Live blog of the president's address
April 13th, 2011
01:10 PM ET
3 years ago

Live blog of the president's address

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama entered politically tricky territory Wednesday when he outlined his plan for reducing long-term deficits and the national debt amid a climate of tense budget negotiations in a speech at The George Washington University. Follow the latest developments with below with the Ticker's live blog. Read the full story here.

3:40 p.m. ET - @BarackObama: There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending $1 trillion on tax cuts for millionaires & billionaires.

3:21 p.m. ET - House Speaker John Boehner responded to the president's speech with a statement Wednesday: "Republicans, led by Chairman Ryan, have set the bar with a jobs budget that puts us on a path to paying down the debt and preserves Medicare and Medicaid for the future. This afternoon, I didn’t hear a plan to match it from the President," Boehner said. “He is asking Congress to raise the debt limit to continue paying Washington’s bills. The American people will not stand for that unless it is accompanied by serious action to reduce our deficit. More promises, hollow targets, and Washington commissions simply won’t get the job done."

2:39 p.m. ET - According to a pool report, Republican congressmen Dave Camp, R-Michigan, Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, left G.W. together at same time, asking a policewoman outside for directions to 21st Street.

2:37 p.m. ET
– Obama referenced former President Lincoln once, former President George H.W. Bush twice, former President Clinton once, and former President Reagan twice. He did not utter President George W. Bush’s name one time.

2:35 p.m. ET @LisaDCNN: OBAMA DROPS "RADICAL": A CNN editor noted Obama took out "radical" when describing "the sort of steps" in GOP plan. (35 min into speech)

2:32 p.m. ET - Obama referenced a letter he received from a man from Florida who didn’t vote for him. He said the man told him he still believes the American dream is alive despite the intensity of the debate today. Obama said the man told him the country must use its dollars to rebuild and refurbish the country our ancestors left for us.

2:30 p.m. ET
– Obama said the current debate is about the size and role of government. He added that “it's not a bad thing” that debate has gotten more vigorous, but that America has always believed we can’t just think about ourselves but must think about our country and fellow citizens and what is required to pursue American dream for future generations.

2:29 p.m. ET - Obama called on Vice President Joe Biden to begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties of Congress to come to an agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit by the end of June. He said while he doesn’t think the final agreement will look exactly like the approach he pitched today, he is “eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum.”

2:28 p.m. ET - Obama said the country has come together before to meet big challenges, citing former President Ronald Reagan and former Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill who came together to work on Social Security. He also referenced former President Bill Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush’s work with opposing parties in Congress. Still no specific mention in speech of former President George W. Bush.

2:26 p.m. ET
- Obama's message to those who think we shouldn't make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security: Then “we wont be able to keep our commitment” to the next generations of retirees, Obama said. And his pitch to progressives in his own party: “We have the obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments.” He said we must make government “smarter, leaner, and more effective.”

2:23 p.m. ET - Obama said there will be those who disagree with his call to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans. As he did in the 2008 campaign, he cited his friend billionaire Warren Buffett, who Obama said, “doesn’t need another tax cut.” He added that he believes “most wealthy Americans would agree with me.” He said they want to give back, but “Washington hasn’t asked them to.”

2:20 p.m. ET - Obama said step four of his plan is to reduce spending in the tax code. He said he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts because it was the only way he “could prevent a tax hike for middle class Americans.” Today he said we can’t afford it. “I refuse to renew them again.”

2:19 p.m. ET
- Obama said he will preserve Medicare “as a promise we make” to each other in this society. He said Social Security faces challenges but is not the cause of the deficit, saying we must reform the program without affecting present retirees or "slashing benefits” for future generations.

2:17 p.m. ET - Obama said the third step of the plan is to further reduce health care spending in budget. He said the “difference could not be clearer” between his plan and the Republican plan. Obama said health care reforms already passed from his health care legislation would reduce $1 trillion from the deficit. He said we will change the way we pay for health care with new incentives for doctors and hospitals.


