Live blog of the president's address
April 13th, 2011
01:10 PM ET
7 years ago

Live blog of the president's address

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama entered politically tricky territory Wednesday when he outlined his plan for reducing long-term deficits and the national debt amid a climate of tense budget negotiations in a speech at The George Washington University. Follow the latest developments with below with the Ticker's live blog. Read the full story here.

3:40 p.m. ET - @BarackObama: There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending $1 trillion on tax cuts for millionaires & billionaires.

3:21 p.m. ET - House Speaker John Boehner responded to the president's speech with a statement Wednesday: "Republicans, led by Chairman Ryan, have set the bar with a jobs budget that puts us on a path to paying down the debt and preserves Medicare and Medicaid for the future. This afternoon, I didn’t hear a plan to match it from the President," Boehner said. “He is asking Congress to raise the debt limit to continue paying Washington’s bills. The American people will not stand for that unless it is accompanied by serious action to reduce our deficit. More promises, hollow targets, and Washington commissions simply won’t get the job done."

2:39 p.m. ET - According to a pool report, Republican congressmen Dave Camp, R-Michigan, Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, left G.W. together at same time, asking a policewoman outside for directions to 21st Street.

2:37 p.m. ET
- Obama referenced former President Lincoln once, former President George H.W. Bush twice, former President Clinton once, and former President Reagan twice. He did not utter President George W. Bush’s name one time.

2:35 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: OBAMA DROPS "RADICAL": A CNN editor noted Obama took out "radical" when describing "the sort of steps" in GOP plan. (35 min into speech)

2:32 p.m. ET - Obama referenced a letter he received from a man from Florida who didn’t vote for him. He said the man told him he still believes the American dream is alive despite the intensity of the debate today. Obama said the man told him the country must use its dollars to rebuild and refurbish the country our ancestors left for us.

2:30 p.m. ET
- Obama said the current debate is about the size and role of government. He added that “it's not a bad thing” that debate has gotten more vigorous, but that America has always believed we can’t just think about ourselves but must think about our country and fellow citizens and what is required to pursue American dream for future generations.

2:29 p.m. ET - Obama called on Vice President Joe Biden to begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties of Congress to come to an agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit by the end of June. He said while he doesn’t think the final agreement will look exactly like the approach he pitched today, he is “eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum.”

2:28 p.m. ET - Obama said the country has come together before to meet big challenges, citing former President Ronald Reagan and former Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill who came together to work on Social Security. He also referenced former President Bill Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush’s work with opposing parties in Congress. Still no specific mention in speech of former President George W. Bush.

2:26 p.m. ET
- Obama's message to those who think we shouldn't make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security: Then “we wont be able to keep our commitment” to the next generations of retirees, Obama said. And his pitch to progressives in his own party: “We have the obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments.” He said we must make government “smarter, leaner, and more effective.”

2:23 p.m. ET - Obama said there will be those who disagree with his call to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans. As he did in the 2008 campaign, he cited his friend billionaire Warren Buffett, who Obama said, “doesn’t need another tax cut.” He added that he believes “most wealthy Americans would agree with me.” He said they want to give back, but “Washington hasn’t asked them to.”

2:20 p.m. ET - Obama said step four of his plan is to reduce spending in the tax code. He said he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts because it was the only way he “could prevent a tax hike for middle class Americans.” Today he said we can’t afford it. “I refuse to renew them again.”

2:19 p.m. ET
- Obama said he will preserve Medicare “as a promise we make” to each other in this society. He said Social Security faces challenges but is not the cause of the deficit, saying we must reform the program without affecting present retirees or "slashing benefits” for future generations.

2:17 p.m. ET - Obama said the third step of the plan is to further reduce health care spending in budget. He said the “difference could not be clearer” between his plan and the Republican plan. Obama said health care reforms already passed from his health care legislation would reduce $1 trillion from the deficit. He said we will change the way we pay for health care with new incentives for doctors and hospitals.

