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. Mr. Holland

    Great speech on the budget! However i'm more concerned about the future of the US dollar, if its dropped as the reserve currency no tax increase will fix that!

    April 13, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Juan

    I applaud the President on his speech. Action is required now. As U. S. Citizens WE ALL SHARE RESPONSIBILITY on the financial burden if the U. S. As such, no breaks in tax for one group over another. No special treatment, no circumvention of taxation because you are wealthy. Enough is enough! Our budget is in trouble because of the irresponsible over spending, in regulated pushing parts of our country. Republicans want less or no taxes, well neither do I but any tax relief I get is a speck of dirt in comparison to the tax breaks obtained by the wealthy...you are no better than me so shut up, suck it up and pay your fair share.

    April 13, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Phil Cataldo

    The President all but called the Republican budget plan Pottersville. Good for him. The Republicans believe the lower classes in America are a drag on the economy and want to cut them off from any help other than that given to private charities. This twisted philosophy will create long term damage to the country. Further, there is already plenty of money to create jobs in America. Money is not the problem. It is that most of the corporations are investing in foreign countries because they can pay lower wages and not have to pay attention to labor and safety regulations.

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Jim O'Reilly

    The President needs to talk of the US more as a business (He seems to be heading that way, but he needs to push the analogy harder).
    As a business, we would look at our cost problems aggressively. For instance, one way to reduce medical costs is to take the most expensive illnesses, such as cancer and cardio disease, invest heavily in research to prevent and cure them, and consider the longer-term consequence that Americans will earn more due to a longer working life, and so contribute more to Social Security prior to retirement.
    Another are for improvement, rwsulting in fiscal and political gains, is the area of energy. Investing in the much safer thorium nuclear reactor concept, as China and India are doing, will free us from oil and coal usage, changing our balance of payments and political challenges due to oil and getting us much cleaner air in the case of coal. The thorium reactors do not suffer the risk of steam explosions or meltdowns, and do not generate the long-life isotopes that traditional reactors create. They are also much more fuel-efficient, and we have proven thorium reserves in the US for over 1000 years of power.

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Ted

    They need to do away with income tax alltogether. An added sales tax will make everyone pay their fair share, the rich will pay more because they have the money to buy more and the drug dealer, the undocumented, the mob, the theaf, if you buy something you pay, everyone will pay their share.

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. john vlasek

    Just a campaign speech few details standard Obama oratory lot of noise no substance

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Joe

    Why is America the only country in the world with a military budget, which is 6 times greater than any other country? Now, we know why 42 percent of our budget is in military spending. So why not defer a bulk of military spending to domestic issues and then we do not need to injure the poor and those who cannot take care of themselves. President Obama recognizes we have a problem, but we need to see he can save programs of a civilized society and lower our attempts to police the world.
    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. james ferguson

    Higher taxes for the super-rich! Hoo – Ray. The richest 1 per cent of the population holds 20 per cent of the wealth.
    It is high time they were required to contribute their fair share to the country's revenue!!

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Tony

    The President seems ready to seriously work on cutting some of the outrageous gov. spending & I hope the Legislature can work with him so that they can both do whats right for this country. It's time to stop the "spending is ok as long as it's my party doin it" attitude in Washington & seriously deal with it.

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Jim Mikula

    Overall the President's approach makes sense and yet I wonder if he will get it done. He is a great speech maker and I wish his ability to implement was as good has he is at giving speeches. That being said, he does have to deal with congress that likes to be to stubborn about their beliefs vs. doing the "people work." The lunatic fringe in each party have to much sway – where are the great negotiators and debaters that can disgaree and still find a solution?

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Jan in Phoenix

    The President is a man of heart. I support his proposal. However, I also feel everyone should be taxed across the board. I'm willing to pay more and do my share equally along with every other American regardless of class.

    April 13, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Connor H.

    I don't think the president could have done a better job explaining what was key to ensure a successful American future. Although he didn't express Paul Ryan's proposal cuts $6trill in 10 years, I think the President's proposal is more realistic and evenly distributes how to reduce the deficit. Finally discretionary spending is being challenged seriously! and as long as we can keep to the core fundamentals the President laid out, I strongly believe the Republicans can bring some positive ideas into this budget proposal. I was impressed with the presidents assurance and competence, and am optimistic of America's future.

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. ALBERT DORSEY

    I would like for CNN to address in time line, just what happened to the budget process that has caused this $14 Trillion debt. Beginning with the Surplus left by President Clinton when he turned the Country to President Bush in 2000.

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Brian Schaller

    Obama-HIT THEM HARD!!!! BIG TAX HIKES FOR THE RICH(how many really EARNED their $?). Don't back down!!!!

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Michael

    What makes Pres. Obama think that $250k puts someone among the "wealthiest Americans"? I make a little more than that, but I support an ex-wife who doesn't work and 2 kids in college. I certainly don't live like a "wealthiest American" and my bank account sure doesn't have the balance of a "wealthiest American." I appreciate hitting the milestone that, in Pres. Obama's eyes, makes me among the "wealthiest Americans." I just wish I had the money and the lifestyle to back it up.

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Heather L

    The President's speech very clearly and convincingly outlined what his core beliefs are on spending and what he will and will not compromise on in order to preserve America's values. I agree with his vision and I hope from the bottom on my heart his compass is rock solid and he can navigate thru the difficulties ahead by bringing the two parties together.

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Jim Gibbons

    I think the Republicans are learning the President and the Democrats have the support of the American people in reference to the complete rejection for deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.The Tea Party has allowed the President to negotiate the Republican Party into a corner. The stage and issues for 2012 were presented today.

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Paul Ryan needs directions to get from GW to 21st Street? And we are being asked to follow his lead? Gimme a break!

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Christine

    Just watched President Obama's speech- Senior citzens and the disabled are going through tough times and we now hear there's no cost of living increase in benefits in Social Security benefits next year- which has been the case since President Obama got into office. His excuse last year was the cost of living had not increased- I don't know where he shops or buys gas but it sure has increased where I live. We need HELP not more cuts!

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Mimi

    This is the first comments I have heard that are reasonable and appear to support SHARED sacrific not just cutting the poor and the needy to pay for gifts to the wealthy.

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Dennis R Kuhn Sr

    What about the 3.5% of the budget that goes for government pensions. Equality ? they SS and Medicare also. 401-K for 1 401-K for all

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Ron

    Follow on to my position: Obama played to the emotions of the elderly and others in his statements ... to impress us with the importance of his positions on spending and various entitlement plans.

    April 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Delores Williams, Apple Valley, CA

    I believe President Obama is right on point, and I am very happy to see him take such a strong position, although a long-time coming. America should not fold on it's core values and cut cost on education, infrastructure, saftey, programs for the eldery; poor; and disabled. This would be shamful. In terms of education; why are the republicans crying about the fact that the average prison cost is $45,000 per year/per prisoner in comparison to the average cost to educate a student approx $5,000/per student. Where are our values?

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. J.D.

    I hope the President means it when he says he will raise taxes. I'm middle class, I'm willing to pay more for the well being of the country. I see no reason the rich shouldn't pay more too. So what if they have to think twice about buying another Fendi purse or a sixth vacation home? When your income is such that you can buy a suit, dress, purse or watch that cost as much as a middle class worker makes in a year, then I'm not worried about higher taxes actually strapping you financially!

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. John in Dayton

    I believe that as Americans we must come to the realization and understanding the "profit" is NOT a dirty word but "greed" is a dirty word.

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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