September 1st, 2010
04:39 PM ET
11 years ago

Miller questions GOP 'courage and leadership'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" Alaska Senate Republican candidate Joe Miller said the Obama Administration and the GOP establishment are leading America in the wrong direction."]

Editor's Note: Watch CNN's "John King, USA" on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET for John King's full interview with Joe Miller.

(CNN) - A day after his opponent conceded the Republican primary for Senate in Alaska, Joe Miller took on both President Obama and the Republican political establishment Wednesday, warning that the nation is headed towards socialism and facing a dire fiscal crisis.

Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded to the Tea Party-backed candidate late Tuesday in what is considered one of the largest upsets of the 2010 midterm election cycle.

In a wide ranging interview with CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King, Miller criticized the growth of entitlement programs and corporate bailouts under the Obama administration, and described Obama as "bad for America."

"He's one of the major forces moving this country towards socialism. He is expanding the entitlement state. It is the wrong direction for America," Miller said in an interview that will air on CNN's "John King, USA."

Miller has made the threat of socialism a central theme of his campaign. In a new web video on his campaign website he warns that "our nation stands at a crossroads. It's careening toward socialism and insolvency."

However, he told King that he would not seek an immediate end to entitlement programs such as social security and Medicare.

"This is not a Joe Miller comes to D.C. and Social Security is gone, Medicare is gone. But what Joe Miller does do, and what those that I think are joining in this message do is get this government aback from the fiscal brink, back from bankruptcy so that we can ensure that the contracts that we've made with our seniors, that we can honor those," he said.

Yet he conceded that he "absolutely" would like to see an eventual end to a federal Social Security program.

"We're at a deficit. The trust fund is gone. It's full of IOUs. If this were a private pension plan the custodians of that pension plan would be in jail. But our government has raided that fund and it's completely gone," Miller said.

Miller, who has sought to establish himself as a Washington outsider throughout the campaign, called the fiscal crisis a "bipartisan problem," citing a lack of leadership in the Republican establishment.

"The question is whether or not there's the courage and leadership in [the Republican] party to seize the moment, and to recognize that the only way out of this is to get out of the age of the entitlement state, to return power back to the states, and recognize that central government is broken," Miller said. "The Republican Party can do it, but it does require courage because its not the status quo."

But there was one Republican for which Miller expressed strong admiration – former Alaska governor and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin, who endorsed the previously unknown candidate, and is largely credited with helping him pull off an upset win against the Republican party-backed Murkowski.

"[Palin] was critical to the success of this campaign," Miller said. "She is absolutely a force to be reckoned with nationally. I absolutely will support her in her endeavors."

Filed under: Alaska • JKUSA • Joe Miller • John King USA
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Hank in Missouri

    "For those that have never been to Alaska, it is predominantly comprised of people that do not care or want government control over their every action."

    You realize, of course, that Alaskans get more federal money per capita than any other state by a huge margin. The only reason they can go up there and live out their fantasies is that the rest of us have paid to put in place the support systems on which they depend and then maintain them year after year.

    Tell ya what – cut off the federal funding and then the big yearly oil checks (quite an example of socialistic wealth redistribution, that) and see how many of those rugged individualists stay there.

    September 1, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Valorie from Raleigh

    It is vital that our county have two strong politicl parties. The Dems have an intelligent, well-educated caring president in Barack Obama. The Republicans have Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachman, Glenn Beck and the Tea Party. Where are the Republicans in the manner or Ronald Reagan and John Warner, former R. senator from Virginia, people with honor, class and distinction? All have left or been run-off by the far-right nut cases now running the Republican party. Really sad....

    September 1, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. True Independent

    This constant party politics is quite sad! If gorvenment has no place, why don't we all sit back and eat bad eggs; let the wall street fat cats get richer while laying off workers; let the BP's of the world kill the enviroment. Or perhaps we should borrow more money we don't have to fight wars not needed.WHERE ON EARTH IS

    September 1, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Sick&TiredOfTheGOP

    The problem I'm having with these teabaggers who want to privatize social security, is that the social security program pays for it self. The government does not fund this program. The taxpayers fund this program and if the government would put the funds back into the program, there would be no problems. Wake up America, stop listening to these idiots!

