GOPers speak up, but some won't show up to Thursday speech
September 8th, 2011
12:13 PM ET
11 years ago

GOPers speak up, but some won't show up to Thursday speech

(CNN) – Actions speak louder than words, and at least five Republican members of Congress-two senators and three representatives –plan on sitting out the president's jobs speech before a Thursday joint session of Congress.

Call it an act of defiance, protest, or a simple "scheduling conflict"-some members just have other plans.

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Georgia Rep. Paul Broun also sat out the president's State of the Union address in January, tweeting from his office on Capitol Hill. This time, the congressman told CNN's American Morning Thursday that he's planning to host a "town hall meeting over Twitter" so that constituents can "communicate with me and tell me what they think about the president's speech."

The three-term Republican congressman accused President Obama of believing in socialism during his last tweet-and-response during a joint session, but this time, he said, will be different.

"We weren't holding a town hall meeting on that particular occasion," Broun clarified. "We're inviting people to come on board, to give me comments, to give me suggestions, to tell me what they think we should be doing."

"I'm trying to listen to my constituents," Broun said as he expressed skepticism about the president's intentions.

"This president does not listen. This is just another campaign speech," he stated.

"What we need to be doing is trying to create an environment so that job creators in the private sector will start hiring people, Broun continued.

"Not these ideas that have been proposed by the president. We've already seen them in the stimulus bill. They failed before. They'll fail again."

Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh echoed Broun's sentiments when he told CNN's "Newsroom" later, "It really does seem like every time someone skins their knee the president wants to make a big speech. We're beyond big speeches."

"If this president were serious about coming together, he wouldn't throw together a big campaign speech again."

Arguing that "you can't lead by speeches," the freshman congressman stated that he won't just be boycotting the president.

"I'm actually going to fly home this afternoon and instead of attending his speech I'm going to sit with 40-50 small businessmen and women–the job creators in this country–and they're going to give me their recommendations and I'm going to take them back to the president."

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint said he's "so tired of [Obama's] speeches" that he will read the text because "it's going to be hard" for the tea party leader to watch.

But House Speaker John Boehner wasn't in favor of actions by errant members of his party Thursday. "I have encouraged my colleagues to come tonight and to listen to the president," he addressed the floor.

"He is the president of the United States and I believe that all members ought to be here and do this. Doesn't mean they are going to. Remember, I am just the speaker, all right. I have 435 colleagues who have their own opinions and they are entitled to them. As an institution, the president is coming to our invitation. We ought to be respectful and we ought to welcome him."

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter just had bigger and better plans, but changed them to attend.

Though he originally stated, "I'm going to be watching from my family room in Metairie, Louisiana because I have a Saints game party there and I'm absolutely going to be there for the big game," spokesman Luke Bolar confirmed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the vote schedule, effectively cancelling the senator's travel plans.

"Apparently my attending my own Saints game party at home in Louisiana is the latest casualty of Washington partisanship," Vitter wrote in an e-mail to staff. "This HAS gotten out of hand!"

When President Obama first proposed a joint session of Congress last week, the timing went up against a GOP presidential debate. He settled on the Thursday date countered by House Speaker John Boehner, going head-to-head with the NFL season opener featuring the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers instead.

Obama's speech at 7 p.m. ET is timed to occur shortly before the game begins.

Still, Texas Rep. Ron Paul won't leave the presidential campaign trail to attend.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has pressing family matters that will keep him away from the Capitol as well –though his absence is less than political.

Spokesman Alex Burgos told CNN, "Senator Rubio will be returning home early this afternoon to be with his mother, who has been hospitalized following a series of strokes."

And freshman Rep. Lou Barletta announced Thursday he will return to his home state of Pennsylvania to attend to matters related to "unprecedented flooding" in large parts of the Northeastern and Central portions of the state.

CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

soundoff (767 Responses)
  1. California Conservative

    Just another speech.

    Same ole same ole.


    September 8, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Kate

    The only goal of Republicans is to oust Obama – to hell with the American people. I hope they lose big in 2012!

    September 8, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Indy

    When the boss calls a meeting of importance you show up or lose your job, especially when you are an elected official. For those Republicans that are tired of speeches, you need to know that is how a President elected by the people address's the nation, they all do it and that is life. We are all tired of the Republicans holding the economy hostage and tired of your 12 years experiment and lie about tax breaks to the wealthy creating jobs.Vote out every one that that does not have enough respect to show up and hear about the BIGGEST concern of everyone in the country.

    September 8, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. justamused

    Maybe if all Republicans, House and Senate, would stay home for 6 more years, the Democrats could get this country back on it's feet.

    September 8, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. ReallY!!?

    U want 2 talk about disprespect well how about Obama schecduling the speech without consulting Congressional leaders as is required by him to do! How about Obama scheduling his speech on the night of a GOP debate (scheduled months ago) in an attempt to play politics & upstage them? As President, Obama has been the most unpresidential ever in our history. He has no class and does not respect the office he serves. So why should anyone respect him?
    Obama will propose another stimulus, only not call it stimulus. deja vu anyone?

    September 8, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. disgustedcitizen

    This Congress is headed for single-digit approval ratings! Mark my words.

    September 8, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. once upon a horse

    if my boss was giving an important speech and regardless if I liked or agreed with it or not, I had BETTER show up to hear it. No wonder the Congressional approval rating is only 13% and falling.