2:16 p.m. ET
- Obama said his second step is to find additional savings in the defense budget, and cited comments from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs who said, “the greatest long-term threat to America’s national security is America’s debt.” Obama pledged to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities and role in a changing world.

2:13 p.m. ET - Twenty-five minutes into his speech, Obama addressed his proposal for “a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over twelve years.” He said the first step is to keep domestic spending low. “We will make tough cuts” necessary to make these savings, he said, adding that he will invest in new roads, education, job training and clean energy.

2:11 p.m. ET - In the last decade, Obama said the bottom 90 percent of Americans saw a decline while the top Americans saw an increase. Using himself as an example, he said it was not right for him to get a tax increase on the backs of 33 seniors each having to pay more for health costs to finance a tax cut for the wealthy.

2:10 p.m. ET - Obama said Medicare plans floated by the GOP mean Americans would pay $6,400 more if you need healthcare, ending "Medicare as we know it,” Obama said. He claimed 50 million Americans will be without health insurance if the Republican plan goes forward. These Americans, he said, will be left to “fend for themselves.”

2:09 p.m. ET - Obama cited China, South Korea, and Brazil as examples of nations that are investing in the future and said the United States is not.

“We are presented with a vision that says the United States of America – the greatest nation on Earth – can’t afford any of this,“ Obama said.

2:07 p.m. ET
- @RepWeiner: why im not president. my version : "the gop plan is a disaster and ill chew my arm off before i sign it"

2:07 p.m. ET - 2012 reference: Obama noted one vision championed by Republicans and “embraced” by several Republican presidential candidates aims to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and addresses challenges of Medicare and Medicaid.

“Those are both worthy goals for us to achieve," Obama said. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history. “

2:05 p.m. ET - Obama said truth is that two thirds of the budget is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense. He said clean energy, education, the environment and other programs only account for 12 percent of the budget. Any serious plan will require America to put everything on the table and take on excessive spending, he said.

2:03 p.m. ET
- Obama said the good news is that a debt laden country doesn’t have to be our future. He said we can come together, but we need to be honest about the causes of the debt. Obama added that not all government spending is bad.

“Most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but they like the stuff that it buys,” he said.

2:02 p.m. ET - Obama claimed by 2025, the amount of taxes we take in will only be enough to pay for health care, Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt. “That’s it. Every other national priority – education, transportation, even national security – will have to be paid for with borrowed money.”

2:00 p.m. ET - Obama joked Biden is not young, like some of the G.W. students in the crowd.

1:59 p.m. ET - While Obama didn’t name former President George W. Bush by name, he managed to sneak in a reference, saying by the time he took office, the projected deficit was more than $1 trillion.

1:58 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: OBAMA PLAN – Social Security: From WH factsheet: “The president does not believe Social Security is in crisis…” Punt.

1:58 p.m ET - @LisaDCNN: *OBAMA PLAN – Bush Tax Cuts: As he has said in the past, Pres. Obama wants to end the Bush tax cuts for incomes >$250K.

1:58 p.m. ET - Obama said America lost its way after the fiscal discipline of the 1990’s. He said we didn’t pay for new spending of two wars and tax cuts that forced us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over next decade.

1:57 p.m. ET - Obama referenced former President George H.W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton by name, but not former President George W. Bush. “To meet this challenge, our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit. They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush and President Clinton; by Democratic Congresses and a Republican Congress….. As a result of these bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000.”

1:57 p.m. ET - @RepWeiner: Somewhere Joe Wilson is yelling "You Lie!" over and over at his TV. President is doing great setting the debate.

1:55 p.m. ET - White House pool reported that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Rep. Jeb Hensarling or Texas are seated in the front row next to Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

1:55 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: OBAMA PLAN – Medicaid: Listen up, states. Pres.Obama would dump the many Medicaid match formulas now and give states one funding rate.

1:54 p.m. ET
- Obama said we recognize that hard times, illness or lost job may strike – “There but for the grace of God go I,” he said, before adding that Medicare and Social Security make the country better.

