Graham: Voter Disapproval Cut GOP's Bargaining Power

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 09:13 PM

By Greg Richter

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Record-low approval ratings for Republicans killed their bargaining power over the budget and debt ceiling, says Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

If not for their cellar-dwelling likability, Republicans could have repealed the medical device tax and gotten other concessions, Graham said Wednesday night on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

"But by the time we made a deal, we're at 75 percent disapproval," he said outside the Capitol building as his colleagues inside were casting their votes in favor of a bill agreed to earlier in the day by Senate leadership.

The bill would open the government until Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.

"Not a whole lot of leverage when 75 percent of the people don't like what you're doing," Graham said.

"So those polls really had an impact?" Cooper asked.

"Well, you can't let 20 or 30 polls cloud your thinking, apparently," Graham said in jest. "Of course they had an impact. And to the people on my side who thought this turned out to be a good idea, I just think that's not reality."

Polls show 60 percent of the public wants to fire every incumbent. And President Barack Obama's approval rating is also at rock bottom.

"I can understand general disgust with everybody," Graham said, "and I can understand why we suffered the most."

The whole experience has been a wake-up call for Republicans, he said. "Democrats know they didn't really shine, either."

But Graham said the shutdown will eventually be old news, while the Obamacare rollout fiasco will continue.

Graham predicted that if the Affordable Care Act sees no changes by summer, Democrats will be begging the GOP for help.

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