Live blog of the president's address
April 13th, 2011
01:10 PM ET
4 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. Padraig

    We go in debt 1.5 trillion a year. The president proposes saving 4 trillion over 12 years. Let's do the math. In 12 years at our current rate we will add 18 trillion more onto our debt. It doesn't add up, how does this help the people of this country? We will be even worse off.

    April 13, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. PDXSerric

    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.

    GOOD! If for any reason, the CBO had stated in its report (the same report that was used by Paul Ryan) that we need to allow to expire certain policies or risk a continuing increase in overall deficit. “Those expiring policies include the major reductions in individual income taxes originally enacted in 2001 and 2003 and recently extended through 2012, as well as the higher exemption amounts for the alternative minimum tax. If those policies and others were extended, budget deficits would be much larger than in that baseline.” i.e. the Bush-Era cuts.

    Interesting that Ryan failed to mention that little tidbit.

    It's not "raising taxes" on the rich as the GOP are demanding. It's allowing a TEMPORARY CUT to expire, allowing the rates to go back to theri normal levels. It's like getting the 19.95 6 month rate for cable, only to complain when they have to pay the same as everyone else after those 6 months expire.

    April 13, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Marry

    Congratulation Mr. President!!! Thank you for all these great ideas and I could not agree more! I do hope a majority of Americans will support you and make all of this come true! It is so important to make all parts of society contribute! That is the change we wanted the President to work on! I already know the part of America that does not agree to pay their part. They rather spent their money to influence the lawmakers not to have to pay. They should just appreciate that they have the framework to make a lot of money and through their fair share be really patriotic and support the country. Sadly, patriotic means to them: Money into MY pocket – let others fend for themselves! The GOP/TP will jump up with their “NO” and “HELL NO!” They just do not want all Americans to succeed they only want 2% – 5%, namely their buddies to succeed! I hope YOU check the President plans out and how it will positively affect YOU and remember that when YOU go to vote…..

    April 13, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Lisa schaefer

    If I wanted a sermon I would of gone to church. I was looking for specifics. All this does is set up another set of meetings to examine our debt. It's a shell game to get debt limit lifted. I was hoping for a lot more.

    April 13, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. James

    Dumb–Lets cut all the retired peoples Medicare benefits, raise their rates, no cost of living increase for the those on Social Security because the cost of living has not increased (that's a damn lie) and raise taxes. Now that makes a lot of sense. My cost of gas is about $4.00 a gallon and my groceries have almost doubled in price. The least the President and his idiot advisers could do is give me a Bicycle so I could peddle to the grocery store instead of walk. They don't have a clue as to how people are struggling, nor do they care.

    April 13, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. franklin

    Obama said some great things. He won't compromise with Medicare. How long before he caves?

    April 13, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. the real ib

    Of course Obama makes a good speech; that is all he is a speech giver to bad he's not as good as a president as he is at making speeches. He gives the typical liberal rant; raise taxes on the so called rich. People who have worked their butts off to get something only to have the democrats and liberals take it away and give it to the lazy and illegal ones that are to sorry to work for anything. Give me; give me; tax and spend that should be the motto of liberals and democrats since that is what they constantly want.

    April 13, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. Matraca Ewy

    I wish all of the main political players realized how much money they were making, like Obama pointed out. He said flat out that he doesn't need anymore money, now we need the rest of Congress to realize this so maybe they'll cut their paychecks instead of trying to take money away from the elderly!!

    April 13, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Joe Kaplin

    Brilliant speech by a brilliant man! Our country is fortunate to have him.

    April 13, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Smith on Politics

    THIS is the President that I've been waiting to see. Seize the reigns and battle the opposition. At the end of the day, the President has the upper hand. He crystallized the cynical nature of the GOP budget and how it would "end America as we know it." This was a bold, risky speech that could pay dividends in 2012, if his political operation plays the cards right. Alternatively, it could kill his re-election hopes.

    April 13, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Paul

    Cut 4 trillion over 12 years of deficit...not even debt!!! americans spend about 2 trillion a year which is rapidly increasing, what good is that going to do? they'll be 25 trillion deeper by they time they cut 4 ...its insane this paper money scam they got going on.

    April 13, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Jennifer

    More taxes for the rich, it makes sense to me! And I sure hope President Obama can pull it off!

    April 13, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Q

    Very glad to hear him say that he will not allow ridiculous cuts to the under-privileged in our country. The Bush-era tax cuts that he temporarily extended for two years need to go and he knows it. I'll vote for him again.

    April 13, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    President Obama's speech today was straightforward, sensible, optimistic and DEFINING!! Spoken like a true leader...

    April 13, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. phil

    Very mature speech. USA is not just about making money but helping each other. If rich people can pay more. why not. stop to the american grees

    April 13, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Jolyn Clark

    It's about time! Although, I rather doubt that more taxes for the rich is 1) going to happen and 2) going to be the help we need to fix the budget – even including cuts in other spendature.

    April 13, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. diridi

    way to go....you have my vote....good speech, just implement....

    April 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Anita

    I am still wondering why no one is discussing the issue that the politicians and wealthy get their full social security while pulling a full paycheck. The American citizens are limited to what they can make when they get their social security. It may not be much, but it will help someone who really needs it. Can someone really put the math to this, bring it up so that it can be discussed and ask the white house, congress and senate why this is allowed.

    April 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. William Warren

    President Obama has finnaly started the process of reforming america, he took the initiative and said what needed to be said regardless of the political guilotine he will now have to face, if he stays true to his word we may now see the old America comming back.

    April 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Jeff

    I wonder if CNN will ever stop talking about the partisan drama and focus a little more on how this fiscal policy will affect Americans. I only want to know how these varied fiscal policies will affect Americans.....that would be REAL news.

    April 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. C. Mead

    Just how much money has the government borrowed from S.S., and now they want to reduce benefits. Fishy to me how about you?

    April 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Jessica

    I know who I'm voting for in 2012!! :)

    April 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Anthony Page

    The President sounded refreshingly like a real Democrat. The proof's going to be in action though, not words.

    April 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Boonedoggle

    What a relief. I was concerned that Obama would announce some cost reductions in the $511 million expansion of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afganistan. I suppose the construction laborers who earn 80 cents per hour will remain employed, but more importantly all necessary bribes will be paid, and the people who make the gold plated bathroom fixtures are safe, at least for the time being.

    April 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. Maine

    Without raising taxes there can be no budget- those making 325k a year should pay with a progressive tax... rate starting at the Clinton tax rate of 36.5% up to 50% like it was in the 20s- 70s....the rest of us should pay a even amount from 1-300k...no business should be considered a individual an if so they should be on the upper scale of the tax bracket an not be allow to itemize anything but Health Insurance.

    April 13, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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