1:52 p.m. ET - Obama said that "this debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page, more than just cutting and spending. It's about the kind of future we want. It's about the kind of country we believe in."

1:49 p.m. ET - Obama started his serious speech with a joke: “It’s great to be back at G.W. I want you to know that one of the reasons I kept the government open was so I could be here today with all of you. I wanted to make sure you had one more excuse to skip class. You’re welcome.”

1:49 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: WHILE WE WAIT: I'm going thru embargoed text of the speech. I see first mention of Obama's proposal more than 1/2way through. #p2 #tcot

1:44 p.m. ET - Obama's motorcade arrived at G.W.

1:42 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: @SpeakerBoehner suggested to reporters potus said he's open to debt ceiling vote that's not "clean" (w/ conditions) – as repubs want

1:36 p.m. ET - @RepWeiner: Health care for the poor gets paid for one of 2 ways : efficiently or inefficiently. Slashing Medicaid only moves the cost.

1:23 p.m. ET
- @LisaDCNN: OBAMA DEFICIT speech: We expect it to be about 40-45 minutes. So pop the popcorn, pour the glass, now.

1:21 p.m. ET - @franksesno RT @edhenrycnn: At obama speech. Simpson/Bowles here. Word is Prez will take "big bite" of commish recs tho will "lean left" a bit. Stay tuned.

1:21 p.m. ET - @edhenrycnn: President will lay out plan w/ $4 trillion in deficit reduction in 12 yrs or less - speech coming at 130pm ET #devilindetails

1:19 p.m. ET - @RepWeiner: Lets review the bidding : Democrats proposed and created Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. #GOPstillHatesEach

1:15 p.m. ET - @DanLothianCNN: Obama to set a goal of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years or less, according to a snr admn.official.

1:14 p.m. ET- Among those expected to attend the speech Wednesday according to a pool report: Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jacob Lew, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Chair of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling.

1:12 p.m. ET - @wolfblitzercnn: Obama wants to cut $4 trillion over 12 years; GOP wants $6 trillion over 10 years. Watch Obama speech 1:30PM ET #CNN

1:04 p.m. ET - Obama will set a goal of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years or less in his speech Wednesday, according to a senior administration official, CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian reported.

1:00 p.m. ET - @RepWeiner: I'm gonna livetweet during the President's budget remarks at 1:30 #OtherOptionIsTalkingBackToMyTV

12:53 p.m. ET - @ChuckSchumer: @SpeakerBoehner should heed advice from business leaders, stop playing politics with debt ceiling. It’s playing with fire

12:32 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: I would like to thank the GOP for responding to the president's speech over an hour before he gives it.

12:23 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: NOW BOEHNER throws gauntlet: "Raising taxes will not be a part of it"... of dealing with the deficit. #p2 #teaparty #tcot

12:20 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: DEFICIT SHOWDOWN heats up: McConnell just drew a hard line, said "We will not be discussing raising taxes." Read: Bush tax cuts. #tcot #p2

11:58 a.m. ET - @SpeakerBoehner: By the #s: learn more about the largest spending cut since WWII #jobs

11:57 a.m. ET - @RepWeiner: Looking at embargoed fact sheet on Potus plan. Not allowed to tell you about it yet. #ButMyHashtagLikesWhatHeSees

11:00 a.m. ET - President Barack Obama will call Wednesday for an end to the Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 annually, according to a senior administration official, CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian reported.

9:42 a.m. ET - On the Senate floor Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said: "The truth is the president is only entering this debate at all because he can no longer ignore the growing bipartisan calls for action. If he were serious he'd be talking about a detailed road map for action not just grabbing headlines by announcing another speech,. Of course we can hope that the president presents more than just his vision for the future this afternoon."

Filed under: Budget • President Obama
soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. WiredwierdinSF

    Sounds like it is part of his continuous assault on the savings and money of those of us who have acted responsibly all of our lives so he can give it to the drug addicted, non working, oxygen thieves that vote for him. Very typical of this incompetent, inept, corrupt, union toady president.

