November 8th, 2010
07:33 PM ET
12 years ago

Issa walks back comment calling Obama 'corrupt'

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), the next chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is walking back remarks he made on conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh's show last month in which he called President Obama "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times."

In an interview with CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room, Issa initially said, 'It was a campaign and I make no bones about it - if I had to do it over again I'd have parsed my words a little more carefully."

But he defended his use of the word corrupt, saying, "When you hand a president nearly a trillion dollars in walking around money, he uses it for political paybacks, that's corrupt."

Pressed on the point, Issa said, "Do I think the president is personally corrupt, no, I should never have implied that or created that in a quick statement on a radio call-in."

During the interview, Issa also called for bipartisan cooperation and insisted that his leadership of the Government Reform committee would not be a witch-hunt for members of previous administrations, but rather a way to improve the function of government.

"Our committee is supposed to be about finding ways to - creating reform, making government do its job, and do it within a smaller budget, not a larger budget," Issa said, adding that he plans to continue bipartisan initiatives that were part of the committee's agenda while Democrats were in power.

On how Republicans would govern, Issa said the GOP's past mistakes would play a role, and urged caution for the future.

"We've learned lessons by being voted out," Issa said of Republicans. "If we don't make a change in these two years we don't deserve to continue to have an opportunity to lead."

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Marge

    This from a man who has had so many investigations against him I don't remember them all. he is lucky he wasn't arrested and jailed. But of course the republicans rewarded after all with election. And of course he somehow weasled out of the charge of stealing a car and blamed it on his brother. He was never proved to be the person who took the car tho.
    AND he wasn't a kid when it happened he was grown.

    November 8, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  2. ingrid

    That is interesting he should say that given billions went unaccounted for in Iraq under Bush...just missing...and I do not recall him saying one word about that. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has on their website a list of where the tarp money will go as well as other mechanisms in place to show accountability and transparency. Issa is a hypocrite!!! He needs to apologize.

    November 8, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. rdepontb

    Representative Issa, it is that kind of crazy, _calculated_ talk, on a few recognizably bombastic broadcasts, that has lessened our feelings of worth as a civilization and a nation. "I should have parsed my words" only means you intended the audience to be only Limbaugh's listeners; talk about corrupting our system. You need to do the right thing now, and not insult our intelligence with some off-hand sleight of hand, sir. There are huge fish to fry, the nation needs to work together, and if the Republican Party still cannot or will not pull its weight, please get off the bandwagon now. We need honest leadership, and you know how to provide it, you know what it takes, so please be responsible in word and deed.

    November 8, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  4. Uhave2laff

    How Issa has the nerve to call for bipartisanship after he backpeddles on calling POTUS corrupt, or why he would be allowed to after McConnell and Boehner have already pledged NOT to work with the incoming Congress and Obama agenda is beyond me.

    November 8, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. T'sah from Virginia

    'It was a campaign and I make no bones about it – if I had to do it over again I'd have parsed my words a little more carefully."

    That's the problem of the entire campaign coming from the RIGHT!!! In order to get elected, they had to SCARE senior citizens; FAKE a repeal of Health Care knowing damn well it's not going to happen; LQQK in the camera – like Quayle – and state PRESIDENT OBAMA IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY; call the president a Socialist, corrupt and Hitler.

    Every RepubliCAN’T – except the far-right Tea-Party candidates – is now trying to take back what they said during the campaign while they slowly move away from the EXTREME Tea Party Right hoping it will save them!!! BAD Boys, BAD, Boys – Whatcha gonna do – Whatcha gonna do – When the Tea’s not FOR YOU!!!! There’s NOthing you can do!!!

    This is T'sah – OUT of Campaign MODE – N2 MOVING AMERICA FORWARD without the GOP, if necessary!!

    November 8, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. Pretzel Logic

    Issa is a turd. It was his brilliant idea to recall Gray Davis which prompted the Schwarzenegger circus that sent California spinning out of control (Issa actually thought someone would want him as Governor and cried when he lost by a huge margin). He's going to try and drum up a reason for a special prosecutor and an impeachment trial for Obama – based on absolutely nothing. Count on it.

    November 8, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    What a hypocrite. He was on Bill Maher's show just this past week and he sounded as if he really wanted to work together with the President. He then says something completely different when at the rethugs king's den.

    November 8, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. Please

    "It was a campaign and I make no bones about it – if I had to do it over again I'd have parsed my words a little more carefully." which equals – I lied to get elected. Nothing but the best for our elected leaders.

    November 8, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  9. eolufemi

    Get rid of this guy!

    He accused the President of corruption with no evidence or even a specific charge to speak of.

    November 8, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Of course he did:

    Pre-election = be as extremist as possible and gin up your base by dogwhistling that you're going to witchhunt like a Puritan high on oopsy mushrooms.

    Post-election = smile while you twist the knife to put a pretty face on your waste of government money for self-centered political gain.

    November 8, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Congressman Issa what was George W. Bush and his cabal then? Well?????????

    November 8, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. TM

    Issa has been crowing about "holding hearings 24/7 WHEN he is Chairman: of his committee. And NOW we're supposed to believe that there won't be "witch hunts"? If he's looking for corruption, he can save us all a lot of time and money and just buy a mirror.

    November 8, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. LizinStLouis

    Those comments were disgraceful..calling President Obama 'the most corrupt"? Is he kidding? All I can say is that Issa is a total JERK!! I also have no bones about saying this. He ought to be ashamed of himself!

    November 8, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. independent

    This is the attitude of a dishonest man. I hope those who elected him eventually realize what they elected.

    November 8, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. lcasey

    Oh Mr. appears you have another face on the back of your head.

    November 8, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Angbalti

    He should walk it back! Make him give examples, defend what he said. Frankly, All the so called news folks should be kicked to the curb. all of them, right, left and down the middle. it is down right disgusting the duplicity and cowardice displayed every day by everybody...everybody.. Involved in the news. Politicians and flacks. There are no absolutely not one person of character or courage in the sad and sorry bunch. Right left, up down. God may have blessed America at one time but Satan clearly purchased a passel of souls cheep. Curse them all.

    November 8, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. Tam

    Shame. Some Republicans should know what corrupt means.

    November 8, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. tom

    how sad that these reps talk and say lies and ignorant things that simple people believe as truth

    November 8, 2010 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |