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. Denise

    "In Obama's case he uses the muscle of the IRS to do the robbery..." OMG. Tea Parties, what planet do you come from? Oh wait, that's right, you ripped off that moniker just like you did your little snake sign and the ripped off "Don't Tread On Me" mantra. Too busy being unoriginal and living fact-free lives , spouting off incoherent rants because you are too lazy to actually research and read (if you even can). So go on and continue to believe in the GOP, the very party that holds this country down and back and works to ensure everyone's interests are ignored with the exception of their own.

    September 8, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. John

    They call themselves "Christian" Conservatives. Yet they wear their hate on their shirt sleeve. They are such a sad and hypocrital lot. They embarass America!!!

    September 8, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. pd123

    Really think about it. There is no need for the GOP and Tea People to show up. They already have their answer, it's "NO". This is their agreed to answer no matter what the proposal is.

    September 8, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. fahrenheit451bookstore

    What kind of childish behavior is that! Don't these guys Joe Walsh, Ron Paul, Paul Broun have a public they represent, all of not just their party and constituents? What happen to attending presidential addresses out of respect for the office, now there is a Black Man in the office and the Republicans have been on barrage of disrespect set forward by Cantor, Boehner and DeMint with their disrespectful leadership, jobs and spending blockade. I agree with NYCmoviefan by dishonoring the president, these 3 Republicans dishonor us, We the people! Is this how you run a democracy or is this how you run a kindergarten class! This is un-American; racism how else do you explain the insults and blatant disrespect for the office. Imagine if your democratically elected democrats had not shown up for a Bush War or weapons of mass destruction speech. Now our economy is suffering from some really bad Republican lead Mass Destruction! fah451bks

    September 8, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. Bushy Walrus

    Obama has a a good plan but even if it gave every unemployed person a job, the GOP would fight it cause they want Obama to have no credit for anything positive. Unfortunatley the GOP is destroying the country in the process.

    September 8, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. bill

    This is what obama gets for being a partisan politician.

    September 8, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. Senior Citizen

    I am so sick and tired of the Republican's who think of no one but themselves and the rich people that they represent that I could vomit!!! They will do anything to harm this presidency and don't care if it hurts the people they are elected to represent as long and they can bring down President Obama. I hope that they all remember that every dog has his day and I'd like to be around to see it when they are defeated big time. They so want for President Obama to fail that they will stop at nothing to see that it happens. What happened to being elected to serve ALL the people, not just the rich. This is just one more reason that we need term limits to get those jerks that just keep voting themselves raises and bowing to the Tea Party and the Koch brothers and Rove and his bunch of crooks. Chenny among them.

    September 8, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    regardless if he is the "boss" or not he is the President of the United States.....and I bet had some of the Democrats pulled such a stunt when Bush was in office you right wingers would dislike it as much as we do.

    September 8, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Ruth

    OMG they will never stop pouncing on the President who has done so much to better America. TheY rant about the President's speeches when they themselves cannot shut up for a day. My family and friends are just FED UP of the GOP/REPUBLICAN. We will get together to vote for OBAMA'S 2nd term and I wish there was a third term I would have voted for him again. The republicans are the party of NO. They just cannot bear to see a black american ruling them. Every time they accused him of something they were proven wrong. All I can say is THE REPUBS /GOPERS TAKE HIS GOODNESS FOR WEAKNESS. But let me say this he has more integrity then any of you GOPERs. LEAVE THE MAN ALONE AND HE WILL WORK WONDERS. STOP OBJECTING TO EVERYTHING HE PROPOSES. STOP WANTING TO SEE HIS WATERLOO.



    September 8, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. gojira

    Remember 2001 – 2008, when it was unpatriotic and treasonous to question, criticize or disrespect the President of the United States, it didn't support the troops and emboldened the terrorist? Good times, those were good times...

    September 8, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. Bushy Walrus

    Mitch McConnel is an obstructionist boob. Just a talking head saying No No No No! Dump Bahnoer and McConnel in the next election and we will be much better off. Congress risk a total recall of all incumbants unless they get to work and get something done now that they have returned from their one month paid vacation.

    September 8, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. Tim

    I dont care what party you are if you all cant get the job done vote them out of office. They are all playing politics. I dont care what party you are in if you cant work together you should be voted out. Play that game in a compnay in America and see how long you last.

    September 8, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. CaliforniaBC

    Funny how they keep saying the Stimulus didn't work when the most recent CBO report in June and a number of independent economic reports say differently. This is just another example of the GOP dismissing the FACTS when they do not agree with their agenda.

    September 8, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Jack V

    Why would anyone want to follow these GOPers. What are they? Perverts that wear diapers when they seek hookers & dead beat dads. They have no shame & could not make it in the private sector. History will mark these people as BOOBS!

    September 8, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. PhillyInDaHouse

    @California Conservative -There is no such thing as a race card. That's just a term that's been created as a way for a coward to say that "I don't really want to deal with the real race relations issues in America". Don't believe me, I DARE you to say the same thing to a jew when they say that they've been discriminated against. You wouldn't remotely consider telling them they're playing the race card, would you?

    Nope. And by the way, there are people that have blatanly said in public that they would never vote for a black man as POTUS. They didn't say and uneducated man, they didn't say a democrat, they said a black man. A black man that could be smarter than they are academically, and with political experience. But the fact tht they're skin color is associated with being "black", that's enough for them to not even vote for them.

