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. Right Leaning Independent

    I think they call this the Messiah complex......

    September 28, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Jake

    What accomplishments? You mean setbacks!

    September 28, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. MHA

    I dont get most of the comments. If you are part of the new rep. tea party, then I understand (you have been watching fox news and beck for too long) but if you are a dem., how could we simply sit idle and criticize .. if you don’t like something do something about it. But sitting on the sidelines and letting the rep. tea party take over and start wars after another (believe me Iran is next, middle and lower income family are also in line, the environment, social security, medicare / medicade, Gay's equal rights, the fed deficit etc...) is inexcusable at best - So, what is exactly your plan Dems.. sit on the sidelines until the new extremist rep. tea party (this is not the neocon, but neocon on steroids) take over, then wake up and act (... unfortunately, I don’t think the US can handle another blow like the 8 years of W)… To ALL DEM WAKE UP and VOTE this NOVEM

    September 28, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    The president hasn't fallen short of his promises. He's done a great deal despite the stupidity of the GOP destroying America one vote at a time.

    September 28, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. Colorado Liberal

    Dear Mr. President:

    You are doing superb work; perhaps we really need to be in campaign mode. Your accomplishments have been remarkable, but all too many of the American people are not getting the message. Perhaps they are watching FOX "News" which is not news at all.

    Suggestion CNN: A series–a long-running series–on FOX News and its supremely low journalistic standards would be most welcome. And Americans should know much, much more about Rupert Murdoch. This man has done great evil to this country. Perhaps CNN can even issue a handbook (online and/or hardcopy) of false claims made by FOX News over the years.

    September 28, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Steve in North Carolina

    He lashes out at everybody except himself. Some uniter!

    September 28, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. American

    As Abraham Lincoln said: "You can fool all of the people some of the time; some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." The people now see Obama for what he truly is.

    September 28, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Tony 140

    Looks like we are in constant campaign mode. When will he start governing?

    September 28, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Freedom

    As Abraham Lincoln said: "You can fool all of the people some of the time; some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." The people now see Obama for what he truly is.

    September 28, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. stickman

    I think he's done better than anyone else could have with all the republicans, rush, and faux news holding on to both his ankles the whole way..... hes one man people.... we need the entire base to stand up and vote the right out this fall. Otherwise, its back to failed Bush policies and more than likely, another recession.....

    September 28, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. SpecialPlaces

    If Obama has completed 70% of his campaign promises, then I must be on the Moon. 70%? Really? I do not believe that for one moment!
    I cannot help but recall the very first lie that Obama committed. When he was campaigning, I remember him specifically saying, "No former administrators and no former lobbyists" in the White House. What was the VERY first thing he did when became president? He put in former administrators (of the ol' Clinton era) and former Lobbyists. What else? He nominated Bill Richardson to be Secretary of Commerce!!! The man who is currently (and was at that time) under a federal investigation for corruption! How in the world do we trust this man? I know I did when he was running for president. Because of him, I will probably never vote Democratic again. He shattered all the trust I could have had for someone like him.
    I am one of those people he is trying to "revitalize". I never voted or became interested in politics until his man energized me into it. Many more people are like me in that respect. Now? Many more people are probably like me in that they regret their vote. Good luck, Mr. Obama, because I sincerely doubt you will be able to get these people to vote for you again.

    September 28, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    In summary:

    Blame Bush................Check.
    Blame Republicans.....Check
    Blame Fox News........Check
    Blame "the rich"..........Check
    Blame Blue Dogs....... Check

    Well done, Obama... you haven't forgotton anyone, have you?

    September 28, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. U.S. Common Sense

    What's wrong, Tin Man? Just because you're not getting what you want, it's all of a sudden someone elses fault? "Whaaaa ... the Dem base doesn't like me." "Whaaa ... FOX News doesn't like me." "Whaaa ... Congress doesn't move fast enough." Seriously, how can anyone respect a guy that does nothing but complain? No wonder his poll numbers keep falling.