2:16 p.m. ET
– Obama said his second step is to find additional savings in the defense budget, and cited comments from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs who said, “the greatest long-term threat to America’s national security is America’s debt.” Obama pledged to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities and role in a changing world.

2:13 p.m. ET - Twenty-five minutes into his speech, Obama addressed his proposal for “a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over twelve years.” He said the first step is to keep domestic spending low. “We will make tough cuts” necessary to make these savings, he said, adding that he will invest in new roads, education, job training and clean energy.

2:11 p.m. ET - In the last decade, Obama said the bottom 90 percent of Americans saw a decline while the top Americans saw an increase. Using himself as an example, he said it was not right for him to get a tax increase on the backs of 33 seniors each having to pay more for health costs to finance a tax cut for the wealthy.

2:10 p.m. ET – Obama said Medicare plans floated by the GOP mean Americans would pay $6,400 more if you need healthcare, ending "Medicare as we know it,” Obama said. He claimed 50 million Americans will be without health insurance if the Republican plan goes forward. These Americans, he said, will be left to “fend for themselves.”

2:09 p.m. ET – Obama cited China, South Korea, and Brazil as examples of nations that are investing in the future and said the United States is not.

“We are presented with a vision that says the United States of America – the greatest nation on Earth – can’t afford any of this,“ Obama said.

2:07 p.m. ET
@RepWeiner: why im not president. my version : "the gop plan is a disaster and ill chew my arm off before i sign it"

2:07 p.m. ET - 2012 reference: Obama noted one vision championed by Republicans and “embraced” by several Republican presidential candidates aims to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and addresses challenges of Medicare and Medicaid.

“Those are both worthy goals for us to achieve," Obama said. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history. “

2:05 p.m. ET - Obama said truth is that two thirds of the budget is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense. He said clean energy, education, the environment and other programs only account for 12 percent of the budget. Any serious plan will require America to put everything on the table and take on excessive spending, he said.


2:03 p.m. ET
- Obama said the good news is that a debt laden country doesn’t have to be our future. He said we can come together, but we need to be honest about the causes of the debt. Obama added that not all government spending is bad.

“Most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but they like the stuff that it buys,” he said.

2:02 p.m. ET - Obama claimed by 2025, the amount of taxes we take in will only be enough to pay for health care, Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt. “That’s it. Every other national priority – education, transportation, even national security – will have to be paid for with borrowed money.”

2:00 p.m. ET - Obama joked Biden is not young, like some of the G.W. students in the crowd.

1:59 p.m. ET - While Obama didn’t name former President George W. Bush by name, he managed to sneak in a reference, saying by the time he took office, the projected deficit was more than $1 trillion.

1:58 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: OBAMA PLAN – Social Security: From WH factsheet: “The president does not believe Social Security is in crisis…” Punt.

1:58 p.m ET @LisaDCNN: *OBAMA PLAN – Bush Tax Cuts: As he has said in the past, Pres. Obama wants to end the Bush tax cuts for incomes >$250K.

1:58 p.m. ET - Obama said America lost its way after the fiscal discipline of the 1990’s. He said we didn’t pay for new spending of two wars and tax cuts that forced us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over next decade.

1:57 p.m. ET - Obama referenced former President George H.W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton by name, but not former President George W. Bush. “To meet this challenge, our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit. They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush and President Clinton; by Democratic Congresses and a Republican Congress….. As a result of these bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000.”

1:57 p.m. ET - @RepWeiner: Somewhere Joe Wilson is yelling "You Lie!" over and over at his TV. President is doing great setting the debate.

1:55 p.m. ET - White House pool reported that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Rep. Jeb Hensarling or Texas are seated in the front row next to Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

1:55 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: OBAMA PLAN – Medicaid: Listen up, states. Pres.Obama would dump the many Medicaid match formulas now and give states one funding rate.

1:54 p.m. ET
- Obama said we recognize that hard times, illness or lost job may strike – “There but for the grace of God go I,” he said, before adding that Medicare and Social Security make the country better.

1:52 p.m. ET - Obama said that "this debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page, more than just cutting and spending. It's about the kind of future we want. It's about the kind of country we believe in."

