September 28th, 2010
01:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama scolds 'irresponsible' Dems

(CNN) - Joe Biden isn't the only member of the Obama White House frustrated with the Democratic base.

So is the big man himself.

In his lengthy Rolling Stone interview, President Obama took the opportunity to express deep frustration with the low enthusiasm among Democratic voters this election cycle amid charges he has fallen short on a string of campaign promises.

"It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election," the president told the magazine.

Obama went on to describe his administration as the "most successful in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward," and said it was flat out "irresponsible" for Democrats to stay home on Election Day.

"The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible," he said. "Everybody out there has to be thinking about what's at stake in this election."

Obama's direct admonishment was published a day after the vice president turned heads when he told Democrats at a New Hampshire fundraiser that the base of the party needs to "stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives."

Obama's comments came as the president heads to four states this week in an effort to drum up excitement among voters who flocked to the polls for him in 2008 and remind them of his administration's accomplishments. To that end, Obama said he keeps a list of fulfilled campaign promises. The president claimed 70 percent of them have been met.

Democratic discontent has grown more palpable over the last several months as Obama has been forced to fend off charges that, among other things, he was too eager to compromise on health care, hasn't pushed hard enough for gay rights, and is advancing the same foreign policies as the hawkish Bush administration.

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showed that only 30 percent of Democrats are enthusiastic about the looking midterm elections, as opposed to 53 percent of Republicans.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. stufit

    Two things bother me about this. First off, there is no such thing as a responsible Democrat any more, just as there is no Democratic Party anymore. There are only Democrat liberals left, responsible Democrats left a long time ago to become Republicans or Independents and many of us now identify with the TEA Party. Secondly, he is "slamming" and "blasting" the Democrat liberals in the same way as he is "slamming" and "blasting" Fox News and its viewers. Fox viewer are much more intelligent. Smells so much like fear and desperation doesn't it?

    September 28, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. badgerboy23

    The reason they are not voting is because while they don't like what they see, they can't quite bring themselves to vote for the this is the next best thing. Obama has done nothing that he promised–except health care, and only 18% of the folks are "Extremely Positive" about that. Those are obviously the left wing nuts that will always back a Dem/Lib agenda. This is gonna be a bloodbath, and Obama has never operated in any kind of environment where he was not the darling of the moment. He is simply a pawn, and it will be shown in the next two years. The man could not lead a starving dog into a butcher shop.

    September 28, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Bryan

    Uh ... cnn ... did any of your staff graduate with an English degree?

    I quote:
    "The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible," he said. "Everybody out there has to be thinking about what's at stake in this election."

    And yet the title of the piece is,
    "Obama scolds 'irresponsible' Dems"

    If you look carefully, staffers, the subject is "idea," not Dems. I think how he means "idea" is perception. In other words, "the perception that Dems aren't energized is 'irresponsible,'" meaning that CNN & other news affiliates are being "irresponsible" in how they portray political events and that almighty "spin factor". Perhaps, I don't know, he's referring to the litany of articles aimed at charting how the GOP can reclaim seats this November, and maybe frustrated that you, along with FOX news, make the weakest, most cursory inquiries when it comes to the policies of Bush's presidency and the Tea Party Express's background & ideological affiliation (I mean, come on! They're RUNNING for GOP primaries; independent, grass roots, Washington outsiders don't get to run in the primaries of any political party).

    Ya'll have a good day now.

    September 28, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. FanDaElis

    This guy just doesn't get it! The problem is that his policies are bad for the nation! Nobody could have gone as left as he has! And he is also in denial, the American people do not want "progressive" policies. They destroy the country and the economy.

    September 28, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Okay it is inexcusable because the freakazoids (GOP Teaboogers) stand to gain the majority. However, Mr. President,with all due respect, I for one am sick and tired of putting these whiny, no backbone, can't-get-it-together Democraps back in office when they are too scared to do what is right.

    I'll vote Democratic because I know that their is NO ALTERNATIVE if we're to have any kind of a chance of moving this country forward for the middle class under your leadership. Yet quite frankly Mr. President whom you need to truly take to task are those punks in Congress that are too afraid to back you up because all they can think about is getting re-elected and stuffing their pockets. You need to close the freaking doors and tell those chumps that in public they should stick to the program, and dissent in private. This has worked wonders for the Rethuglikkklans and they have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to earn anyone's vote or their paychecks.

    So put your size 13 foot down Mr President and telll those DINO's that we're tired of seeing YOU doing all the work, taking all the HITS, while they cower behind the scenes, and have the nerve to distance themselves from their President except when the money is rolling in or the polls go up.

    September 28, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. AJ

    And his approval ratings among his base just dropped another two points from those comments. Obama has fallen far short of his promise. His healthcare bill is another very expensive give away to private industry and does little to contain the cost of healthcare and certainly doesn't assure coverage for all. This administration's obvious lack of concern about the civil rights abuses against the GLBT community is appalling and his leadership skills have been MIA. While the economic stimulus may have been somewhat successful, the lack of oversight written into the bailout and stimulus bills is appalling. This President was great on the campaign trail but inept when it comes to actually governing.When will the electorate actually take a look at the resume of candidates? Obama's resume was thin and superficial, much like Obama himself.