    September 1, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. Rick F

    The GOP calls Obama a socialist because he proposes being able to rein in shady bank and corporate practices, Right wingers want to leave corporations and banks alone and say this is all just capitalism. Don't forget. IT was Bush Sr. that said he wants to usher in a New World Order. And his son W. just continuing the same agenda. They both appointed judges who want corporations to be able to spend unlimited money on campaign financing. Isn't anyone putting it all together ? "New World Order", "Unlimited Campaign Funding" ( LIke G.W. Bush and Big Oil), A recession started by Bush with suggestion that " Hey ! you should belong to a corporation and you may survive this recession" , Bailouts to corporate bigwigs with no provision that they be paid back. ( At least Obama Puts in a payback clause). I don't really see the difference between corporations and collective farms, except one is privately owned and one is government owned . . . Who is really the Socialists?

    September 1, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. truth

    Joe Miller is a lawyer, a lying lawyer. The people of Alaska are nuts for voting him in office, and someone needs to take aim at Sarah Nut Palin. You think those other Republick nuts are crazy. Fasten your seat belt, because Joe Miller is about to take the country for a ride.

    September 1, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  7. AJ

    Are there any people in Alaska that are not complete idiots?

    September 1, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  8. Paul in Long Beach CA

    All of these Republicans just want us to go back to times where there is no scientific growth, no movement, no progression, but regression.

    They want this country to be so simple, so ignorant, that total control over this economy will be as easy as picking up a phone, whispering a few words, or paying someone off a discretionary amount of money.

    The people that are not educated, that do not see the TRUTH, that CANNOT connect the dots, and do not hold the privilege of common sense, are the ones that are being manipulated, and played.

    In the end, Republicans want the public to have NO CONTROL OVER ANY CAPITAL.

    September 1, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. akaej47

    I can't help but laugh at this bozo. He is trying to talk tough and gain the respect of the likes of Rush, Palin and Beck. He is blaming the President about Social Security and Medicare...he is an idiot. Then again look where he comes from..enuff said

    September 1, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. Sissy

    ......If you don't think for one minute that the Republicans aren't being taken over by these radical Tea Baggers than you got another thing coming....with the Republicans in control and these Tea Nuts they are going to bring this country down in away that will drawf what they proclaim Obama has done.....they will strip all programs (except money for War) give tax breaks to the rich and big corporations, Oil companies and to hell with the Senior Citizens, the poor, the middle class, and set back Civil Rights by 50 years
    ......If these Republicans were serious and concern about their Grand Old Party they better stop worrying about what Obama is doing and start worrying about what these Tea Bagger Radicals are doing to their precious party......these are the ones that are going to bring you down and bring the votes to the Democrats in November and in 2012.........Most of the people in this country are to smart to let the likes of Miller, Angle, Paul and Palin to take over this country......

    September 1, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Arlene, Illinois

    Oh no not another Dink Bat from Alaska!

    September 1, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. Livin the good life

    I'll take socialism over "DICK"tatorship ANYTIME. And I'm NOt beating around the BUSH anymore either! Obama is doing the best he can mopping up the mess from the last administration! This Miller guy just has a taste of fame and people like him will say ANYTHING to keep themselves in the spotlight. ANYTHING! Truth ~or~ lies! Even if it means tapping into stupid peoples heads and getting them fired up with "much ado about NOthing." Just stick to the facts man and NOt go spreading lies. (Of course, that's the only way most of them know.)Those are the most scary ones but, some of my fellow Americans are SCARIER! Screw yer heads on straight people! You're an embarrassment to the UNITED STATES of AMERICA other countries eyes! Beau Colby

    September 1, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Tony in St. Louis

    CNN always reports that republicans object to Obama's ideas, ...but CNN never posts the gop counter or parallel ideas. Can we start getting some genuine GOP input.? I know there has to be some. Thanks!

