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. JimmyT San Diego

    Thought it was a great speech. You can't continue to talk about reducing the deficit with just spending cuts or there won't be any growth. Taxes have to be raised on those that have benefited for a LONG time.

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. John Amamoo

    The President's budget proposal makes more sense than Rep. Ryan's magic numbers.

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. fayse

    I think that the President did an outstanding job with his proposal and I also believe that the majority of Americans believe that everything must be put on the table. Reform the tax codes, evaluate the DOD and the other entitlements but, do not destroy them.

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Karen

    President Obama made a remarkable speech that incompasses everyone pulling together to embrass fixing the deficeit!!!
    Holding true to the entire country's responsiblitity (including the WEALTHY) to share the burden. The Republican plan is to only ask the poor & middleclass to carry the burden and our country will not grow or be recognizable if the Teaparty dismantle SS or medicare or medicaid. I am proud of President Obama's plan and I think the majority of the people will get behind the President's plan!!!!!!!

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. road49runner

    President Obama is trying to solve our problems by being reasonable. I'd like the Congressional Republicans to eliminate their government healthcare, government pensions, & lower their salaries. We're tired of paying for ours & theirs, too!

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Sam

    It is very clear that the only way to work toward fiscal responsibility is to both cut spending and raise taxes. The Dems don't want to make the necessaary spending cuts and the Republicans won't talk about raising taxes. We need responsible representatives to step up and make the hard decision necessary to bring our fiscal house in order. How about term limits for Congress just like the President? Three 4 year terms for Representatives and two six year terms for Senators would be a start. If you can't get the job done in 12 years, get out of the way. But the bottom line is that we can't wait that long, so I hope the President starts to lead and our congressmen make the hard decisions to address entitlements and defense since that's the only way to cut spending in a serious manner. A skeptical white 67 year old male.

    April 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. NameSally Burns

    You reported the President wanted to raise taxes on people making 250,000. He actually referred to millionaires and billionaires. Then there's your claied knowledge about his base amd their views. As a proud member of his base, I'm totally in favor of every thing the President said. He's the only grownup in Washington.

    April 13, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Jerry Simpson

    Another excellent address from our nation's leader, I believe that the people spoke and said that we want his man to lead the nation with is visions and cognitive constructive conclusions....we need to allow that to happen, playing politics and the bickering only shows the absence of seriousness and objective approaches from some of our electives. Pres. Obama's speech today was clear and made sense in every way from a moral, practical, and creative progressive aspect. We need to search our conscousness and ask why is it that we have fallen of challenging any president who has, by the majority of America, been chosen to drive this mechanism we call America in a direction that his intellect dictates is best for us all.

    April 13, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. Heath Spencer

    This was one of the best speeches of his tenure in office. He hit on the major issues that I have wanted to be in the budget discussion in regard to the military budget and taxes on the wealthiest two percent. Paul Ryan, President Obama made your budget proposal look like an amateur.

    April 13, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. kathmas

    It is so gut wrenching to hear all this talk from Obama on raising taxes on the wealthy. Is that seriously the only solution to paying for our government's improper budgeting?!? What kind of motivation is that supposed to give the young adults of today- knowing that if I work my butt off at achieving a good education in order to profit from a career, that a good chunk of my hard earned money is going to the government??? My father went from growing up with nothing to graduating from University of Southern California and Penn University on scholarships. He has a private dental practice and makes above the income bracket of 250,000 a year, placing him amongst the 'wealthy'. And now he's getting taxed more?? He has a full staff of employees, four daughters to put through college, and would like to retire soon. What kind of message is that sending the young generation of today? To me it says that keeping mediocre job and income would be much easier than working extremely hard only to pay for mistakes made by politicians 10 years ago. What happened to the American dream and encouraging people to strive for more?

    April 13, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. Dr. Thaxter

    Nothing was said during your speech. It was a political kick off and nothing more. Barrack dont talk to me about being a patriot. You have never worked a day in your life. You never spent a day in the Military fighting for my Country. You have no idea how to run a business let alone this Country. You have increased the debt by trillions so stop blaming Bush. You take advantage of the privilege of the Presidency constantly. We are not suppose to support your family in all you do. If you go to the kids at Universities, it is for votes not reality. Sometimes I wonder what is your reality. Not the same as mine, I am one of those independents you will never have as a supporter, the Constitution was written by my family, read it & learn about this great Nation.. Dr. T.