    September 8, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    GOPers won't be showing up, huh? Really quite childish. And very stupid. Kind of hard to pretend you're willing to put politics aside and then boycott the President's speech. Guess "we the people" shouldn't have too much difficulty understanding just where GOPers priorities really lay. Apparently, not with "we the people". Or with job creation. Needless to say, this attitude is beyond all doubt why America is where it is today.

    September 8, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. ReallY!!?

    Maybe if all Republicans, House and Senate, would stay home for 6 more years, the Democrats could get finally get 100% of this country on welfare!

    September 8, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. jacq

    The lack of disrespect from the GOP,is unpatriotic as it comes. I believe the GOP is going to lose bad,let me tell you why, their behavior will be their downfall.

    September 8, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. rangu

    Simply hatred for a black person. Always when they come to Black countries they expect every black to bow to them. It tells us that it is their birth right and if they respect a black president, it is an insult to their birth right. Most of these people are stone headed that they have never read books or try to know what the world is right now thinking. They are assloches as Germans say.

    September 8, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. cyg

    GOP hasn't shown up to do a job in years – why start now? Although it would be fun to see Obama tell the guard of the house to track down these scum and bring them to the Congress in shackles if necessary – they always threaten to do that when state governments do that...

    September 8, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. DannyCali

    We know that's the Tea Bag Party going to do this but it doesn't help Tea Bag Party and Republican Party at all we are American we going to vote for Obama 4 more years if their keep doing this.

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Soni

    I wouldnt sit in the same speech everyone heard two years ago either. More of the same failing ideas so why waste any time with it. The American public wont listen, His own party wont listen, instead they have to tell him what to do so why should the republicans listen to him. He is a looser and the worst President in the history of our Nation.

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Ines

    And the GOP is trying to win our trust? Sitting out the President's speech is an irresponsible thing to do, not to mention disrespectful, whether they agree with the man's policies and ideology or not. I would laugh if it weren't so tragic for America.

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Sean

    Oh, the irony of Mr. Broun complaining that the President "does not listen" when he deliberately refuses to show up or even listen to what the president says, preferring to toss around words like "socialism" which are clearly far too complex for his limited understanding. What a moron.

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. gz

    Vitter can't make it....

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Jeff in TX

    Unbelievable and unbearable. Vitter takes the cake...A football game is more important. The civility, respect and regard are disappearing. I suppose these Congressmen are all solidly supported in their districts and face no threat of losing their seats. Still, it's quite a thing to blow off the President of the US, and these excuses are so flimsy. I am wondering if we'll get any "You lie!" tonight. Pathetic Republicans Congressmen.

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. California Conservative

    Unplug Obama's teleprompter and watch him have "deer in headlight" syndrome.

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    This not only shows disrespect to the office of the President but to the American people on a very important issue to us in a desperate time for many-and the Republicans can't be bothered-show how interested they are in helping the American people-but then we are not their masters-only corporate America

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Patriot Awesome

    As I recall we were steadily adding jobs before the Republicans won the house back. They should all stay home.

    September 8, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

    If their constituents have any sense at all, this boycott will backfire on those involved.

    September 8, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. bb

    Seems to me that Jim DeMint should be very interested in job creation, given that his district leads the nation in poverty, drop-out rates, AND UNEMPLOYMENT. These 5 couldn't care LESS about the American people. Unemployment is just fine with them. Vote these arrogant losers out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 8, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. 21stCenturySLC

    How crazy is this! These are our paid representatives! Do your jobs! I'd be fired if I stayed home to watch a football game! If this was my senator or representative, I would be phoning in or emailing like mad to object to their disrespectful treatment of the PRESIDENT regardless of party affiliation. Talk about a real reason to NOT re-elect these folks in 2012. What a campaign message they are sending as public servants to us, their constituents! Shame, shame..

    September 8, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Tom in the Great NW

    To the President:
    President Obama, please look at the problems faced by Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.
    Abraham Lincoln was faced with a group similar to the teanut party – the RADICAL REPUBLICANS (Lincoln was republican) literally despised Mr. Lincoln. They thought of him as nothing but a backwoods lawyer IN OVER HIS HEAD – they wanted ANOTHER CANDIDATE to WIN IN 1864. Well folks, DID HE NOT PROVE THEM WRONG? EVEN THE UNION SOLDIERS taking tremendous casualties in 1864 voted for the president's re-election.
    Harry Truman, taking over for the deceased FDR, faced an even worse time WITH GOP SENATOR MCCARTHY's VICIOUS WITCH HUNTS. No one can forget HARRY HOLDING UP THE PAPER THAT SAID "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" – RIGHT! R-I-G-H-T!
    And now, President Obama faces the ROADBLOCKs of both the gop and their piggy-backed friends, the teanut party. The president will propose a jobs program tonight that will have a $400-500 BILLION PRICETAG. HECK, Dubya spent THAT MUCH IN JUST 10 MONTHS IN THE WRONG PLACE, IRAQ!
    ..Citizens, look closely at the teanut line-up:
    Perry – ANOTHER Dubya-like wooden head.
    Bachmann – POLEASSSSSSSE!
    Paul – even the teanut-gop party does not understand him!
    Palin – the TEANUT WHISPERER.
    .....a loyal supporter of President Obama, Tom in the Great NW.

    September 8, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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