08/18/2011 11:31 am ET | Updated Oct 18, 2011

Tom Coburn Blasts Congress Over Debt Ceiling Deal, Makes Controversial Remarks About Obama

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) blasted Congress for America's financial troubles and predicted that the debt ceiling agreement would unravel this fall, calling his congressional colleagues "career elitists" and "cowards" at an event in Langley, Oklahoma on Tuesday.

"It's just a good thing I can't pack a gun on the Senate floor," Coburn said, according to the Tulsa World.

The remark comes just weeks after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) returned to Congress to vote in favor of raising the nation's debt ceiling, seven months after she was shot in the head by a gunman in Tucson, Ariz.

In response to a man who asked whether President Barack Obama "wants to destroy America," Coburn also managed to both defend and insult the president, calling him a "very bright" man who loves his country but also someone who "as an African-American male," received "tremendous advantage" from government programs.

Obama's "intent is not to destroy, his intent is to create dependency because it worked so well for him," Coburn said.

Obama and Coburn represent something of a political odd-couple. In Langley, Coburn called Obama's political views "goofy and wrong," but the two have long had a personal friendship, stemming from their time in the Senate together.

"I try to write him about every week or two," Coburn told The Hill in 2009. "Write him a note, encourage him. No one has a tougher job than he does."

"We came into the Senate together, and I just have a lot of admiration for him," Coburn said at the time. "I'm 180 degrees from him on policy on most issues. But I think he's a wonderful man."

Speaking in Iowa this week, Obama echoed Coburn's criticism of Congress.

"We could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game," he said in Peosta, Iowa, referring to job creation measures like an infrastructure bank and free trade agreements.

"The only thing that is holding us back is our politics. The only thing that is preventing us from passing the bills I just mentioned is the refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party, and that has to stop," Obama said. "Our economy can't afford it."

The president is planning to unveil a new set of proposals to create jobs and boost the economy in a speech after Labor Day.