    April 13, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Fahizah Alim

    President Obama is a bright and moral man. He is an excellent strategist who is trying to lead a largely uneducated, reactionary electorate who have proven that they will vote against their own interests, if the Republicans use certain buzz words and stoke irrational fears. How can a majority of the Republican party continue to support a Republican agenda that keeps giving more money and tax breaks to billionaires while cutting the services, health care, education and government programs that they need to improve their lives. Tax breaks to billionaires and corporations are still government programs!

    April 13, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Ben

    I am still skeptical on Obama's tax cut plans. He provided no details on his plans, but I liked his approach to get it done in a few months. But in the meantime, do something about the sky rocket gas prices.....maybe Obama should taxes 1 trillion from each of the petroleum companies.

    April 13, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Tony

    At least someone calls it like it is. I have to give Obama props for targeting not only the rich-biased tax codes, but also entitlement programs, and oh no, did he say......defense. Obama you have some cajones and I salute you for that. Maybe one day our country will have some balance again.

    April 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Delores Williams, Apple Valley, CA

    correction: Why are the repulicans NOT 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 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. sadie

    when has this government ever taxed it's way out of a recession? the answer is NEVER!

    April 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Sydney

    President Obama laid out an Excellent vision and plan for getting American back on track! If we can't come together to get the done...we need to stop saying we are the Greatest Country in the World. A Country that can't or won't find ways to balance its debt...is not a Great Country!

    April 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Patrcia A. Clemente

    I was upset to hear that our Itemized Tax Deductions would be reduced – my husband and I managed to acquire two rental properties, which we still owe $300,000 each on and are struggling to hold onto, one of them is in a poor immigrant area of Los Angeles for which we must take deductions for the cost of managing those rentals – without the itemization on our taxes, we would be forced to sell our rental properties and the buyers would most likely be wealthy speculation developers who would force those families out of their homes. By the way, the children of those immigrants have worked hard in school and have a 4.0 every year and would be bound for college if there was any way they could afford to go.

    Also, I would like to know why we can't just apply a high tax penalty to all corporations that outsource jobs to foreign 3rd world countries for cheap labor so that we can not only get income tax from them but also give them incentive to bring those jobs back to the United States!

    April 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. Chris Ryckeley

    Great Leader! And to all the nay-sayers... you cant give explicit examples in a broad national speech intended to right the ship and get the GOP and Dems to work together to come up with a plan together. This is a American Rally Cry... do people really want to cut their children education even more.

    April 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Chuck in Jasper, Georgia

    It doesn't matter what the President says. It is as plain as the nose on anybody's face, no matter what he says the Republican party is going to oppose it. Reasoning has nothing to do with deficit or budgets. It all has to do with ensuring Obama fails so he will not be re-elected. The so called leaders in the Republican Party, Bonehead, and McDuffus have openly stated that is the number one priority of the Republican Party. They have never said the number one priority is the budget. Oppose at all costs, even to the people they are supposed to represent. The republican party is in a nutshell a self-serving organization only interested in itself and not this country or it's citizens.

    April 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Independent Trish

    Obama might be the biggest political hack I have ever heard. This guy came forward with his budget weeks ago, and now because Paul Ryan came out with a budget that actuallly works, obama comes out with a new budget? Are you kidding me? what happened to obama's original budget? This guy is all talk. He has no clue about the economy. He has never worked a real job. These long winded speeches are getting old. We are in 3 wars, tens of millions are unemployed, 14.2 trillion in debt, millions of illegals pouring over our border signing up for free entitlements, support for obamacare is at 35%Guantanamo Bay is still open, KSM trial not happening in NY, racial divisions are at an all time high, Obama has doubled the govt. workforce to 22 million, meanwhile he has reduced our manufacturing workforce to 10 million. This president is a failure. I'm glad we elected our first black president, but beyond that this guy has been a failure.

    April 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. james ferguson

    The President call for higher taxes on the super-rich. Good!! 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.

    April 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Barouta

    It's about time that Obama stood up in front of our nation and without much mincing of words laid it on the line. Equality has never been a goal in American politics. After all we're a capitalist country and we believe in getting ahead and being prosperous, but this believe has gone way too far and it needs to be adjusted some. Ending the temporary tax relieve for the top 1-2 percent of Americans is the right thing to do and I believe we should go further at leveling the field for all Americans to have opportunities to improve their life. Closing tax loop holes that have been designed to benefit the wealthy and big businesses is another step that's way overdue.

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. john vlasek

    I stand with my cmment

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. Christian Robledo

    Just heard the Obama Debt Speech- very broad, full of lots of promises but no specifics.....typical of any politician.

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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