Issa defends calling Obama 'corrupt'
January 5th, 2011
03:25 PM ET
12 years ago

Issa defends calling Obama 'corrupt'

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), the brand-new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform, defended comments he had previously made that President Obama is "one of the most corrupt presidents of modern times."

Speaking to CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King Wednesday, Issa offered his definition of the word "corrupt":

"I think people misunderstand the meaning of the word corrupt, and obviously, CNN does. 'Corrupt', or 'corrupted' or 'failure', it's no different than a disc drive that's given you some bits that are wrong," Issa said on CNN.

Issa continued, "I have never said it's illegal. I've never made any of the statements that are often said on CNN that implied wrong-doing of the president at a criminal level, but I do believe that the American people have changed the control of the House in no small part because they saw more regulation, more misspending than they ever dreamed possible and they need Republicans to be part of the balance to bring that back under control."

The question was prompted by comments Issa made to Rush Limbaugh on October 19, 2010, when he said Obama was "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times." Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" he said he meant to say the Obama administration instead of the president.

"When you hand out $1 trillion in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) just before this president came in, most of it unspent, $1 trillion nearly in stimulus, that this president asked for, plus this huge expansion in health care and government, it has a corrupting effect," Issa said.

To hear more from Rep. Issa watch CNN's "John King, USA" Wednesday @ 7 p.m. ET

Filed under: Darrell Issa • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. hobart

    If Issa did not mean the legal definition of corruption, he should have said so originally. So basically, when he's calling Obama corrupt, he means , like most Republicans, that he views things like the kind of universal health care that every other country in the world has as immoral. So, why did he not say so? And so what?

    January 5, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Bill

    What an idiot. He doesn't even realize that it was the DEregulation of the market that CAUSED the recent depression. Plus he's claiming to be the final authority on the English language? We all know 'corrupt' has a criminal connotation to it and Issa is lying when he says he didn't 'mean it that way'. Stop backpedaling. Go ahead, be an ignorant troll, but don't pretend like you aren't one.

    January 5, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Sorensen

    This little, uncultured and uneducated joke of a man will regret those stupid remarks forever.

    January 5, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Voice of Reason

    When you make a statement – such as saying a politician is 'corrupt', you ARE saying more than whatever Mirriam-Webster definition you choose to split hairs on. When you publicly say that a politician is CORRUPT, you are accusing them of all sorts of moral evils, dirty tricks, and shady dealings.

    You can backtrack, waffle, and split hairs all you want – but that fact is that you were accusing the president of corruption. If you cant be honest and live up to your own statements, then you should either move out of that glass house, or quit throwing stones...

    January 5, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. Mike Hawthorne

    Yeah, 'corrupt' doesn't really mean what everyone in the country thinks it means. And 'death panels' aren't really panels that decide death. But as long as it stirs up anger and hate without justification, it's OK to completely misuse words. As an elected public servant, paid by our taxes, it's not like you have the responsibility to tell the truth or anything.

    January 5, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Tony Z

    What exactly did you mean? Go back on Limbaugh and it. Say I didn't mean what I said. Also, I am going after Bush.

    January 5, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. Sammy Sosa

    That's a pretty poor explanation for the allegation that he made. It's better to call it a bad choice of words, apologize and move on rather than to offer lame explanations. How many of the viewers/readers immediately related his accusation of the president to a disk drive that gives bad pieces of information? I'm an independent and these kinds of accusations and baseless allegations have been driving me crazy to the extent that I begin to wonder whether these clowns have an ounce of decency...

    January 5, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Hilroy

    What else is new. Bring the black man down.You guys are going to be for one mammoth surprise. I am too angry to waste my time on this matter. I am sorry your Republican mouth piece John King was not more forceful on this stupid remark

    January 5, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. DBA

    Oh, I see. While Issa's comments implied illegal +/or unethical practises by President Obama, what he actually meant to say was that the President needed to run a disc check. Uh huh.

