suggest its time to put John out to pasture. After the trouncing he recieved in November one might expect that he may question his relevance and act accordingly

    August 2, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. newz4i

    Rolling over and playing dead? Hmm, Republicans during the Cheney administration, right?

    August 2, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. 60's survivor

    McCain comfortably sitting in the peanut gallery with no real responsibility. nice job if you can get it. Obama is trying to make good on campaign promises. where are the folks who voted him in. you better back him. might be your last chance for reform. GOP would like nothing better for a positive force to fail. it reaches deep into their hungry pockets!!

    August 2, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Tony in Largo

    Help, somebody dial 911, the GOP is dying!!! Or is it too late? Maybe we should call the coroner.

    August 2, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Steve Anderson

    This is so transparent it's almost funny. Why doesn't McCain just "double dog dare" the Blue Dogs to reject the policies the American people need and want? He's suggesting the Blue Dogs don't have the guts to stand up to Obama and the progressives in the hope they will fight Obama just to prove their manhood. Typical...

    August 2, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Darryl Schmitz

    Whether it's the leftist Democrats (neo-liberals), rightist Republicans (neo-conservatives) or populist/centrists (currently referred to as "moderates"), we end up with bloated, unconstitutional federal government. Our founders never envisioned it this way. They sacrificed their lives and livelihood to give us a states-first Constitution that we allow our elected representatives in Washington, DC to routinely ignore. We'll all pay the price for this sooner rather than later.

    August 2, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. Scottsdale Jack

    CNN says "stymie Republicans in their efforts to shape Democrats’ ambitious plans to overhaul the nation’s health care system"

    Who wrote this nonsense? The Republicans aren't attempting to "shape" the reform plan, they are attempting to torpedo it. They will stall, lie, and sabotage any legislation that threatens the profits of their corporate sponsors.

    The Republicans are only concerned with protecting the wealthy and corporations (one and the same). They could care less if the rest of us are kicked to the curb by the insurance companies and go bankrupt trying to pay for healthcare.

    August 2, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Nadeem

    The problem is the GOP has no interest in getting a bill passed. They just want to the Obama and the country fail. The only group that can represent the other side of the debate are the Blue Dogs. If they are not adequate it is because the GOP are non-existent.

    August 2, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. J Willaimson

    MCCain is so yesterday. Why doesn't he try and bring something positive to the process instead of the constant bitter babbling (loser's-posture) we've heard from him for many months? If if he can't bring himself to do that, may I suggest he hide out in one of his seven houses until the black mood disappears?

    August 2, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Lynne

    Must be Sunday...John King's biased forum for the Republicans continues.

    Why no blog on Howard Kurtz comments on Glenn beck and Lou Dobbs??

    August 2, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. Shayne from NH

    I remember quite well the days before John King was such a 'prominent' figure on CNN. This 'State of the Union,' quite frankly, sucks. The reverse psychology is interesting but inneffective. Consistently interviewing Republicans does not give CNN the 'balanced' effect it is hoping for; instead it is making them look as though they are leaning to the right.

    CNN is an excellent news organization but has lost credibility since its introduction of this new 'show' with King. It would be nice to have John Stewart on the show so he could make King look like the tool he is. Three months later there would be no more 'State of the Union,' just like there is no more 'Crossfire.'

    August 2, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Kent

    Blue Dogs have barked at and bitten John McCain. "Roll over John. Play dead."

    August 2, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Fitz

    I think it's pretty obvious what McCain is doing. He's basically calling the Blue Dogs wimps so they will say "hey, I'm no wimp" and buck Obama. I don't think you need to be genius to figure that one out. Blue Dogs were founded by a Dem who turned Republican within a year of creating them. Their constituents basically voted for McCain didn't they?

    August 2, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    John McSame (I like that, I'll use it for now) trying to shame Democrats into doing Republican bidding...
    At some point, SOMEONE MUST help rank and file Americans, against the interests of corporate greed, even if they don't think the plan is the best for "business." Where is decency, modesty, honor, ETHICS?
    Is profit the only motivator? Has business completely lost any awareness of the people who work for them, the quality and/or value of the products they sell (healt care, in this context), or is it now and will it always be ONLY about profits?
    If it's just the money, get ready for change, cause we're mad as Hell and we are NOT going to take it any more.

    August 2, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. JM

    Is anyone else tired of listening to this repudiated blowhard? The guy had his head handed to him, and he still yelps on and on. McCain just shut up and go away. You have no CREDIBILITY any longer. Shut up already.

    August 2, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  20. Who Moved My Cheese

    And this coming from the "numb-nutt," who gave us Sarah Palin as his pick to be vice president. I would rather consult the "Magic 8" ball before even giving John McCain any consideration on any serious issue facing our nation.

    By the way, does CNN appear to be becoming the National Inquirer of Cable News? I mean really, all they appear to be interested in is keeping up conflict and "he said, she said" BS. Is there any wonder why their TV ratings (especially Lou Dobbs) are on a free-fall.

    August 2, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. pat c

    CNN is becoming more like FOX everyday. king and OH MY GOD lou dobbs........are not helping america. lou dobbs needs to retire and take blood preasure medicine,he is going to explode one day on the air!!!

    August 2, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. louis Allen

    the entire house and Senate should take the time to see the old movie"
    "Do the right thing" . It might influence them to think less of re-election and more of the millions of uninsured who need something they can afford. Such a simple premise, do the right thing. Too simple for the Republicans, it seems.

    August 2, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    John "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" McCain showed numerous times, even before his tragically comic choice of Palin as his running mate, that he is misinformed and has poor judgement, and hardly puts "America first".

    August 2, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. Keith in Austin

    Blue Dog Dems are folding like a cheap suit because of Raum Emanual's Chicago-style politics. The problem will be expaining things to their constiuants. Vote every one of them out and replace them with those that represent the people that elected them

    August 2, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. this is a very effective president of the United States

    well, I wouldn't have thought McCain would say this

    It doesn't mean anything, I have zero confidence in anything this dummy says

    August 2, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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