    April 13, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Anthony Ginn

    Hopefully, Obama will incorporate his debt reduction commission advice addressing tax reform. This would be a great beginning point along with increased taxes for the rich and some budget cuts. We cannot let the Rebublicans hijack our economy and transfer more wealth to the wealthiest in America!


    April 13, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. G. Mannion

    The President needs to repeal the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy. Why is it the little guy that has to shoulder the larger burden ?
    He needs to leave Social Security alone, as for some it is the only income they have or will have. If the goverment would quit raiding the Social Security accounts there would be no problem. Due to wages staying low and the cost of living going up, some are not able to save that much.for retirement. Medicare is another program that needs to be left alone. If money needs to be saved why not force congress to pay for their own healthcare, with their wages it shouldn't be too much of a burden. A little compassion in this country for the not-so-well-off wouldn't hurt anyone.
    G. Mannion

    April 13, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. al in memphis

    Who was the last president to layout a deficit reduction plan? If there is a Republican still in the House or Senate that did not call for Bush to address the deficit the same way they are calling for Obama to do, they should resign today.

    April 13, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Lynn

    I just read in a document called WHO RULES AMERICA by a Prf. G. Wm. Domloff from UCSAC that the top 1% of Americans hold 42% of the nations' financial wealth and that the next 19% hold an additional 50%. This leaves only 7% of the nations' fianacial wealth to be held by the bottom 80% of Americans. If this is true, it may be scewed to some degree, how can we balance the budget on less than 10% of the nantions' wealth.

    April 13, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Levi

    Rep. Anthony Weiner is brilliant. He's probably the only Democrat I know that has a pair. Maybe him and Joe Biden.

    April 13, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Lynn

    That's UCSC not UCSAC. Sorry

    April 13, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Frank

    Obama on tax cuts = I approved extending the Bush tax cuts before I was against them.

    Obama 2012 budget = No spending cuts.
    Obama 2012 budget version 2 = Oh wait, I have changed my mind. I have spending cuts too.

    Obama on raising the debt ceiling = I was against raising the debt ceiling before I was for it. I said it as a lack of Presidential leadership and now I don't think that any more.

    April 13, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When President Obama does a "checkmate" on the GOP they get very angry, especially when he doesn't respond to them immediately. They haven't learned yet that this President is a very smart man and they need to stop talking stuff.

    April 13, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Shashank

    where is the President?

    April 13, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. dennis

    Here goes the blame,

    What about the Millions taken from Social Security by Congress and never replaced.

    How did this nation survive without taxes for the first 150 years?

    April 13, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. epic FAIL

    Oil companies can turn horrible 2008 years to ones of record profits but our government doesnt know how to budget itself? Sounds like advisers suck there and need to be run more like a company. Does DC really need a CEO to run it? Is it that DC is taking the hit so these companies can turn these record profits? More answers are needed. This government, and the government in the past is and has been completely unacceptable.

    April 13, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Martin

    $4 trillion over 12 years? That's less than $400 billion a year, or less than 25% of the entire deficit.

    Come on America, it's time to stop pussy footing around and get serious about budget cuts.

    April 13, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Tim

    Blah, blah, blah. He's a dope. Who cares what he says?

    April 13, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. janimaynyc

    Stop talking about the money we the people spend on our own country and start talking about The Two and a Half Wars we're in, costing us billions of dollars per year. By social contract and what we pay into the system, we have agreed as a nation to support Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We have NOT agreed to spend billions of dollars on WAR. We as a nation have not voted to go to war. End them now and spend or save that money. Period.

    April 13, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Dominick George

    Without the added help of the baby boomers and how they affect entitlements we must now figure out how to bring in strong revenues and grow our economy independent of our nation's population.

    April 13, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Shirley Williamson

    It seems to me we would have lots more money to reduce our deficit if we cut ALL foreign aid by even 10%.
    I don't think the American middle class should be making sacrifices so our government can bribe/pay nations that really have lost respect for us. Let the big corporations and millionaires do it since they usually are the benefactors in some way.
    It's way past time for them to carry their fair share.

