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

Live blog of the president's address

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    President Obama spoke with clarity of thought and content he outlined our current situation in a way I've never heard articulated to clearly from other presidents. He addressed both parties very well

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

    While I agree with most of what President Obama proposed in the debt reduction plan, I am concerned on what happens to those in our income bracket [100,000 – 150,000]. My husband and I have to pay additional taxes every year when our tax returns are prepared. If not for the itemized deductions (charitable contributions and mortgage interest) we would pay even more. Somehow we have to find a way to balance our national budget and for the government to be a better example to all Americans in that area. We joke in our family that being in debt is the "American way" – isn't that sad? Like individuals and families across the country, the government should reduce debt, stop borrowing & adding to that debt. Stop aid to all the other countries or at least greatly limit it. Time to take care of our own and use our resources to move out of debt and build a strong financial country. I'd be willing to make the sacrifice, whether paying more taxes or taking other cuts, if it means that we stop borrowing from China and other countries; stop giving resources to other countries.

    April 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Paul O'Connell

    At last a historical perspective that identifies the causes and results of reckless cuts and expenses that have created this exploding debt we as a country face. The shame we face today for being a declining world power lies in the "rugged individualist" believing they deserve more of the common pie. Patriotism no longer is "America first!" but "me first." President Obama rightly asks, as Kennedy did, "...what can you do for your country?"

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Florence Hammelev

    Now I remember why I worked so hard to elect this man!!! I'm reengerized. I will continue to work for his agenda. It's about time we had some tax fairness. GE paid no taxes on Billions in profits.

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Terri

    I believe the president is right in saying that most wealthy Americans believe they do not pay enough tax and would gladly agree to a tax increase rather than see seniors have to pay over $6000 a year for access to health care, which would disqualify any seniors on social security alone. If I am wrong then I guess I am terribly mistaken about American's core values.

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Stephanie Ireland

    House Republicans will not find even one tiny thing to be positive about President Obama's speech. Michelle Bachman will be on her brrom in record time.

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Nana

    This President is the greatest leader since Lincoln.

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. stacy harris

    I think the President sounded more like the guy I voted for today but left room for a deal which is what we need. I think that many americans will resinate with what he said and agree with the fundamentals. I expect critics to express frustration that the devil is in the details, but I dont think each line item should be included in this speech and I share our Presidents vision and will do my part in 2012.

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Dan Wickemeyer

    Best speech I have heard from him in a long time. I hope he follows through with his promises. And stops compromises with the corporate funded republicans.

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. SDiener

    The speech was ok, we will have to wait and see how the olive branch offer works. However, I would rather hear from the entire congress and not just the republican talking heads.

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. tommy

    kudos to whomever wrote his speech, unfortunately that's probably as far as it will go.

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. LaDonna

    Finally! This is what I was waiting for - a rational, balanced, common sense approach to the looming financial crisis. I will pay more taxes under the President's plan, and no one wants to pay more taxes; but, I've said all along, I wouldn't mind kicking in a little more if it would truly help get us out of this mess. Fix our roads, make sure children and old people have health care and food, support the education and research that will build our future, cut tax loop-holes so that everyone pays a fair share. I just don't want to pay more, then have my money squandered away and still be in the same mess five years from now! Show me a plan that fixes this mess, and I will gladly pay a little more - just don't waste my hard earned money for nothing!!

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Raindeer

    I tip my hat sir, glad to have Mr. Change we can believe in back!

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. barry horner

    the president talked about defence cuts. I propose that we cut the F35 fighter program completely it is now not needed. the F15,F16, and F18 are good enough

    April 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Terry Kelley

    It's about time the military budget got put on the table, as well as tax rates for the rich. If you believe that tax cuts for the rich stimulate the economy, then you must have been asleep 2000-2008,

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Jean

    Let's give Geo Bush II, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, etc and all their Republican supporters a big round of applause for getting us in this mess – tax cuts- "just charge it" and 2 costly wars.

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Amir

    I think President Obamas speech was a piece of campaign magic. He managed to brilliantly take over the news scale, energize liberals by attacking the Ryan Plan, make a stand on the issue of deficit reduction, and leave the fragile union in the Senate a real chance to reform the system. I don't think Martha Stewart could do so much so fast.

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. Joy

    I support the President's plans to reduce the deficit. Raise the taxes, no cuts to medicare, the Republicans have it all wrong.

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. Mike

    It is about time that someone stood their ground and actually represented the masses in America. "We the People", the tired, the poor, the disenfrachised, who go to work every day to carve out a living and put food on our tables. We don't drive fancy cars or live in mansions. We just want a chance to make a living and have a decent roof over our heads. Something in America has got to change, there is just too much of a disparity between the wealthy and the poor. If someone does not do something, there will be a social revolution.

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. Montel

    If I were to grade the President, I'd give a solid B on ths speech. For some reason, I needed to hear more specifics, and for him to give more scenarios on possible cuts. I think that people want to know how they will be affected, even in the smallest ways. In general, can someone help me to understand how we will pay healthcare for all, and how does this compare and constrast to medicare and medicaid? Last, I think that cutting itemization for all Americans should be equal, and we should do more to put cuts on major corporations who do business in the US and abroad. I still very much like this President, but I am open to hear more opinions.

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Justin

    I would love to see the rich take more of the burden for once. The middle class has suffered long enough. Now let's just see if there is any truth in this because enough is enough

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  22. Bob in PA

    "The president does not believe Social Security is in crisis"
    Really ?

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Vivian Cantello

    I was very proud of President Obama today. I'm pleased that he is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to continuing the tax breaks for the rich. The Republicans claim that those tax breaks enable the rich to produce jobs. They have had these tax breaks for 10 years – if that were true, where are the jobs. Obviously it is not true or we wouldn't have the unemployment rate we have at this time. The ones with the tax breaks are using those breaks to increase their own wealth, they really are not interested in creating jobs for Americans.

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. michael thorne

    Bravo for the president.. a great and inspiring speech!

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Patrcia A. Clemente

    My husband works for one of those huge Wall Street firms and hasn't received a raise for the past couple years but this year they managed to force out what boils down to only $8.00 a month to the employees who essentially really run the firm and are the spokes in the wheel that keep it running smoothly every day. Yet, the CEO's and all the principals under him, are still taking home multi-million dollar bonuses – they are the ones who are breaking this economy by not sharing the wealth to their employees who would spend it on their basic needs and that would move the economy. We are college educated individuals who are living at the lowest middle class level. Why should I tell my daughter to get an education, if she is going to end up like us, constantly struggling and broke all the time. We can't even afford to get a replacement car or refrigerator and they are both breaking down.

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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