    September 28, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    JFK said "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country. In our bad economic time when Americans needed our statesmen/women the Republicans voted NO, that's called "Dereliction of Duty". Now Republicans want a YES vote from Americans because it's what they expect the country to do for them and not what they have proven to do for our country. Furthermore, Republicans have replaced the Bible which they pledged upon with their so-called "pledge to America", why because of their "DERELICTION OF DUTY". THINK ABOUT IT.

    September 28, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. Ryan for Repubs in Nov!

    Who cares what this man says anymore. He needs to stop talking and get back to work. First his attacks FOX and now he attacks Dems who don't support his agenda. I can't see how he is going to get re-elected. If 70% of the comments on CNN are negative about the POTUS, then that is saying something...Go look at the article where he calls FOX News destructive. He is losing support all around.

    This is getting pathetic. Straight up, pathetic.

    September 28, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Larquin

    Okay, so now the President is unhappy with voters who put him in office that he hasn't done anything for and now they don't want to vote for their party again, he's unhappy with President Bush, and he's unhappy with Fox News – maybe he is beginning to understand how the rest of us feel. We're unhappy with jobs, taxes and the games played in Washington – glad to see you might be starting to "finally get it"!

    September 28, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. inofritzn

    Scold yourself Mr. President. Us voters have lost hope in you due directly to your lack of focus on priorities, half-baked legislation, image obsessed leadership style, and not being able to offer any clear strategy on our pool of problems. Take a look in the mirror and in your own house for the people to lash out at. It may be time to admit that the job handed to you was too big.

    September 28, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. seebofubar

    Oh poor Barry, he's going to take his ball and go home. Bo Hoo.

    September 28, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    Face it, Mr. President......your own party is unhappy with you!

    September 28, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. T, California

    Hi Mr. President:

    You have NOT been able to do the job that you told us that you will and you have mislead us about your abilities and intentions during the election. We are the ones who have the right to complain but now you complain us !!. Do you think that American do not have brain? do not have feeling? we are just puppets for you to play around with?

    September 28, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. KOhio

    Perhaps Obama should blame Democrat lawmakers who have no spine, no vision and no conviction of their ideals. All they are worried about is winning the next election.

    September 28, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Jessica

    Speaking only for myself – but since I am part of the "base" – I plan to get out there and vote in november, but President Obama needs a reality check if he thinks he's delivered on 70% of his promises. He's fallen horribly short of nearly all of them...and frankly, the compromise on health care (although expected) is one of the biggest thorns in most peoples side...because in the end the people compromised for, didnt even support the final bill. That compromise was pointless and I cant help but wonder what level of stupidity it takes to not grasp that.
    I wont deny that he's been working on a lot of things, but considering he's not out there touting all the great things he's suggests to me even he realizes he's not done anything great yet. "having worked on" those promises doesnt count as delivering.

    September 28, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. Danieldrums

    1. Why should we care what is at stake this election? Lets rethink this, it should be What is at stake in the countrys future.
    2. Obama is "advancing the same foreign policies as the hawkish Bush administration." No!? what did you expect from picking between mccain and obama? Not a very good choice. I believe this country needs MAJOR reform or we will be watching this entire existance of a experiment dissipate into history and watch all the other countries that would love to string us up knot the noose.

    September 28, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. AT

    The President is absolutely right in scolding the Dems. The Dems ought to ask themselves. "What were you expecting when you elected Mr. Obama in 2008 as our President?" Were you expecting that he would fix the country's problems in 21 months? Look at his accomplishments in 21 months; health care, financial reform, small business tax cuts and financial assistance, etc. Were you expecting that he would have to come talk to you everyday like a parent talks to his/her children? Let's be grown ups; the problems of this country are decades old (both the Dems and the Repubs are responsible for the mess) and need thoughtful and careful planning and execution to address them. Give the President time and most importantly give him your support he so badly needs. If the Dems or the Progressives on the right sit out the elections this year, they would be doing a disservice to their country, to the Party, to the President and most importantly to themselves and their families and children. The elections of this year are perhaps the most important. If the power shifts back to the Repubs, then rest assured we will revert back to the failed policies of the Bush Administration.

    September 28, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. S.positive

    It is about time these folks understand that nothing is made for you. You go out there and fight hard and not give up until you WIN. It is called PERSEVARANCE

    September 28, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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