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. NewMalthus

    Confronting the serious deficit and budget issues confronting the nation, Present Obama offers a vacuous campaign speech.

    April 13, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Dean

    Obama we need new tax laws. Tax rates of 10, 15, and 25% of gross income for everyone with no exemptions or tax credits for anyone. Also quit giving our money away to countries that hate us like N. Korea. No new mosques paid for by the U.S. No more schools built for Afghanistan. No government services for illegal aliens. Tax goods imported into the U.S. that are manufactured overseas by American companies. Tax companies who outsource jobs to foreign companies. No farm subsidies. Stop corporate tax breaks for development, exploration and so on. No more money to foreign countries so they can look for oil.
    Opec countries don't grow food, raise the price of our exports to them according to the price of oil.
    Drill our own oil for only consumption in the U.S.

    April 13, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Bob in PA

    Gee and what has Obama done – spends a couple trillion, sends the military on some African excursion.

    How about you give me back what I put into SS, I'll retire next year and someone else can have my job.

    April 13, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Nabil Faik

    I believe as a US Citizen, we should work hard for a quality of life not a quality for only wealty people. Why we politicize everything. We only have one life not two.

    April 13, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "he can no longer ignore the growing bipartisan calls for action"

    "We will not be discussing raising taxes."

    Get that? Beaker just told you that the GOP will be justifying partisan proopsals by referring to bipartisan calls for action. Them GOPers/Teatards sure do love themselves some cognitive dissonance: I'm guessng they brewed their tea with shrooms.

    April 13, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. ArizonaYankee

    The man is a total babbling liar, and just think, he is our President. Pretty damn scary if you ask me...

    April 13, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Moose

    This guy is an abject failure. Worst President in US history

    April 13, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR STANDING UP FOR THE PEOPLE WHO NEED AND ADMIRE YOUR STRENGTH. Finally, there is reason to have faith in the United States of America. So much mindless noise from the Republicans will not deter the good of this man and what he proposes to do DESPITE the ignorance highlighted in our so called "news" reports. So much time is wasted on people like Trump or Palin who speak from ignorance and greed, wasting our time with repetitive meaningless statements, NEVER directly addressing actions they propose but wasting airtime to hear themselves speak and seeing themselves on TV. Past behavior has always predicted future behavior. THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR STANDING UP TO THE WINDS OF IGNORANCE, GREED AND TOTAL DISREGARD FOR OTHERS SO PREVALENT IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY.

    April 13, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Mike McMahon

    Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, and NPR crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me either.

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

    "This is my vision for Amerika" least that's what my teleprompter says.

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

    I can cut the deficit by 400 quadrillion dollars over the short span of 9,000 years, don't be so short sighted!

    And it's Bush's fault anyway. No time for questions, I have a golf game to get to.

    April 13, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. GSMITH

    What an idiot of a President we have, that is all I have to say.

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

    Preisdent on Training Wheels. So let me get this assumed office and blame the debt situation we're in on Bush. OK, let's go with that for a moment. Then why wasn't that your #1 priority to fix when YOU took over office??? Instead you WASTED 20 months BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (aka NO transperency) ramming an unlawful health care monstrasety down the Amerikan's throats. The MAJORITY of Amerikans did not want Obamacare, but that's where you spent your collective resources for 20 months!!! LOL. Amerika spoke in Nov 2010, a slap-down if you will. Worst President in hostory.

    April 13, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Mark

    The Presidents plan doesn't go far enough. The Bush tax cuts should expire for everyone and new brackets should be created for millionaires and multi-millionaires. There were plenty of rich people in America when the tax rate was 70% in 1980. There still will be plenty of rich people if taxes go up 5% or so.

    April 13, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Dominick George

    Prez. Obama sounds very presidential and focused in this speech. He is seemingly achieving a delicate balance in his budget proposal.

    April 13, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. JeanVa

    Obama is really trying. Those republicans are heartless. Goodluck America.

    April 13, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. jellyfishdude

    i liked it. i like how there's a sensible option to the GOP's proposal. And it sounds American.

    April 13, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. steve

    does anyone really care what the liar and chief says anymore? guy might as well quit while he's behind..

    April 13, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. C. Mead

    Not one word of reducing the size of the government.

    April 13, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. AR

    We had a $230 billion surplus when President CLinton in 2000, only to be squandered by President Bush in tax cuts to the rich, and an illegal war in Iraq. We now have to pay for these mistakes, unfortunately.

    April 13, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Howard

    The people who worked hard to create the wealth, should be the ones who decide how to spend THEIR wealth. The non productive, free loading, welfare dependent foodstamp hoarding 2 year unemployment recipients, and illegal
    aliens have no right to demand 'sharing in the wealth'. Nor should the pandering politicians, like Obama, appeal to the sloth and greed of these people to get votes. If you want a piece of the wealth, get off your lazy butts and work for it, just like the people did who earned it. It's not their obligation to simply hand it over to you ... and, it's simply stealing, to pass laws that make them hand it over to you !!!

    April 13, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Wallster

    I thought the President did a great job of explaining how our Government has to legislate for the good of ALL Americans. He is an optimist who always takes the high road no matter it's height. He clearly understands that compromises have to be taken in negotiating with others. God Bless our President. I don't always like his message or policies but he adds the character and intelligence to the office that we so sorely have missed. Well done sir.

    April 13, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Good speech. I can find numerous faults, but the good far outweighed the bad. The worst part of it all is that it was just words. The American people want action, not rhetoric, posturing and more talk.

    April 13, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. C. Mead

    From H.O.A. dues, to city,state,fed. taxes JUST how much government do we need?

    April 13, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. 2Cents

    While we are busying in cutting, budgeting, and spending. China is buying, selling, and growing businesses world wide taking jobs and hurting American money. ONE idea can change American economny over night like with ONE idea gave WalMart millions.

    April 13, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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