Live blog of the president's address
April 13th, 2011
01:10 PM ET
3 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 http://j.mp/fdcfUK #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. Sharon

    Dear OBAMA & your special Group of BACKERS – Here's where your cuts should start – Salary of the US President...$400,000. Salary of retired US Presidents...$180,000. Salary of House/Senate...$174,000. Salary of Speaker of House...$223,500....Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders...$193,400..........Average US Salary...$33,000 to $77,000. HELLO! I think we found where the cuts should be made!

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. vic

    The president is a man of vision towards a better America in the 21st century. Clean home grown energy, highest level of education, affordable health care, a functioning high tech society, the GOP is a party of standing still, with the one minded goal to tax cuts and military spending

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. lori agapa

    i feel the president is agood manto put up with the bad heart condition of the R party. I know the poor will always be with us but why make them suffer more than they already are. The rich should pay more in tax they are not making jobs and making money they will never live to spend leaving it to ungrateful selfish kids like their parents.

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. zetuff

    when will people wake -up and see that obama has plan this bankrupt for U.S.A. from the beginning..hes doing this for the muslim world and his faih..he thinks in his head that alah will reward him if he can destroy america..thats the only way to kill america, no one can beat us at war..the only way to beat us is financialy..obama knows this.....

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Diane

    Excellent speech. President Obama established the parameters for budget discussions; now it's up to the politicians to deliver specifics within these parameters. This is the way a democracy should work. The parameters allow consideration for both the Republicans focus on money and the Democrats focus on people.

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Joanne Chuslo

    This president is the man I voted for and believed in. Now my faith is strengthened. He does know how to share the work. I just hope our congressmen with our encouragment are up to the challenge.

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. jparker

    I am energized by the address. He spelled out the vision, and I am ready to work to explain this approach to those who may feel abandoned. His approach is compassionate, and not just a profit ledger approach. Shared sacrifice must be above board as we tackle the tax code.l

    April 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Joe Bencharsky

    A very reasonable approach. The only way to balance any budget is to cut excessive spending AND increase income for fast results. The Bush tax cut plan is simply a new form of "Voodoo economics" which didn't work for Reagan, and have not worked now. Where are the jobs that were created since the first cuts? The tax structure worked under Clinton, dismantling it and giving away the surplus did not work under George W. and they continue to exacerbate a fiscal crisis.

    April 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Mark E

    I think we need to go to a flat tax with no deductions,and religious institutions should be taxed as well as I've see much waste a profit thrown at the church.

    April 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Mr. George F. Carrera

    BRAVO, I thought the speech was a good start, I like that he mentioned about the unfair tax cuts, to the top 1% that have to be paid by the poor, I also like the fact he talked about addressing the tax code – reforming the tax has been talked about for decades. yet no has done anything about it, there has to be a deadline for reforming the tax code.
    THANK YOU

    April 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Kalamazoo!

    Raise taxes for a few years pay off some of this debt! We are spoiled with our current tax rates, look at other countries that have similar standards of living, you will not find a low tax rate like us! If we want to live like this, unfortunately us Americans need to pitch in more, we want a lot but want to pay low taxes, this is a tough strategy. We want BMW quality paying KIA prices, it's hard to continue with that strategy and remain debt free.

    April 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. carrotroot

    My only concern is what will Medicare look like in the future? There has to be changes but the Democrats are vague on what they will change. However, I do not accept Paul Ryan's plan which would completely eliminate it in favor of a voucher plan. That is not acceptable either.

    April 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Ken Siculan

    Thank you Mr. Obama. It's about time.

    April 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Marc Grove

    The President missed an opportunity. He drew way to many lines in the sand, its time to put all the games aside get together, work together and do what it takes. Everything needs to be on the table.

    April 13, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. austinypc

    It is wrong to attribute the past greatness of innovative achevement of America on government spendings, rather than the effort of private citizens and business sectors. Besides , overemphasis on subsidizing clean energy by government can not solve the nation's future energy problem.

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. bri

    I'm a republican since 18 in 1973, and I completely agree with the president, we have to get the debt down, but not with
    tax cuts to the people who can most afford paying them , not with cuts to senor citizens who cannot!

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Diane Williams

    President Obama made a case for an America in which "individual freedom and obligations to one another are both prized" and spoke honestly about a path to achieve the American dream for all. He was honest about a Republican plan proposed by Paul Ryan: that plan will lead to "a fundamentally different America than we have known." Ryan's plan balances the budget on the backs of the poor who have no lobby fighting for them and by gutting programs in education, infrastructure repair, health care, retirement, scientific research, and clean energy. America cannot become a place where might makes right, where those in power work to accrue more power for themselves and their friends, a place where the rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer.
    Most of us are tired of business as usual in partisan Washington. Why can't legislators do their jobs and work for a stronger America for all? This is an opportunity.

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. Donnie H. Bay St. Louis Ms.

    For all those whining that there are no specifics you need to read up on how our government works. the President does not write the bills and specifics of the bills. That's the job of Congress. Once the bills are written and passed by Congress and the Senate then the President either signs them into law or veto's them. I know you right wingers despise him but if he did try and write the bill you would be screaming he's a Nazi Socialist who is overstepping his authority. The criticism is like the Tea Party. A joke...

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. vicky

    It's the point of view of a Democratic Country.

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Angie

    I thought the presidents speech was very good. The man I voted for is back!! I just hope he's serious about not cutting medicare, medicaid and social security. Also about making the rich millionairs pay their share of taxes! Stick to your guns, Obama!! Those republicans are mean and evil!

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Raj

    The President is right. He should remove tax cuts for 2% wealthy people in the country.

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Reasonable$

    The President is on target and has the right attitude for tackling this major crisis that we are facing. Looking out for the vulnerable and disadvantaged while carefully trimming the deficit is the way to go. Let's face it, it took a decade to get to here, it's going to take time to recover. Critics that accuse and complain without accepting a reasonable plan, which is what the president is proposing, is a unreasonable person and so disqualifies their opinion.

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Ingrid

    I don't understand why the super rich should have lower taxes in the first place. Are they better people than everybody else?
    What gives them the right to pay less? Lets treat rich people better than all others? I think it is DISCRIMINATION !!!!!
    Poor and middle class people are worth less than rich people. We are not equal, not the same.
    REALLY?

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. Peter

    I just finished watching the live stream of the President's budget address. Immediately upon it's completion I went over to FOX and jumped on their live feed, only to find that they had not elected to cover the address. Instead, there was a republican in the house blathering the usual talking points. Here we have the President calling for both parties to come to an amicable solution, presenting an outline of what and why's behind a series of sensible and more importantly realistic ideas for reducing our debt by 4 trillion over the next ten years. On the other side of the isle however, the political civil war wages as always. LIttle facts, more just a continuance of the endless accusations based on what if scenarios, bolstering end results while tactfully avoiding the methodology behind them – the cuts and cancellations they are proposing to get us there and lacing it all with a red waterfall of arrogance and disrespect I think most of us have identified as a huge part of the problem. So we have a president who's asking us to come together and an opposing party that's pushing itself further away.

    I find this really discouraging.

    I think it's fairly clear that the republicans only real agenda getting back into the executive branch as quickly as possible and they are using the budget as little more than a catalyst in which to do this.

    April 13, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Robert Browne

    I was pleased to hear that President is looking a tax cuts for the rich. Raise would be 3-6 %. We must control medical costs and can start by negotiating costs of medicines and devices. He must eliminate corporate tax loopholes the allow American Companies offshore their tax liabilities and job. We would have full employment if we dropped the H1-B visa requirement and used EVERIFY on every single worker.

    April 13, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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