Senate Republicans strike back at President
June 30th, 2011
02:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate Republicans strike back at President

Washington (CNN) - A day after President Obama testily blamed Republicans for blocking a debt deal, a Senate Republican struck back, calling the president's words "disgraceful" and saying "he should be ashamed."

"I respect the office of the President of the United States," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in a speech on the Senate floor. "But I think the president has diminished that office and himself by giving the kind of campaign speeches that he gave yesterday."

Cornyn heatedly objected to the president's charge that Congress has been lackadaisical in addressing the looming debt crisis, which comes to a head when on August 2nd when, the Treasury Department says, the debt limit is set to expire.

A day earlier Obama had scolded Congress for taking too much time off and said "at a certain point, they need to do their job."

"They're in one week. They're out one week. And then they're saying 'Obama's gotta step in..."' the president told reporters Wednesday. "You need to be here. I've been here."

On Thursday morning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the Senate would cancel its planned recess next week to work on a deal saying he hoped Republicans "for once, put politics aside and help Democrats to fulfill Congress' sacred responsibility to the American people."

Speaking on the Senate floor, Reid also painted a dark picture of the consequences of a U.S. government default.

"It would plunge the United States not into recession but into full-blown depression, without a doubt. Without exception, the respected financial voices of our time have said the effects of a default crisis would be felt across the globe. I repeat: this would create a world-wide depression," he said.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to turn the tables on the president, issuing an invitation for Obama to come to the Capitol for lunch with Republicans to hammer out a plan.

"That way he can hear directly from Republicans why what he's proposing won't pass," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "The President says he wants to get working, wants us to get working. I can't think of a better way than to have him come right on over today. We're waiting."

Cornyn, who heads up the Senate Republican campaign operation, followed up the invitation by slamming Obama for not taking a more active role in securing a solution, and faulted him for spending time on the campaign trail. The president will travel to Philadelphia today to attend two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee.

"I wonder if he's going to cancel his fundraiser in Philadelphia tonight to meet with Senator McConnell and Speaker Boehner to try to work on this threat that he was so emphatic about yesterday," Cornyn asked. "I predict he won't cancel his fundraiser in Philadelphia tonight to get to work on something that only he can do, which is to negotiate a grand bargain with Republicans and Democrats that will solve this problem."

White House Spokesman Jay Carney responded to the remarks by reeling off several "listening sessions" the president has had with both McConnell and Reid and House and Senate Republicans at the White House on the debt issue.

"[McConnell] invited the president to hear what would not pass," Carney said. "That's not a conversation worth having. What we need to have is a conversation about what will pass."

As for the prospect of Obama cancelling his evening fundraisers, Carney demurred.

"We can walk and chew gum at the same time, as the president said yesterday," he said.

Filed under: Republicans • Senate
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Cornyn is one of the biggest piles of cow dung to every come out of Texas. They keep sending him to DC because they can't stand seeing his face in that state.

    Redneck, drunken, backward hicks. Worse than Mississippi and South Carolina and Georgia all put together.

    June 30, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. terry,va

    Obummie has disgraced the dignity of the office. The place will have to be fumagated before a Repub can move in in 2013.

    June 30, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. deejcnn

    Why... the GOP can't handle the truth?

    June 30, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. S. In California - Obama 2012

    Mr. Carney SAID IT ALL. He is the POTUS and DOES NOT have to rearrange his schedule to meet with anyone – especially those who cannot and will not work with him. There is nothing wrong with campaigning and afterall, he is SEEKING REELECTION. These old white men make me sick. They just can't get over the fact they can't treat him inferior anymore (shine my shoes boy). I am so glad they will all be extinct in the next 20 years and maybe then – ONLY THEN can this country move forward. Keep telling them Mr. President. The American people are with you.

    June 30, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. David S.

    This is BS. The dems have offered numerous concessions to help reduce the deficit including cutting funding for some of thier "sacred cows".

    Where the hell are the reblican concessions? Aside from refusing to budge on anything have they offered anything substantive? Anything at all?


    June 30, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. obama victim

    well...Barry is , of course, disgraceful...but it is the country that should be ashamed for electing this embarassment

    June 30, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Carol

    Good for the President, he called them out for exactly what they are.

    June 30, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. james

    Here we go again folks. The ReThugs are at their little game again because we have an election coming up in November 2012 and they want to embarrass our President and pray for him to fail so that their bunch of BOZOS could take over and ruin our beloved country even more than they destroyed it. "WAKE UP AMERICA" and see what this lot is all about and in no uncertain terms REJECT THEM AT EVER TURN.

    June 30, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Remember

    Does anyone else remember a time when Reagan would actually meet with Tip and things got done? For a guy that likes to put a certain amount of praise on Reagan, Obama sure did not learn much from him. Does anyone remember Reagan ever referring to Democrats as his enemies? That is a common way for Obama to talk about Republicans. Reagan referred to Democrats as opponents, not enemies.