    April 13, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. MM

    When will Congress begin to work for the American people?
    The budget is today's issue. But the actions of the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch have caused the shortfalls through unaccountable spending on two wars, and ridiculous giveaways to the top 1 percent, whose campaign contributors demanded this increased welfare for the wealthy. This is an old song. But we now have local municipalities selling/leasing public assets to balance budgets. The profiteers of those local assets are gigantic investors of super wealth, typically Arab oil money. In Chicago, I pay for high oil prices; the oil companies get a tax break. I go park my car and pay for parking costs that have doubled by the profiteers, the same investors that produce the oil. The investment banks that brokered the deal receive huge commissions from the mega investors. The same investors who lease the Chicago Skyway and other public assets. Those investment bankers receive the huge commissions and make up the wealthy 1 percent that just got the recent tax break extension. Today the middle class is not only shrinking they are losing their homes to unscrupulous investors that gambled with corporate and municipal pension funds. Where was the GOP's concern about deficits when the President's hand was forced to sign off on extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 1 percent? Walter Mondale was right, we need to invest in our country. Taxes are not a dirty word. A progressive tax system built the greatest wealth for the most people in the history of the world. It is time to end the Reagan mantra that taxes and and government are somehow a threat to our country. In Ted Kennedy's word when he was fighting for a small increase in the minimum wage "When will the greed end?" We need to trim our sails on spending but we also need to increase taxes and continue to invest in our country. This is a national security issue. The winds from that investment will power our ship of state in a new direction. Otherwise we will have to continue to sell assets to foreign oil producing countries. Perhaps the Statue of Liberty will be the next asset sold and the cost to visit this gift from France will be too steep for the average American to visit, but what the heck, there is always the foreign visitor that can pay to see this iconic monument that proudly served as a beacon to our ancestors, i.e. immigrants seeking new freedoms in a new land.

    April 13, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. roberta

    I am listening to Mr Obama's speech on the budget. He must be wearing blinders because the last time I looked we, the people, voted him and all the congress in to their spots. My question is when are these "elected by the people" politicians going to play the game fair and cut some of their "way too high" salaries and perks like we have had cut on us especially those of us who paid into social security for 50 years when I worked and the government stashed it away and drew interest on it, why is it that we are threatened all the time with cutting social security. why are you in the government not paying into this retirement fund so you can draw from it and try to live on it. to do otherwise is not fair, just or equitable. fix it, manage it, or give me all the money I paid into social security over 50 years that I worked and I will put it in the bank to draw interest and live on it.

    April 13, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Paul Willson

    souinds like the begining of class warfare by POTUS

    April 13, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Charles

    I don't care who does it. Republicans had one that cuts deep, Democrats cried. Now they want one that cuts deep. I would like to see one that cuts deep in the Democrats favorite payout and the Republicans favorite payouts. In order to save America you guys better stop the name calling, race baiting, and deviding of classes. Get rid of government employee credit cards, stop unneccessary travel, Pelosi, for example. Get rid of more then 3/4 of the grant funding of not realistic studies. Pu t requirement for Congress & Senators and all government employees to account for their travel in government cars. People like Conyers should pay back all money for personal use by him & his family. And the losses of certain laptops. Cutting the budget should be important to all in the Congress and the Senate. They should volunteer to cut their own favorite. I don't mean the easy favorites. Stop the payout deep into the sould of the budget.

    April 13, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. ssr047

    social security as of right now accounts for $0 in the budget – it's an off-budget item paid through the existing trsut fund.

    April 13, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  23. Charles

    Cut the entourage of Michelle, and any other big travel expenses, by any who travel. Especially the uses of government air, sea and land vehicles.

    April 13, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. Grant

    This is the president I proudly voted for, this speech is brilliant. You cannot balance the budget on the backs of seniors or the middle class while giving tax breaks to millionaires. Fairness is mandatory.

    April 13, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. Snow

    You can always tell when obama is lying because his lips are moving.

    April 13, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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