1:49 p.m. ET - Obama started his serious speech with a joke: “It’s great to be back at G.W. I want you to know that one of the reasons I kept the government open was so I could be here today with all of you. I wanted to make sure you had one more excuse to skip class. You’re welcome.”

1:49 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: WHILE WE WAIT: I'm going thru embargoed text of the speech. I see first mention of Obama's proposal more than 1/2way through. #p2 #tcot

1:44 p.m. ET – Obama's motorcade arrived at G.W.

1:42 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: @SpeakerBoehner suggested to reporters potus said he's open to debt ceiling vote that's not "clean" (w/ conditions) – as repubs want

1:36 p.m. ET @RepWeiner: Health care for the poor gets paid for one of 2 ways : efficiently or inefficiently. Slashing Medicaid only moves the cost.

1:23 p.m. ET
- @LisaDCNN: OBAMA DEFICIT speech: We expect it to be about 40-45 minutes. So pop the popcorn, pour the glass, now.

1:21 p.m. ET @franksesno RT @edhenrycnn: At obama speech. Simpson/Bowles here. Word is Prez will take "big bite" of commish recs tho will "lean left" a bit. Stay tuned.

1:21 p.m. ET @edhenrycnn: President will lay out plan w/ $4 trillion in deficit reduction in 12 yrs or less - speech coming at 130pm ET #devilindetails

1:19 p.m. ET - @RepWeiner: Lets review the bidding : Democrats proposed and created Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. #GOPstillHatesEach

1:15 p.m. ET - @DanLothianCNN: Obama to set a goal of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years or less, according to a snr admn.official.

1:14 p.m. ET– Among those expected to attend the speech Wednesday according to a pool report: Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jacob Lew, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Chair of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling.

1:12 p.m. ET - @wolfblitzercnn: Obama wants to cut $4 trillion over 12 years; GOP wants $6 trillion over 10 years. Watch Obama speech 1:30PM ET #CNN

1:04 p.m. ET - Obama will set a goal of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years or less in his speech Wednesday, according to a senior administration official, CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian reported.

1:00 p.m. ET @RepWeiner: I'm gonna livetweet during the President's budget remarks at 1:30 #OtherOptionIsTalkingBackToMyTV

12:53 p.m. ET @ChuckSchumer: @SpeakerBoehner should heed advice from business leaders, stop playing politics with debt ceiling. It’s playing with fire

12:32 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: I would like to thank the GOP for responding to the president's speech over an hour before he gives it.

12:23 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: NOW BOEHNER throws gauntlet: "Raising taxes will not be a part of it"... of dealing with the deficit. #p2 #teaparty #tcot

12:20 p.m. ET - @LisaDCNN: DEFICIT SHOWDOWN heats up: McConnell just drew a hard line, said "We will not be discussing raising taxes." Read: Bush tax cuts. #tcot #p2

11:58 a.m. ET - @SpeakerBoehner: By the #s: learn more about the largest spending cut since WWII http://j.mp/fdcfUK #jobs

11:57 a.m. ET - @RepWeiner: Looking at embargoed fact sheet on Potus plan. Not allowed to tell you about it yet. #ButMyHashtagLikesWhatHeSees

11:00 a.m. ET - President Barack Obama will call Wednesday for an end to the Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 annually, according to a senior administration official, CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian reported.

9:42 a.m. ET - On the Senate floor Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said: "The truth is the president is only entering this debate at all because he can no longer ignore the growing bipartisan calls for action. If he were serious he'd be talking about a detailed road map for action not just grabbing headlines by announcing another speech,. Of course we can hope that the president presents more than just his vision for the future this afternoon."


