July 15th, 2010
05:33 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama publicly takes on congressman who opposed stimulus

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/15/art.obama715.gi.jpg caption="Obama publicly takes on congressman who opposed stimulus."]
Holland, Michigan (CNN) - Is it bad form to attend a ribbon cutting celebration when you voted against paying for the project? Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, sat smiling in the front row today as President Obama marked the groundbreaking of a new stimulus-funded project in Holland, Michigan.

"We are pleased to have in attendance with us today, and seated in the front row, Congressman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra, in attendance to show his support for a robust Recovery Act investment right here in Michigan," tweaked President Obama.

Watch: Rep. Hoekstra on Thursday's John King, USA.

Yet Hoekstra, who represents the district, voted against the very stimulus funding that provided the $151 million to build the LG Chem Power Plant where the presidential event was held.

Hoekstra accused the President of playing politics while portraying himself as above the fray, saying "this is politics … I came here out of respect for the office of the President, my constituents and the company that is coming to this community," Hoekstra said. "I could have been along the road protesting, that's not the right thing to do, this is the President of the United States... This is a very good day for the community. It's a good day for LG."

The President wasn't alone in calling the congressman out. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, told CNN, "I think it's totally hypocritical. I mean you can't vote no and then come and take the credit or celebrate on the other hand. This is good for Michigan. It's good for Ottawa County. It's good for Holland. It's good for the people who would be hired here. It's good for Michigan to get this federal investment."

Hoekstra defended himself by saying, "The fact is that he forgot this is not his money to hand out, the people in this community paid these taxes to Washington – their kids will carry the deficit … There is only one person in this setting who disagreed with the president's economic policies and had the opportunity to vote on it – that was me."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Patrick

    yes – we have Mary Bono Mack here in So Calif. – who couldnt vote fast enough for anything the Bush administration wanted. She opposed the Stimulus money – and couldnt take credit fast enough for our approved new tower at the Palm Springs airport. Hypocrites, all! It's all about the sound bite, and making yourself look good.

    July 15, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Not real reform

    Of course he takes on people publicly. He's great if he doesn't have to debate facts. He can tell a little lie or blame someone else or even accuse a group without grounds.

    Obama is a coward. Until he takes responsibility for terrible policies, he will continue to seen as a dope (except by his blind minions that refuse to look at facts).

    I do think (the democratic) congress should be called out for their terrible 'healthcare' bill, the 'financial' reform bill, the stimuli packages, and pending environmental legislation–idiots.

    July 15, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. JimII

    Mr. President, more of this please.

    July 15, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Chuck

    Kudos to the President for outing those hypocritical Republican fools like Hoekstra. They vote against a bill that benefits their constituents and then appear at the ceremony hoping to get credit for that benefit.

    Hoekstra should step down from running for any more offices, especially, the one for Governor of Michigan.

    Hoekstra, you are an imbecile and and a huge hypocrite in my book.

    July 15, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Yes Hoekstra, Jingle and the Republican 2-faced hypocrites will smile, shake hands, cash the checks $$$...then personally CLAIM CREDIT for the jobs/results/projects.

    Then turn around and LIE that they oppose "big government" and stood-up against President Obama.

    What a pathetic lot of hypocrites the GOP is.

    July 15, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. George of the jungle

    You go Mr President. Too many of these wing nuts taking bows on projects they opposed. They want the cudos without the heat. Just like the gutless wonders that they are. Say No in November to these slime balls

    July 15, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. anthony

    If this is a good day for the community, then why did he vote against the law? He does not want a good day for the community?

    July 15, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  8. Obama Supporter

    Actually, given that Mr. Obama is a very bright and intelligent President unlike the other one to remain nameless, I think he could have pointed it out a bit more subltly, but that's how stands out more thant repubs, he's open–transparent. something Americans like to see in a President. Take notes repubs

    July 15, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. Joey

    I sure have talked to a lot of people that voted for Obama, and they wish they had their votes back. Saved amd created how many jobs? Unemployment at 9.5%!