    September 28, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Hugo

    Blame, blame and more blame. President Obama should take a good hard look in the mirror...70% of his promises met, yes I agree, the ones to destroy American capitalism and replace it with one of Government control and regulation over every aspect of our Society. Funny, an unemployed Republican wants a chance in the job market, an unemployed Democrat just wants more unemployment benefits..that says it all!

    September 28, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Brian

    Some Democrats do not realize that its not just simple showing up at the ballot box on voting day. They have to be engaged like the Republicans are on a constant basis. Then again since the whole incentive for Republicans is money over social advancement, I see why it is an easier choice for them to make.

    September 28, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. terry, va

    Going to the "Rolling Stone" and to college campus is the only way this clown will come close to being re-elected. Going to the kids and the people with their hand out is how he became president. Hopefully the kids will smarten up. We know the people with their hand out will vote for him. It's a sad day in America when there are as many people that don't pay taxes as there are those that do.

    September 28, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    Wonderful. Republicans have repeatedly tried to block any progress on "Obama's Agenda," totally crippling our legislative process, all in the name of winning the upcoming midterms, and the President kicks his base. Amazing.

    September 28, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Bill

    It would appear that obama believes his Democrats and others should accept his explanations that everything wrong is the fault of former president George Bush and people should get down on their knees before him (obama, the great one). Failure to capitalize obama is by design, not a typo.

    September 28, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. jim

    Obama scolding dems is shameful behavior on his part. It is his outrageous agenda that has put the democrat party in such a predicament.If this man had the slightest expertise at creating an environment where the nation's economy could start improving in a meaningful way the dems would not be in political hot water.The arrogance of this man is unbelievable.Dems walked the plank for this man's policies and this is their reward.Well,pay back will come in 2012 !!!

    September 28, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Toughlove

    This President is REALLY SCARY. Honestly. He is maverick. He is WAY left which will only make a small percentage of this country happy. He is out-spoken against Fox which makes him look almost dictatorial–if he had his way, he's probably shut them down "for the good of America". Seriously...anyone else getting just a little scared? He will have to move to the center (a long way for him) in order to be healthy for our nation. Let's make sure we vote for a fiscal conservative with at least a moderate social agenda who will listen to the people. He's making me nervous.

    September 28, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Toughlove

    I couldn't hold in one more thing. The man may be brilliant but that doesn't mean he wasn't prepared for the office and it doesn't mean he isn't wrong about a lot of things...or at least some very important things. We seriously overreached when we hired him...and now he's on the loose in a bad way.

    September 28, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. S. in California

    Go Mr. President! I can't stand the professional left anymore. ANYONE of the so-called Dems who votes for the republicans, I hope with ALL my heart you get exactly what you deserve. I hope your sons and daughters are shipped off to unnecessary/unfunded wars, you lose your jobs, your homes and your health care. Instead of helping our president they do nothing but complain and back stab him at every chance. I almost wish the country would get republican leadership again. Maybe this time they will appreciate how how hard you have been working. So go ahead and vote republican so I can buy a new bumper sticker that says "Banana Republic Forever".

    Democrats. Right For America.

    September 28, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Jamey

    Obama, you dont represent a good section of the democratic base, just Sarah Palin doesent represent the majority of the republican base... its like you were made for eachother...

    September 28, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Kevin

    I'm upset at Obama for not acting like the leader of the Democrats. He needs to look into the mirror when assigning blame. The Democratic party is in disarray because they lack the strong leadership that is the hallmark of the Republicans. As much as I despise the right, I do have admiration for their ability to focus and work as a team. How else could they still effectively control congress despite being heavily in the minority and having policies that are the opposite of what most of the public actually wants? Just look at any poll where they ask people their view on issues without bringing politics into it and you'll see most people like Democrat policies even if they don't realize it.

    September 28, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. Ferret out the BS

    I will be there voting as I always do, I don't know if my vote will get me what I want or what I believe is best for our country but I will be there to cast it because that is what I believe in. By voting I have a say, no matter how small, in how I believe this country should be run and the policies it should follow.

    September 28, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. enough already

    The arrogance is astounding.

    September 28, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. mom2boys

    I read the article and you're headline is misleading. If you read the entire article, he is not talking necessarily to dems themselves but about the media's perception. As a dem who has seen the crop of repubs and teabaggers up for election, I am definitely motivated to vote...for dems! Obama may not have accomplished everything he wanted to but he is doing fairly well. All of the far left liberal out there....stop whining and support your president because the alternative would be disasterous!

    September 28, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. SuzyQ

    He is absolutely right. I hope people listen.

    September 28, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. 36 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    Obama scolds 'irresponsible' Dems

    Is this fool a President or just a non-stop campaigner?? Wait until the American voters "scold" the Progressive DemocRATS next month for their IRRESPONSIBLE and RECKLESS policies that have made a bad situation ten times worse. Nobody voted for a Socialist makeover in 2008 but that is what they have jammed down our throats no matter what we have said. VOTE THEM ALL OUT.

    September 28, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Rob

    He's right! Vote Democratic in November for continued positive progress and results! Vote Republican for destruction of the middle class and a return to the dark ages.

    September 28, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Right Leaning Independent

    Obama is a legend in his own mind! He is upset at folks that have discovered what he stands for and choose not to vote for him! This dude is one arrogant SOB.....

    September 28, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Uncle Sam

    Sounds like its everyones fault but his own. Maybe he should just crawl back to his hole in Chicago.

    September 28, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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