Filed under: Budget • President Obama
soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. Cris Gates

    Fox News station receives its power through a generator fueled soely by burning intercepted letters written by wish-filled children during the holiday season addressed to the north pole

    # Not intended to be a factual statement

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. jay shackelford

    How sad it has become that our country is controlled by primarily two parties that are more dysfunctional than most would believe humanly possible. Our elected elite vanish like a big buck during hunting season when it comes to taking responsibility or being accountable for their actions, while at the same time are the first to jump in front of the camera to point fingers and shift any blame to the other party.
    The Democrat needs to realize that we can not continue to spend out of control on social programs and expect the wealthy and corporations to pay for it.
    The Republican needs to realize that we can not kill every worth while domestic program and pass the savings onto the wealthy and corporations.
    The elected elite need to stop the 400 billion in wasted tax dollars they pass out each year, and I would add that not one dime of that waste was paid to legitimate Social Security or legitimate Medicare claims. The 535 elite may need to spend less than three quarters of a billion dollars on their office remodel, or instead of spending the projected 182 million on their two conventions, spend only 96 million on both. They need to realize that they can not hand 19 million out in raises to their staffs while telling the American People to cut back and bite the bullet. Helping our foreign neighbors is important but not at the expense of bankrupting our own economy, they need to realize we can not control the world by attempting to pay it off.
    It will not be until the parties forget about their party lines and start working together for the good of all America that we will have any chance of fixing things.
    History shows a house divided against its self will fall. Nikita Khrushchev said on the White House Lawn, "The United States as a democracy will fall from within without a shot being fired." Several financial magazine have put the question, "Will Americans live like the third world countries?" Folks if our politicians do not get their heads out of their four point contact and start working together instead of fighting like children over the biggest part of the candy bar we will for sure find out.
    Just My Opinion

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Internationalist

    The President's speech was a good start. I am glad he responded forcefully to the Ryan proposal, but I wish he would get more specific, he should propose major tax reform, lowering rates and eliminating virtually all deductions (the only one I would keep is the charitable deduction), for everyone, including corporations. (I would also suggest a national VAT, but I don't think politicians understand that), he should suggest eliminating all subsidies, for corporations, agricultural. This is a great time to simplify government as much as possible.

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Anna

    Great speech! My favorite line: "Everyone criticizes government spending, yet everyone likes what it buys!". The government HAS to spend money, we need to be honest about it and start cutting the spending and adding to the budget (with the end of tax break for the billionaires and tax code reform) responsibly.

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Mike

    Obama definitly knows what he is doing. Damn republicans just need to step back and let him make America the country it is meant to be! Tax increases on the wealthiest two percent of the population should not be an issue.

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Bob

    Good job, Barack. Let's see if we can agree to accomplish some of this stuff. And I didn't even vote for you.

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. James woods

    Don't rob the middle class, $ 200,000.00 is not the rich. Lower the Corp. Tax so we can get back trillion's of tax dollars back that is going to other countries. Stop throwing away money on pre- trial release it's a losing project, that's about 1.6 billion dollars really stupid.

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Jared

    Hogwash. Slight-of-hand hogwash.

    April 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Phanku

    I love how people can simply rationalize money over a persons life up until when it is their life.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. No Tea For Me

    I agree with our President. We must take care of our elderly with Medicare and Social Security. Republicans want to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly and poor. This is just not acceptable Republicans we don't do this to those that can't take care of themselves. Republicans you want to lead our Country down the wrong path, shame on all of you. You are willing to throw the elderly under the bus. Republicans remember the elderly vote too and we will vote you out in 2012. Republicans you made a mistake when you held a hearing on the AARP because we endorsed the Health Care Bill.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Beverly Sparkman

    I was so happy to hear President Obama's speech today!! I know it won't please everyone but when he said leaving seniors without Medicare I was so relieved.His whole approach was what I wanted to hear.I hope he can stand up to all the tactics they will come up with.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Donnie H. Bay St. Louis Ms.

    The Gop and Fox News has already started demonizing the President's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy. They still want to perpetrate the lie that it is the wealthy that creates jobs. In fact it is the strong middle class consumer, which makes up 98% of this country, that dictates expansion and job growth. Without that strong middle class buying goods and services no one is going to hire or expand and just hope that their will be a demand for what they are selling.
    The Gop want to "give" the wealthy a golden bucket and then ask the middle class and elderly to bail out the country for them with a rusty spoon that they will "sell" them... Give me a break...