    July 15, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  10. Joey

    I sure have talked to a lot of people that voted for Obama, and they wish they had their votes back. Saved and created how many jobs? Unemployment at 9.5%!

    July 15, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. chris

    a typical Hippo critter.

    POTUS needs to put all of them in the light just like this so the American people realize that the Stimulus did work. It is a simple matter of numbers and numbers do not lie.

    This is what I want to see and hear all Summer long and into Fall right up to the elections. The GOBP talk about "where are the jobs" and the effort to create jobs is right in there face. There is even a jobs bill still stuck in the Senate to create more jobs, but the GOBP will not let it come to the floor for a vote. Sunlight is the best

    July 15, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. Dale

    I used to live in Michigan, and in general they were lazy, litigious pro-union bums. (Not everyone, but many more than typical.) Seriously, the UAW must stand for United Against Work. No business leader in their right mind would move work there.

    Has anyone but me noticed how much higher unemployment is in labor union states than in right-to-work states? Unions are the worst thing ever for job security. They price themselves out of the market, resist every effort at efficiency improvement and second guess and distract Management. Unions are institutionalized infighting.

    July 15, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. The repubs may have gotten their groove back, but CNN certainly has lost theirs

    "This is a very good day for the community. It's a good day for LG." Then, 2 paragraphs later, Hoekstra says out of the other side of his mouth "There is only one person in this setting who disagreed with the president's economic policies and had the opportunity to vote on it – that was me."

    Does this guy really believe even what he himself says?

    I am a resident of Michigan and I'm ashamed to have this idiot representing my state.

    July 15, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. Dont forget to thank a Globalist if you dont have a job.

    Pete is still a part of the scumbag party that doesnt have a clue as to who the "Real Americans"are.He think the tea party lowlifes are the real American,just wait,they will see the real Americans soon.

    July 15, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. Brian

    To make it worse, not only do they vote against the stimulus, at every oppurtunity, the stump and speak against it, but when it comes time to take credit for the projects created by the stimulus, they're right in the front row.

    Even the Governator called out his own party for the hypocrisy of the GOP.

    July 15, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. Tom in PA

    The republicans got us into this mess, fought the stimulus, and then take credit for the money flowing into their communities. If there are any hypocrites in this mess, it's the dogs who take credit from BOTH sides of the issue – the GOP. They deserve to remain in the minority only slightly less than the racist TEA "party".

    July 15, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. Yet Hoekstra, voted against the $151 million but accepted the money anyway

    because he is with out shame

    well he is in the correct party, the GOPers don't mind if what they say does not match their actions

    got them "family" values after all

    July 15, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  18. jenn, philadelphia

    This speech says more about President Obama than Pete Hoekstra. It shows him to be petty and vindictive. And on the subject of hypocrisy, isn't he the man who promised to change the "tone" of Washington?

    July 15, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. Clarissa

    It's great that they opened up a new company for employment. What about people who worked 10 years, get layed off and can't find a job and have only been on unemployment for 8 weeks, sent out over 100 resumes with no luck. Raising 2 kids on my own. then find our that unemployment has "no more" funds. What should I do Mr. President? I will not live on welfare! no way! I've worked to hard to keep my head above water to fall now! Please extend the benefits for people who just got them and not people who have been on them for 99 weeks. That is just insane!

    July 15, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  20. EB

    Peter Hoekstra is a hypocrite just like any other GOP. He does not deserve to be elected for any office.

    July 15, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. mjw

    It's not just the GOP in Congress or Politcal leaders that lies, but they have caused their followers to believe the lies and exaggerate it as well. It is very sad that a section of the American society allow themselves to be misled and believe the lies they hear and refuse to listen or learn facts for themselves. Sometimes I read some of the hate filled comments or listen to calls on CSPAN and really feel sorry for these people. Believe me you are not hurting Barack Obama....you are hurting yourselves and the American people. If President Obama never serve another day, he has already made history and he will go on to live a very happy and wonderful life. Think of yourselves and your country, maybe that's what Hoekstra is trying to do (might be too late). I still think some of the Republicans are waking up e.g. Rep. Kingston, SC.

    July 15, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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