    That's a fact, not playing a card moron.

    September 8, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Let's get rational now

    II am not going to watch the president's speech. It is not because I don't support our president or don't respect him. It is because I have absolutely no faith in anything he wants getting passed in the current climate in Washington right now. The useless battle over the debt ceiling burned me on the entire political process. I realized during that clown circus that no one, republican or democrat, cares one bit about the American people. They only care about themselves and their party affiliation. Watching that process made me sick to my stomach.

    News flash for everyone elected in 2010: NO ONE ELECTED YOU FOR YOUR IDEOLOGY! They elected you to make their life better. If that involves cutting taxes and spending and you can prove that to us, okay. If that involves increasing taxes, okay. If that involves a combination of both, okay. Adopting the simplistic cut everything attitude and hopefully everything will sort itself out without proving it will (or at least trying to) to the American people is not going to work. You may not care if you get re-elected by the American people care if there is an America after you are done with your term.

    We have a perfect example of this type of idiocy in Illinois in the person of Joe Wilson, representative (I use that term loosely) of the 8th district of Illinois. This useless moron is being sued by his ex-wife for back child support, had his house foreclosed on and cheated his campaign workers out of their pay, has the gall to be critical of the federal reserve chairman and give his opinion on fiscal policy. He has openly called the president of the United States a liar on his web site. How and why this bonehead got elected is beyond me. He is boycotting the speech tonight. I guess a first term congressman from a crappy district in Illinois feels he is too important to respect the President of the United States.

    Joe is a perfect example of what our leaders have become. They have become people we wouldn't even want to invite into our homes. And now they are making public policy. How did this happen in America today?

    September 8, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Weezie

    The more these clowns act up, the more they make me glad to be a Democrat. Sure, we may not have all the answers to solve the economy, unemployment, and other things, but at least we make the effort. Republicans are jackasses, and I think that Obama should let them know that if they can't attend the speech, they should not be able to cast a vote. Suckers!!

    September 8, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Bushy Walrus

    Evertime the Mitch McConnel makes a statement, God kills a kitten!

    September 8, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Max

    Enough already. As a republican I am embarrassed at the way the republicans are acting. Pull up your big boy pants. Nobody is telling you to stand up and cheer show some respect to the office. If you don't like, open your mouth and come up with some ideas. Where is our BRILLIANT plan? I will be voting republican again in the primaries but not for one single incumbant and I hope the democrats do the same for their representatives. Throw the whole bunch out the door!!! Grow up, shut up and do your job.

    September 8, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    @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.

    Bribery? Give examples, please. Is there anything more corrupt than the no-bid contract sHalliburton was given, or the sexual favors people in the Interior Department were giving to lobbyists in the oil business. Remember Jack Abramoff? Please, the last adminstration was a slush fund for the GOP. BTW, the debt we are paying off was accumulated under Bush, so please get your facts right: finally, the Tea Party caucus has fractured the GOP, reducing it to impotence, just look at how little they have accomplished in terms of legislation that even makes it out of committee

    September 8, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. democrat for life

    are these clowns kidding me or what? they have not worked with this president over anything except tax breaks for the rich. all of these lazy do nothings have got to go and as soon as possible as this is an emergency. our country is sinking and fast because of these horrible people. who do they think they work for? surely not the american people. we must remember all of this nonsense in november 2012 and send the repubs packing. then they can all go to work for the oil companies, lobbying agencies and foreign agents they work for now. yes these clowns should be wearing sponser patches so we can see just who owns them. they disgust me!!

    September 8, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. John

    You don't have to play any "racist" card here. People just "know" it when they see it. And it is "working", if you want to call it that. Just look at the polls!!
    It's funny how Americans have no memory. That's why we keep repeating it. If tax cuts really do create jobs, George Bush's monsterous tax cuts would have created more jobs than we can handle. But the fact is tax cuts don't create jobs. Prove to me that they do. It's is also fact that Mr. Obama created more jobs in his first 2 years in office than Bush did in his entire EIGHT years in office. That's not opinion. It's fact. Look it up you bigoted, ignorant conservatives and rethuglicans. DEAL WITH IT!!!!! You idiots are self-contradictory!!! And it's laughable!

    September 8, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. TEA PARTY Mike

    Obama does realize that a majority of voters never wanted the first stimulus passed and that an even bigger majority believe it failed to deliver as advertised.
    Based on everything I am reading and hearing, Obama's stimulus two plan is just a smaller version of stimulus one.
    If that is the case it is a loser right off the bat.
    And Obama is going to demand that Republicans need to put country before party and support his plan. Does Obama really think voters will want Republicans to do that if they don't like his stimulus two?
    And does Obama realize that in terms of putting country before party voters will be measuring Obama's willingness to compromise with Republicans as much as Republicans with Obama?

    September 8, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. Mary

    Mr. California Conservative
    By saying, "Keep playing the racist card..." you have just labled yourself as a racist! Why would you bring it up? What difference does color make? Get over it already – we are all of the human race, my dear – maybe just of different color (or, mon dieu, a different sexual preference)! What's your problem?

    M (and, by the way, I'm a rich, white, heterosexual bi@ch!)

    September 8, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Randy, San Francisco

    Need further proof the GOP/Tea Party put their party's interest before the country's?

    September 8, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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