    September 1, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. FactCheck

    Democrats fail to understand that the federal government was never meant to be involved in our daily lives.

    Except when it comes to pro-choice, gay marriage, or school prayer. Then, it's quite okay for the GOP to stick their noses in as much a possible, right?

    September 1, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. Robert

    It is sad to see that some people have no clue what socialism means. If the country is heading to socialsm, they won't be able to voice their opinion and will thrown in jail.
    So Republicans shut up and read what socialism is about.
    Have tou forgotten that this country is a mess thanks to you?

    September 1, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. Pragmatic

    Boehner promised there would be a GOP agenda sometime next month, a strategy that gives Democrats limited time before the election to pick apart what's offered (which is likely to be pretty vague, anyway).

    He did call for spending cuts, but not enough to tackle the deficit, especially if the Bush tax cuts are extended—which the the Congressional Budget Office says will give the economy an initial boost but then cause "daunting long-term fiscal challenges" and "reduce long-term economic growth."

    Alaska? Their congressional delegation is dominated by Republicans . For the past decade, Alaska has been among the top three state recipients of federal funding, per capita. Usually, Alaska is far ahead - sometimes three times as far ahead - of most other states in the union.

    We'll believe in republican change when we see it ...

    September 1, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. Jersey George

    By entitlement programs does he also include government subsidies, our tax dollars, paid to insurance companies, oil companies, corporate farms, and tobacco companies already making obscene profits on the backs of the middle class for their greedy CEO's. I don't think so, he's just targeting entitlement programs that benefit seniors and the needy. This guy really fits the tea party mantra: heartless, lily white, bigoted, corporate cheerleader (especially insurance and oil), war monger, financial and industry-wide deregulation, small-minded, climate change denier, christianity fanaticism, etc, etc. If the republicans / tea party take the house and senate in the mid-term elections our country will be in a world of hurt. The middle class and needy will get poorer and the wealthy will be get richer. Our country's standing and stature in the world will once again take a nose dive as it did with Bush.

    September 1, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. Gopherit

    The unfortunate reality is that both major political parties have sold their souls to the moneyed interests which, thanks equally unfortunately to the highest court in the land, can bribe them via their election campaigns without restriction. Again, we have The Best Government Which Money Can Buy. The only significant difference is in what methodology each uses to con voters when election time is near, with domestic policies varying just enough so that many voters feel that they have a choice, and with foreign policies virtually indistinguishable.

    September 1, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. Jersey George

    Joe Miller and the tea party are subservient to Palin. Unbelievable!

    September 1, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. Clwyd

    I can hear nothing intelligent coming out of this nut? I know that people from Alaska are different than those from the 48, but maybe they can see too much of Russia from their houses. Joe Miller, would ruin Alaska and undermine our country. Could repulsive republicans lose in republican Alaska? Wouldn't that be a surprise in November!

    September 1, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Len Smith

    Just another nut to add to the jar.

    September 1, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. prairieguy

    Joe Miller, social security is NOT an something I have contributed to for the past 40 plus year to help when I retire in the next 18 months. My job & I both contributed. Yes, I am entitled to it not because it is welfare but rather because I HAVE PAID ALREADY FOR IT!!!

    Miller just another wingNUT!

    September 1, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    So do I, do I.

    In NOvember voted NO for the Party of NO....... solutions, new ideas, leadership!

    September 1, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. Just another political hack

    It is now a fact: Alaska has taken over the number one state for blithering idiots. How you elected this man to represent you is a testament to your being rated 49th on the illiteracy scale. We the Sheeple. I am proud of you Texas, you have relinquished your spot as the dumbest.

    September 1, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. beth60

    Alaska – what on earth were you thinking??

    September 1, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
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