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. saywho

    Show me a good republican that's still alive.

    September 8, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Then they should be removed from office asap. Most of us would be fired from our jobs. They had better lose the next election, if the caring Republicans vote them in get what you asked for...but you are taking down the whole contry with you. I know caring Republicans and they said this is making them sick, they used to work together for the country.

    September 8, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Dean

    The president is going to make a speech tonight that he himself is calling a jobs speech to outline his own plan to create jobs. By his own definition this should not include any mention of Republicans or the Tea Party (unless he simply asks them to help him). When he does mention/blame them for his failures, and he most assuredly will, it has just became a campaign speech and the Democratic National Committee should get the bill for all of the transportation and other expenses involved in convening a joint session of congress for a campaign speech.


    September 8, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Moses | California

    Look people miss meetings for work all the time, but you don’t tell people beforehand that you simply not attending because you are going to stay home and watch football. The current and past President’s have not lived up to the majority of their promises. I understand the frustration and the anger. What I don’t understand is the lack of respect for the Office of the President. What type of message is the GOP sending to our youth? Let’s put it this way, if the GOP really thinks that disrespecting the President is in the best interest of America, why don’t they just make that their campaign. Their slogan should be “we hate him and so should you, vote GOP”. Just another sad day in the greatest country in the world.

    September 8, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. SilverHair

    Cut a President's speech? Get a life – do something besides gripe.

    September 8, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. LMC

    Pretty obvious these Republicans really don't care about trying to work together for the good of the country. It's their agenda or nothing. That's not what America needs right now. Patriotism and the good of the people should come first. It's pretty obvious these folks have only their own interests in mind and could care less about the country! I have had it! I will work to get these people out of office!

    September 8, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Debra/Minnesota

    Appalling behavior from the Republicans. They demonstrate they have no interest in helping middle class Americans. They are so focused on their hatred and disrespect for President Obama, they forget they were voted in to work with the president in solving the country's problems. At least they have finally shown their hand though. I have long doubted they had any real interest in helping middle class Americans or people who have lost their jobs. This just proves it. If they can't put the public's interest first, show up for the President's speech and grant him the respect he is entitled to (regardless of your political views), then they MUST be voted out of their office and stand in line for a job with millions of other Americans. Give their job to an American who would show up. After all, in the workiplace, anyone not showing up for an office meeting deliberately would be fired. These people must then be fired too. The arrogance of the Repulbic party!! At least I can now vote a straight Democratic ticket with a clear conscience and no doubts whatsoever. So, I guess thanks Republicans!! You have finally revealed your dishonesty.

    September 8, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. ted

    I hope Obama's speech is bold and big. I would like to see him put a plan out there to help the country that paints the GOP into a corner. The GOP doesn't care about the work stiff, but their only plan is to cut taxes on the weatlth and corporations and stick it to the rest of us. The GOP is exhibiting extremely unacceptable behavior and is living up to its name Grand Obstructionist Party. They said extend the Bush tax cuts and jobs will be created – Hey Boner – where are the jobs? Idiots.

    September 8, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Phillydan

    Joe Walsh is a tea party coward. How people in his district voted for this totally ignorant and disrespectful person is beyond me. He has issues with paying child and spousal support. All he is interested in is getting his face in front of a camera but he always uses the same talking points. There is not one original thought or idea in his brain. He is truly a dunce and a disrespectful one at that.

    September 8, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Grundoon

    The GOP needs to STOP coddling corporations!!!!! They are NOT job creators, but have PROVEN only to be JOB DESTROYERS, at least in the US. Plenty of jobs have been created overseas, which does nothing to help the US.

    September 8, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. The GOP should drop the "P" and just GO

    The behavior of Republican senators and representatives is beyond disgusting and inexcusable.

    September 8, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. R Texas

    President Obama is a strong, intelligent and respected Black Leader. He is the first African American President. For this the GOP and yes some Democrats are trying to destroy him. Hang in there President Obama...... You will survive, because we see the hate and disrespect that you are having to deal with. Keep fighting, take your message to the people, they will decide. Thier decision wll not be based on hate, jealousy, race, religion, nor all the other crazy jabber that is being spewed out about you. God Bless You in you efforts to lead this nation despite all the odds against you.

    September 8, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. NoWay

    Morally bankrupt republicans are out of it.

    September 8, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. CHUCK

    @California Conservative. I must say that I find your attitude to typical of the GOP Party. Just because some GOP Reps do not want to hear the Commander and Chief speak it means that they do not have to show up. I disagee I think if he/she is getting paid $170,000 per year, then they are obligated to hear what the President has to say. Show some type of respect for the office at least. The GOP has done nothing to help this country get out of this recession, now to top it off they can even do they jobs. No wonder Congressional approval is at 13%. But soon the time will come when your do nothing party will have to answer to voters nationwide about what they have done for 4 years since President Obama's election, they have nothing to show for the money they paid. As Senator or Congressman you are paid to negotiate, brain strom, and compromise, this is what they are paid for. I am amazed at the lack of effort displayed by the GOP. Some old crap everytime: the GOP does not get their own way they pickup and leave. How childish. I guess some people just do not earn their pay. The GOP hatred for the President is so deep that they are not willing to come together for the best of the country. I am truely amazed. I guess the best person for the job is one of the GOP lunatics Perry, Palin, Bachman, Cain, or Rommey. I guess everyone has their opinion.

