Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., accused President Obama Sunday of being a "casual observer" in the U.S. economic debate, and argued that "if he was in the Southeastern Conference, he'd be fired as a coach."
Graham, speaking during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," argued that Mr. Obama's presidency was statistically "lousy," and called on fellow guest, leading democrat Howard Dean, to "have your party lead."
"The truth of the matter is if President Obama, if he was in the Southeastern Conference, he'd be fired as a coach. He would not have his contract renewed. Everything is worse," Graham said. "The president's biggest problem is that he's not leading. He's a casual observer at a time when he needs to be fully engaged."
Standard & Poor's on Friday downgraded the United States' credit rating from the top AAA rating to AA-plus for the first time in the history of the ratings. The agency said it was making the move because the deficit reduction plan passed by Congress on Tuesday did not go far enough to stabilize the country's debt situation and that the policy-making is not stable or effective as needed to address the current economic challenge.
Graham argued on "Face the Nation" that the nation's woes were a result of a deficit in leadership on the part of Democrats.
"Hey Howard, have your party lead," Graham told Dean. "Put together a budget for the Senate. Have the Senate Democrats put together a budget and show us what they would do."
"We do that, but you all filibuster the budget and we can't get anything done," Dean fired back to the South Carolina Republican. "You said president Obama would be fired...the truth is, if this was a private corporation President Obama would fire you all."
Dean argued that Republicans -- and especially Tea Party members -- were largely responsible for the stalemate over a deal to raise the debt limit, and the subsequent U.S. economic downgrade.
He argued that Democrats were willing to compromise "with reasonable Republicans on entitlements" and other issues, but emphasized that "everybody has to put something into the pot here to get us out of this."
"That includes all those wealthy bankers and corporations that the Republican tax breaks went to ten years ago," Dean argued. "We've got to all put something into the pot. It is unfair and unreasonable to ask middle class people and seniors on Medicare to take a big hit, when bankers and oil companies continue to take our taxpayers' money. That is not right, it's not fair, and I don't care how vociferous the Tea Party is -- that's not a winning strategy for elections or for the country."
Graham, however, argued that Mr. Obama, not the Tea Party, was at fault.
"It's not the Tea Party's fault," he said. "What was hope and change is despair and confusion. People are not creating jobs in this country because they think Howard Dean is going to raise their taxes."
"So this president hasn't led, and the tale of the tape is in," he added. "Statistically this has been a lousy presidency, only getting worse."