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. horn

    excellent speech by obama, he seems very honest !!!

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Kelly

    I thought the presidents speech was done very well. I agree the fact that he believes that the rich need to help at this time and that we should not sacrafice Medicare, Medicaid, or SS. He is right when he says that we need to not only look out for ourselves but for each other also.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. sally

    I was very inspired by the president's speech. My husband and I are in that $ 250,000 bracket and are very willing to pay higher taxes as long as others earning more are not using all kinds of loop holes to pay less in taxes.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Ingrid

    Mr. President, YES YOU CAN!!!!! Finally addressing the super rich in this country to contribute!!!!

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. James

    Seriously, I know that there are lots of differences on both sides of the isle, but as the president isn't it about time that we actually get some clerity that is actually concise and detailed.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. fayse

    I forgot to add, for those that are saying that the retirement age needs to be increased please note, If you were born after 1950, your age of retirement is NOT 65, it is now more like 67 and that age will increase with your date of birth.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Chris Ehemann

    Bravo! A vision for the future of ALL Americans, not just the wealthy, big business, and all of their lobbyists. Thank you!

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Bob in PA

    China, he uses China as an example ?
    China propels itself as a nation at the cost of harming it's own people and the environment. It's vision of the future builds coal fired electrical plant like there is no tommorow.
    Then Korea who has thousands of US troops stationed there paid for by us to gtd their security.
    What great examples Mr. soon to be ex-President. Get this man out of office!

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. K.T.

    Yeah, Obama! The idea that anyone like P. Ryan and Michele B. are actually receiving any support at all for trying to gut the programs that allow seniors continued access to dignified health care; and, via Planned Parenthood, allow women access to pap smears, pregnancy, and STD testing is scary, scary, scary. The majority of Republicans are socially conservative but do not believe that milliionaires and billionaires deserve continued tax breaks. The rich are paying the lowest percentage of their income in taxes in several decades - why? The period of greatest income equality in this country was after WWII - when vets were being educated via the GI bill and the richest were paying the most. You threw down the gauntlet, Obama, and I love you for it! I voted for you and I'm going to do everything I can to reelect every Democrat and throw the cruel, out-of-touch Republicans (the party of "No," the party that supports vast income disparity) out on their ear. People like Sarah P, Paul R., Michele B. do not even deserve the time of day - they are way out of touch. Hey, Michelle - if you don't want an abortion, don't get one. Leave the rest of us alone! Abortion is legal in this country - hello??!!

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. Janet Stead

    The President has it right. We, as a nation, need to be more compassionate, and less greedy. Those who have the most should be willing to give more, not take more. All of us need to share in remedying the problem of the deficit, but the sharing has to be based on what we individually have. Patriotism requires that we desire to do our best for our country. I voted for Barack Obama, and when I hear him speak I feel good about that fact!

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I like obama he'stryin to clean-up thismess

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. Ned

    The President should ask for a Fair & Equitable FLAT TAX so everyone pays thier fair share of taxes to begin with. After that the Congress should work on cutting waste and cutting down on useless programs. After that they could reduce our Military budget by (NOT BEING THE WORLDS POLICE DEPT.) In the beginning taxes were collected to pay for the infrastructure in the USA and services we needed to maintain our country. We pay our taxes to benefit us, not everyone in all the foreign countries.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Lotus

    I just listened to President Obama's address and, as usual, he did not disappoint. He is 'right on' when it comes to raising taxes on the wealthy as a way to reduce the deficit. The Republicans have long said that keeping the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy would produce a 'trickle-down' effect to help the economy and lower unemployment rates... well... I have yet to feel any positive effects 'trickling on down'... In my opinion, Republicans may be the key to why unemployment rates continue to be high... there is no way Republicans are going to do anything to improve this economy as long as a Democrat is president... for that would surely be detrimental to their self-interests. Raise those taxes, President Obama! It is simply shocking to me that those who can most afford it, get the breaks. I am impressed and in complete agreeance with President Obama, and without a doubt, I can see that he is working for the interests of the people!

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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