    September 8, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. m

    The GOP is acting like a bunch of snotty nosed primary grade children...and it's extremely un-statesman like of them!

    September 8, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Expat American

    The Republican Debate last night was nothing new. Just more lies and refusing to accept responsibility for their failed policies. It’s clear that the GOP agenda is solely based on their desire to see this President fail. Their agenda was never about cooperation and fixing the many challenges that face the country. So essentially nothing new from the party of Liars and Mass Murderers (aka: Republican ‘values’).

    September 8, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. Phillydan

    One other thing about Rep. Walsh, I tried to contact him directly via his office but unless you are in his district, his website blocks people from outside the district from posting or leaving a message. The bottom line on this cowardly Representative is that he likes to dish it out with wrong facts and such, but he can't take it back which makes him a yellow-bellied coward in my opinion.

    September 8, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Tao

    How shameful. First they make Obama move his planned speech, and now some won’t show up. Republicans are a disgrace.

    September 8, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. DN

    Deplorable. This should sound a loud and clear sound out to anyone who's uncertain of the GOP's perspective on our nation. Once again we are seeing Republicans in Congress acting like children. We witnessed such immature behavior during the debt ceiling talks and now we're seeing a repeat of it here.

    These actions should not be forgotten come next November.

    September 8, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Lynne

    Aren't some of the states they are from 'will to work" states where the employer doesn't need a reason to fire them? Georgia is....just fire them! If they aren't doing their them!!!! I think Mr. Walsh could be fired for moral turpitude.

    The wild thing is that people wonder where their children are learning to be so disrespectful! They are learning it from people like our "Leaders in DC!"

    I don't know about any of you but I am truly truly frightened for the future of our country. If this is how our elected leaders are going to politics instead of govern we are all going to hell in a hand basket!!!

    September 8, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. PhillyInDaHouse

    @Four and the Door / Enough is Enough. You guys sound like you love FAUX/FOX News. Let's get an understanding, in case you went to sleep during class in grade school. It's not the POTUS's responsibility to provide a jobs bill. It's congress responsibility to come up with a bill, vote on it, pass it, and then send it to the POTUS to be signed into law. That's basic civics class info. The president can introduce something, or in other words suggest something for direction. But it is not the responsibility of the POTUS. NOTHING will be done if you can't get an agreement from congress to vote it into law.

    So don't put this on Obama, esepcially when Obama has come up with plenty of suggestions, but they have ALL been voted against or filibustered by the GOP. That is, except the ones that gave tax breaks to the richest wealthiest in this country. Yeah, the GOP certainly voted for that. The GOP have not come up with anything to help the majority of america, which is the rest of the 98% that are not wealthy!

    You GOP are most certainly to partly blame for no progress in this country. You're going to tell me that Obama is the hold-up for jobs in the US when a top GOP senator openly states that your agenda is to make Obama a 1 term president? Mind you, saying this while we were still trying to recover from a recession? And Obama is the problem? No wonder we can't progress in this country, you guys are too idoiotic not to go bungey jumping without a rope.

    September 8, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine


    HEY...I have a really really really good plan to get Americans back to work and get the economy back to prosperous times, and I'm going to get it started right no..., uh, well, after my campaign bus ride, then I'm really really really going to put it into, right after my 10 day vacation. And then you betcha I'll implement it immed...well right after my next campaign speech [heh heh, you know, the one I made Congress show up for]. If I'm lucky California will fall into the ocean and Texas will burn up and the East will be innundated with floods and hurricanes...who knows, maybe the Arabs will stir up a good thing or two–with all luck I won't have to do a thing! WOW, what a great planner/leader I am! Don't you think this deserves another Nobel?

    Now that you've had your fun, where are the jobs we were promised? No small coincidence the economy stalled when Boehner took over in the House, and the Tea Party forced a default on us. BTW, did you ever object to W taking all that time off in Crawford? How's "Heckuva Job" Brownie doing these days? Has Dick Cheney shot anyone in the face? Scooter Libby lied to anyone lately? Any more WMD evidence we can fabricate? Can we stop looking for Osama-wait, thats right, Obama got him. Hacked into any phones lately?

    I could go on for days about your heroes.

    September 8, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. mary

    This is the President of the United States, people!! Whether you agree with him or not, he has called a congressional session to present a job plan...doesn't matter if you don't like it, but at least show up and listen. That is your job as representatives of the citizens. I tell you, in a private sector world, these jackasses would be fired for insubordination!!!

    September 8, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. California Conservative

    ThinkAgain – You and your arrogant Prez could ONLY pass something when dems had a super majority. Compromise isn't in your volcabulary. Bribery and backroom deals is. Obama and the dems had two full years to do something besides add $4 trillion to the debt in just over 2.5 years clearly outspending Bush.

    So next time you praise your messiah as TRYING how about you first figure out what he's TRYING to do.

    September 8, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Monica

    This is very disrespectful and childish and makes GOPers looked really ridiculous.

    September 8, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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