McCain Rips Congress and Obama Over Shutdown

Wednesday, 09 Oct 2013 05:56 PM

By John Bachman and Cathy Burke

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Sen. John McCain on Wednesday called the protracted government shutdown a “failure” for Congress that’s damaging Americans "caught in the crossfire" — and shamed President Barack Obama for not being able to negotiate a way out of the bitter stalemate, as President Bill Clinton did in 1995-96.

The Arizona Republican and 2008 presidential candidate told Newsmax TV that Obama is making "a serious mistake by not calling people over the way that Bill Clinton did" to end a then-21-day-old shutdown.

"I'm a proud Republican, but I did watch President Clinton when we had the shutdown a long time ago ... sitting down and negotiating, and discussing, for literally hours with the Republicans," he said. "That is something that President Obama has refused to do."

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here.

“This shutdown, which has gone on too long, is a failure of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle . . . and we need to stop it right away and stop doing this to the American people,” McCain said in the exclusive Newsmax interview.

He cited the Arizona example of visitors deprived of one of the "crown jewels of America's park system" at the Grand Canyon – and unpaid federal workers in "a very desperate situation."

Story continues below video:

McCain suggested two issues might get negotiations started: a repeal of the tax on medical devices, and making "sure that the members of Congress live under the same Obamacare that every other citizen has."

"We could do that," he said. "There’s several other measures that we could take . . . if the president would sit down and negotiate."

The Arizona senator said the "tragedy" of the congressional logjam is that "so far, Obamacare has been a colossal failure, and if it were not for this fight we are in — and a lot of it is Republican versus Republican — you would see the headlines dominated by this flop of, certainly, the initial implementation of Obamacare."

We Republicans have "inflicted two wounds on ourselves rather than one," he said. "But there is motivation for the president to negotiate, because his numbers are going down too . . . It’s hard to imagine why he wouldn't want to at least offer . . . the president can call leaders over to the White House and they'll come."

"We're going to fix the business of the death benefit for family members of military members killed in service," McCain said, but he wondered:

"What are we going to do for all of those people who, under contract with private companies, who work for the government? No matter what area of government, they're never going to get repaid, they're never going to get compensation for this . . . They're caught in the crossfire.

"It is a damning indictment of our insensitivity to the damage that we're doing to the American people."

McCain also told Newsmax TV that he was in favor of the Obama administration's cutting off aid to Egypt — and that "we should have cut off aid" earlier, calling the administration’s foreign policy strategy "the most bizarre I’ve ever seen."

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here.

"We sent mixed messages and now we're sending a mixed message," he said. "We have influence over Egypt, whether it be tourism, whether it be American business, whether it be the IMF loan, and that influence can be exercised, and we are not doing that."

"It's part of this whole withdrawal from the world that has been the trademark of the Obama administration, and believe me, no one in the Middle East trusts the word of the United States of America anymore since the president of the United States threatened to strike Syria and . . . now, we are removing chemical weapons while conventional weapons are coming in from Russia and from Iran and Hezbollah and the slaughter continues of Syrians, only with conventional weapons."

Read  more of the Newsmax interview with Sen. John McCain:
McCain to Newsmax: Obama Ready to Do 'Right Thing' by Cutting Aid to Egypt
McCain to Newsmax: I See Problems If Court Tosses Campaign Limits

Related Stories:

McCain: Cruz on 'Fool's Errand' With Obamacare Repeal

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