April 13th, 2010
08:31 PM ET
12 years ago

Gregg defends GOP opposition, says Dems moving too far left

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/13/art.2gregg0413.cnn.jpg caption="Americans are 'center-right people,' Sen. Judd Gregg said Tuesday."]
Washington (CNN) – A respected Republican senator said Tuesday that the Obama administration and the Democratically-controlled Congress are taking the country too far in a liberal direction. And retiring New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg said his party is justified in opposing Democratic measures because the American public is fundamentally “center-right” in its political orientation.

Earlier in the day, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Republicans will do themselves a disservice in this midterm election year by simply embracing “the party of no” label placed on the GOP by Democrats. If Republicans succeed in retaking both chambers of Congress, their agenda once in charge “can't just be yelling no,” Gingrich said.

Related: 'You can't govern by saying no,' Gingrich says

In an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, Gregg was asked whether the GOP says “no” too much lately.

“Well, we do and we need to when we’re confronting things that are very bad for our country – either fiscally or from a standpoint of policy,” Gregg, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said on CNN’s John King, USA.

“You’ve got a government now that’s moving to the left,” Gregg said.

The Republican employed a football metaphor to explain his view of where national Democrats stand right now on the political spectrum.

“All American politics is historically played between the 40-yard lines,” he told King. But, with control of both the White House and Congress, Democrats have gone down “to the 20-yard line or the 15-yard line on the left.”

Gregg added, Americans are “center-right people. They want government but they don’t want it to be excessive. They want it to be affordable.”

The Republican, who has been sounding an alarm for the last year about the possible adverse impacts of the increasing amount of national debt, said Americans are concerned that the country will be less prosperous in the future because of the debt which Gregg said is being used to finance the expansion of the federal government.

Notwithstanding his criticism of Democrats, Gregg, who also sits on the Senate Banking Committee, said both parties need to work together to craft a package of financial regulatory changes.

“We need to do this in a bipartisan way,” Gregg said of Wall Street reform. “This is extremely complex stuff. There really aren’t a whole lot of partisan issues in this mix. But there’s a lot of big issues.”

Gregg said dealing with financial institutions who have become “too big to fail,” is key to changing how Washington regulates Wall Street’s giants. He faulted the Democratic bill soon to come before the full Senate for how it deals with large institutions that are all but collapsed.

Related: McConnell tells GOP to vote no on Wall Street bail

“The markets can’t have a concept that somebody can exist even though they’re financially insolvent,” he told King. “That undermines, basically, the efficient use of capital. You do not want that to happen. We have to end ‘too big to fail.’”

Amidst his criticism of Democrats for being too liberal, King reminded Gregg that the Republican lawmaker had almost joined the Obama administration as the commerce secretary.

Gregg snuck in a quick response: “Yes I did; that was my mistake.”

Gregg, who is not running for re-election in November, was announced as the White House pick to lead the Commerce Department but then withdrew because he realized he had ideological differences with President Obama on some issues.

Filed under: JKUSA • John King USA • Judd Gregg • Popular Posts
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. joe kiloz

    LEFT = More taxes, less freedom,more disarmament, and more letting the UN tell us what to do. See you in 2010 midterms.

    April 13, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. catmomtx

    Okay, so bringing our country back from the brink of a depression, making it possible for Americans to have access to affordable health care, working towards securing nuclear weapons, bringing our troops home from Iraq, these things are too far left? What are exactly are the Republicans plans for the country?

    April 13, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. j

    The Dems are right about center or moderate as far as I can tell with the legislation they've been passing. I'd know if they were supporting the left because I'm a liberal progressive and they're not leaning to the left enough for my taste. They're making too many concessions to the ultra conservatives. I do not think the Dems should move any further to the right than they already have.

    April 13, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. James Mason

    Respected senator? He's just trying to get out before the chickens come home to roost on earmarks that wound up in the businesses of his own family. I'ld say the mistake was in OFFERING him the post of commerce secretary. "Center right?" – Apparently, Senator Gregg hasn't been paying attention – even to his home state, where he's the only Republican left in the congressional delegation. Governor? A democrat. State Senate? Democratic Majority. State House of Representatives? Democratic Majority. I could go on, but I'll just be thrilled when this bozo, and the horse he rode in on, are no longer representing my state!

    April 13, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  5. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Gregg is a worthless tool.

    April 13, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. Al Sita

    This is a wrong notion. So far it is close to 40 yard line. Republicans are following their leader Rush Limbaugh – this president has to fail because it hurts his ego to see a democrat in the White House. Please stop following him, Beck, Hannity and Palin.

    April 13, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. Jimmy Jojo

    Is this fool jawing again? He had the opportunity to be part of the team and work from within, but he's much more interested in calling attention to himself and opposing everything from outside, just like the rest of his GOP bore-thren.


    April 13, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  8. jay in denver

    Democrats may be at the 15 yard line, but the GOP has left the stadium entirely and fallen off a cliff at the other end of the parking lot.