    I'm going to get my popcorn ready for this two year circus of GOPer's in charge of the house: aside from all the troglodyte knuckle dragging ignorance and general whoring for corporate interests that could lead to unbearable human suffering, this should be quite entertaining.

    January 5, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Look up in the sky! Issa Bird! Issa Plane! No Issa the most disgusting individual to ask for advise from big businesses so he can change the safety regulations put into law to protect Americans.

    January 5, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. JustMe

    Is he serious?? Has he looked at our last President who consistently lied in order to go to war against Iraq (don't get me wrong, I am glad we did it, but I am just still beyond p.o.'ed that he lied about it) not to mention people like Nixon (don't even get me started there). Not to mention I can name a slew of Republicans that are current or past members of Congress that have questionable ethics.

    January 5, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Issa is guilty of being unfit to bring charges against the President or his administration and there is no judge who would accept Issa in his courtroom to put anyone on trail with Issa's preconception of guilty before charged. Issa's is a total idiot.

    January 5, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I wonder if this corrupt republican ever looked in a mirror?

    January 5, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Dave

    Whatever... Issa is a simpleton with a short memory. If he wants to see the most corrupt politician in American history, just look back at the drooling idiot that occupied the White House from 2000 through 2008. Now there's corruption.

    January 5, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. walter yurek

    The new newt.

    January 5, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Tall Ed

    You'd think that the guy who is supposed to be the head of investigations for the House would know what the word corrupt means. I think he knows what the word means, and the connotations connected to it, and now since it is blowing back in his face he is trying to walk his statements back.

    January 5, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. LeftCoastMike

    This guy Issa is a cheap political opportunist who is a laughing stock in California and has now taken his Clown Posse act nationwide. If anyone knows corruption, it's a politician beholden to lobbysists and that's exactly what this guy is. Where is his proof of corruption? We know where it is ... right in his own backyard. The culture of corruption lies deep within the "R' party and always has. Do the Tea Party folks really believe that people like Issa will represent their interests? Don't be fooled. Just like the "R' party crowd conned Christians into voting for them, then abandonned all their pledges, the same will happen to you Tea Party folks. You want to investigate corruption? Find out who donates $$$ to Issa.

    January 5, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. AZ Dem

    Riiight so corrupt doesnt mean anything "illegal"....and the SPIN begins!! Issa has a lot of power with his new position but if he uses his first year to create a witch hunt of the Obama administration he'll be doing EXACTLY what the democrats want allowing them an open forum to defend all of the great legislation they passed over the past 2 years. This wil only boost support instead of detract from it because people who are for these bills aren't budging and only people who don't know much about it see them in a negative light. Either way Issa would be wise to not overstep his new power.

    January 5, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Grand Obstructionist

    Issa - here's one for you: I'm giving you a single digit salute, you may choose to understand it as I'm saying "you're number one", but the digit is in between my pointer and ring.

    January 5, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    Corruption is a broad term, to mean many things, not just criminal behavior. I agree with Issa. Corruption in this administration, and lack of full accountability, are big problems.

    January 5, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Namejilli

    Man, nice job trying to backtrack, but your "explanation" doesn't fly by any interpretation of the word "corrupt". But then again, mr. Issa shamelessly lied about his military service, so why should we trust him? Issas biggest enemy is going to be his own ego.

    January 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. Bassackwards

    How about Nixon, Issa? Or Dubya? Oh.. right. They're fellow Republicant. They don't count. To paraphrase Frank Zappa: "Both of those suckas are worse than you (Obama)"

    January 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. Brandon

    Please my elected officials. If your going to use "big" words, please know what they mean before you start spewing off at the mouth. Just a thought. 😉

    Corruption: the abuse of public power, office, or resources by government officials or employees for personal gain, e.g. by extortion, soliciting or offering bribes

    January 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. MishaJohn

    Cnn should have asked Issa about his criminal record: multiple car thefts, insurance fraud, firearms violations. And *this* is the guy the GOP put in charge of "oversight?" May as well hire Bernie Madoff to watch your kid's piggybank.

    January 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Ramon

    Issa is a idiot

    January 5, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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