    June 30, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. SR

    "That way he can hear directly from Republicans why what he's proposing won't pass,"

    Because your corporate masters say so? Your campaign contributors say no? Yea, we get it. You're not interested in playing ball. You don't care if you cause a global fact you welcome it with short-sighted glee. We understand your position GOP.

    June 30, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. PD.

    Oh, please. These are the same Republicans who allow their constituents to say our President is alien, he isn't American and he is (Gasp!) Socialistic Maxist. They have no shame.

    June 30, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. JSH

    Poor conservatives they are always the victim. It was not Obama who walked out and then threw a fit. It was not the Democratic Congressmen who said compromise was off the table. It was not Obama who said "my way or the highway." The GOP are playing politics and as long as there was a chance for a compromise the Democratic Congressmen and Obama have not been very vocal in their criticism of the Republicans. When they walked away and said that they would not compromise the Democratic Congressmen and Obama were left with little choice but to publicly go at the Republicans. The Republicans know no shame and are much more interested in pleasing the Tea Party than in doing their jobs and solving the problems of the USA.

    June 30, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. sonny chapman

    My but these guys have thin skin.They love to talk how politics is a contact sport, but when someone lands a blow, they've got glass jaws. The Repubs. need to feel some heat fro playing obstructionists since Jan. 2009. Rush said," I hope this Prsident fails." SENATOR DeMint said, "Health Care will be Obama's Waterloo". Now they want Obama to sing Kumbaya !

    June 30, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Cornyn heads the GOP Senate campaigns, so he and McConnell are hardly ones to complain about taking time off to fundraise. Neither answered the central thrust of what the President has been pointing out, namely the fact they are on-again, off-again. They make a childish reference to his attending a fundraiser, while ignoring the fact they are raking in huge amounts of money from individuals and PACs that benefit from their inaction. Since they are so terrified that if they compromise they will face a primary challenge, they owe it to us to be honest and say they are too scared of a challenge from the Teatards: that will leave the adults and the GOP members with balls to do something. However, since they have been disingenuous from the start, I have no expectation they will do that. However, if there were a bill calling for Democratic members of the House and Senate to be investigated for Un-American Activities, they would be all over it like flies on a cow pat.

    Always remember, the GOP is not serious about anything except power. They would shred the Bill of Rights and the Constitution if they felt it would get them the White House, and there is only so much glue and tape to put it back together before its damaged beyond repair.

    June 30, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    We can walk and chew gum at the same time, as the president said yesterday," he said.
    Yes, we know. It meaning he can delegate his duty and work to others while he attends campaign events and fund raisers. It can only get more ironic if this dolt starts giving these speeches and press conferneces from the 18th hole, where he spends most of his time these days.

    June 30, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Dan

    Politics as usual. Lots of blaming, name calling and nothing is being done. The members of congress work for themselves and their highest contributor. Its all about not causing a stir and preparing for the next election cycle.

    June 30, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Jane

    Just as Boeger stated....We have CHILDREN running this country....EVERYBODY needs to go!

    June 30, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Thai

    Both Dems and Repubs are talking to the media instead of each other. NONE of them are doing their jobs. They're all grandstanding.

    June 30, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Chumlee

    Blah, blah, blah ................... Republicans always need something to cry about

    June 30, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Stoney

    I couldn't believe the preident's opening remarks. Sounded like a spoiled child not getting his way.

    June 30, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. KatR

    According to the Constitution the President plays no role in steering the Congress regarding legislation. For the GOP to request a lunch (at taxpayer expense) to 'hammer out the details' is utter stupidity. The American people know that Congress is broken. It's past time for the President to step back and let Congress prove that it cannot solve the deficit issue as they are constitutionally empowered to do. It may hurt all of us but it will also prove that members of Congress (especially the GOP) are not doing the jobs they are supposed to do. We may wind up in another revolution or civil war as a result. Very sad.

    June 30, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. bill

    uhbama is too busy golfing and playing to be bothered with these things.

    June 30, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. J. Strnad

    "Come over so we can thumb our noses at you in person." Yeah, that's an invitation that's hard to pass up.

    June 30, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. ingrid

    Shame on Republicans. Shame.

    June 30, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Bill from GA

    The repug Senators should realize that if a minority of Senators expects to hold the country hostage to get their demands, our government is a failure. Our Government looses all balance when one side refuses to compromise.

    The repugs got their way last fall with the extension of all tax breaks; now they expect to get their way on spending cuts. And they will blame any downside (failure of Medicare to provide its expected medical care; failure of Social Security to provide any security) on the dems.

    mcconnell is especially good at political games. It is the job of lawmakers to work out a compromise, not the President. But mcconnell only wants to blame the President for the continuous failures of Congress.

    I just hope the dems don't give in again.

    June 30, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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