    April 13, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. Mr. Man

    Senator Gregg- If democrats are on the 20 yard line on the left, the GOP "No" folks are closer than the 5 yard line on te right. The GOP has gone way right. Where are the GOP moderates that were around when I was a kid in the 60s and 70s? Even Nixon was a moderate compared to th eGOP in congress these days.

    April 13, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  10. Pragmatic

    (expletive deleted) hypocrites! "Bipartisan" just means that the GOP expects 100% their way – even though they lost the election.

    Moderates? They all have a target on their backs as the republicans talk about "repeal and reload" ...

    We've all heard the tea party people, the radical right, all of whom want to drag the nation back to the 19th century! The elections will tell everyone just exactly where they want their government to be ...

    April 13, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  11. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    To say that Gregg is respected is a stretch.

    April 13, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  12. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    More Greg lies to just keep selling the republican snake oil.

    April 13, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    And we care what he says because...???

    April 13, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. redgraham

    I am sick and tired of Republicans saing "what all Americans want". Gregg does not speak for me, Boehner does not speak for me, Palin does not speak for me, Virginia Foxx does not speak for me. I am an American, if they would only ask me I would tell them what I want.

    April 13, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  15. Kenney of Golden, CO

    Republicans should remember it was them that pulled the country so far the to right that Obama got elected. The party of 'NO' will block every nomination for the Surpreme Court that Obama makes then accuse him of moving too slowly to fill the vacancy. They having talked or proposed any health care reform the whole time they were in power yet criticize Obama for at least getting something done. Republicans criticize Obama for the first stimulus package that W. Bush signed as too costly yet rubber stamped excessive spending on war making.

    April 13, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. frank in valparaiso indiana

    What a liar. The GOP has moved America to almost the corporate state of Mussolini's fascism. Everything for the corporation. Thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision, we may get there big time. We are not center right, we are progressive. Go read the original documents, read the American history on the founding fathers. This is staunchly in the middle of the road and almost to a non Christian state. There was too much involvement by religion, they didn't want that. By any church or sect. The government was to be of by and FOR the people.

    April 13, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  17. Expat in Canada

    And republicans haven't moved to the right? Obama's nuclear stance is patterned on Reagan, and the health care package is more Romney than anything else, with exchanges that were proposed by Nixon. This is while the the right moves in the direction of the tea party and embraces the religious right instead of upholding separation of church and state. If anyone is being radical and outside the mainstream, it's the GOP.

    April 13, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. ATC333

    Unfortunately, the GOP A/k/a "The Party of NO!" is sitting on the two yard line right now. It has demonstrated that the most important issue is regaining power, not what is best for the country, or even attempting to make serious constructive suggestions for dealing with the serious issues confronting the US in the world today. The GOP is very good putting forth its buzz words, their local candidates are doing, but at some point something more than "NO!" will be required of them to regain power.

    April 13, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  19. Rashed

    Repubs moved too far right over the years. So moving to even center will feel like moving too far left.

    April 13, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. ib

    How right he is; nice to know someone see where this country is headed unless changes are made and not the kind Obama is doing.

    April 13, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  21. Voted4HealthCare

    Sen. Gregg sadly lies again with disingenuous rhetoric. Americans are not center-right (or center-left). Americans are overall centrist, period.

    The Democratic Party's big-tent has captured the center by successfully pursuing centrist policies (i.e. health care from almost the same GOP sponsored bill in '93, nuclear disarmament similar to President Reagan, etc.).

    America now needs finance reform, which the GOP is looking for any excuse to ditto in opposition to it. Of course, the GOP would prefer Americans ignore the documented meetings Republicans are recently having with Wall Street bankers. Hmmm....

    April 13, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  22. Tom C -- Rhode Island

    You did see a 30 yard run to the left, Senator, but it's coming from the right's 20 yard line that the previous President and Congress left the pigskin on. Thanks CNN for reminding us that the Senator is respected. I agree, but saying he's respected signals the reporter agrees with his subsequent point. Or should I say his editor? How about writing the lead, "A respected Republican Senator delivered boilerplate party spin to further the right's fearmongering message that social policy of any kind is a march to socialism and communism." Did the respected Senator speak out in 2008 about against the clearly leftist-minded policy of giving billions in taxpayer-funded welfare to... failed bankers? It's a nonsequitur, but if a respected Senator can make one, so can I.

    April 13, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  23. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    The man's making a whole lot of sense–of course he's retiring.

    April 13, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  24. Not News

    This is not news, this is I Told You So.

    America was duped into to thinking that this president was going to bring people together. Instead we find America being torn apart by his agenda that runs against the will of the people.

    April 13, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  25. Voice of Reason

    So let me get this straight:

    These 'Center-right' Americans you are talking about: Are they the same ones that voted in a 'Far-left' President and majority in both houses of Congress?

    And now it's YOUR job to say NO to everything 'cause your looking out for our best interests?

    Thanks for clearing THAT up.

    April 13, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
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