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. Lori Ziegler

    I agree with most of what Pres. Obama said in his speech. The main concern I had about the cuts were for the elderly who rely on Social Security and Medicare to get by. How can we take away from the elderly who have worked hard all of their lives and are unable to work when they are old. Most are on a fixed income. My dad has since passed on but I know prior to his death he was living on social security and I can tell you it wasn't much. I had to supplement his income and my husband and I didn't make that much. I can't even fathom that someone on a very small fixed income that they paid in for all of their lives could have it reduced and possibly put them out on the streets. I know my dad couldn't pay all of his bills with just social security. And as far as raising taxes for the wealthy, finally someone with a brain!!! It wouldn't hurt the wealthy to lose a few dollars when the average working person is already barely getting by with gas prices and everything else going up. I hope they listen to the president and there aren't any hidden crazy cuts that we don't know about yet.

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

    The presiden't speech reminds me of an old Springsteen tune... "they just talk talk talk talk, til you lose your patience" . Looks like he's punting down field again.

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. NameKT

    Excellent speach by president Obama! He spelled out the countries spending situation very clearly. :))

    April 13, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Michael Roe

    O-My-Gosh! the President is Right on!
    It Brought a Tear to my eye with his remarks that the poor, Elderly will not have to suffer & the Rich get Richer!
    It is about TIME! the Rich pay the FAIR Share! I know, they all think they have Paid too much! I believe in the future of America, Not What I can get right here right now! It is amazing to me, how Some of the very Wealthy can work harder at trying to NOT pay Taxes, instead of giving back to the country to which they owe their Wealth & life style.
    IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE! LEAVE! Their is a better way to life then it all be self-centered, Self-Serving! Do Unto Others! Receive the Feeling if Helping Someone besides your-self!
    I AM ONE, of many that when BUSH give out the Tax, Monies, What was it 300.00 to Single and 600.00 to Married?
    I DID NOT WANT THAT MONEY! I'd been so happy if all that money would have gone to the DEBT! Or to Medicare, Social Security, etc... BUSH Did more things to hurt America, then he did to help! I can not Think of ONE THING! he did that Helped America? Can anyone tell me one thing? Lets see, He gave TAX Cuts to Big Business to send Jobs Over-Seas! (India)
    Call it a World Economy! Kiss my Grits! & His World Economy!

    All it did was hurt America! There are a lot of programs, (If that is what you'd call them)
    That Bush did to Hurt America! Yet no one! No one wants to in the Media call it like it is, on how he Hurt America! TELL THE TRUTH!
    We need a Total Revamp of Bush. The Budget was Good When Bush got a-hold of it!
    Lets Grab our Cheeks! Pay for the Bush Mistake! and Get on to the America we all know & love!
    GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    April 13, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Pat Aime

    Just finish watching The President speech,I have to say that I am dissappointed in his willingness to tax what he calls the@ percent of Americans who are the wealthiest should be taxed more,he mentioned himself and Buffet But since the difintion of the WeALTHY is anyone who makes over250,000 is wealthy Ithink he might be comparing apples to oranges.My family of 5 with one child in college and 2 more going in the next 3 yrs would or are consider wealthy I do not think so although my husband might net 250 -300 we are not wealthy by ant stand point.We would and are put in a higher tax bracket along side the Million and billionaires,there is no comparasion between the two.P.S. I did vote for Obama but I cnnot agree with him on this or his Health care Ideas

    April 13, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. vicki17745

    Washington is not listening to the people. The people want Washington to start in their own pockets first. Politicians need to be accountable to the people for getting us into this mess to begin with and it will not be fixed until we fix THEM.

    April 13, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Mike

    Obama pretty much tells the Rich they may have to sell a Yacht they use to make wakes for the poor kids using their Walmart floaties.

    April 13, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. richard smith

    I watched the address and wasnt really satisfied. I am a disabled veteran and i feel so much money is wasted on va hospital care alot of us feel is inferior. I myself would rather see a regular doctor instead of travel hours to have the va cancel my appointments or get treated like crap. I also want to know why illegal immigrants are not addressed in the medicare budget. My kids cant even get into headstart yet most of teh applicants accepted are illegal immigrants children. Lets attack teh problems and quit dodging them. America has lost its backbone in my opinion. Were so scared of insulting someone else. Who cares, we gotta get it done. Quit dancing around on tippy toes and start walking like men. I once saw a government official of france say the reason their country does well is that the government is afraid of the people and the reason we are doing poorly is that the people here are now afraid of the government. They have lost their voice and afraid to stand up and speak up. We need to grow a pair and quit electing fast talking know it alls abnd get some real people in there who live everyday on a strict budget just to eat.

    April 13, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Dayvee Garte-Wolf

    Obama was specific. He said the wealthy would lose some deductions on property tax and charity deductions. He said he would reform the entitlements would input from both parties. I love to hear commentary right after a speech that says how there are no specifics just generalizations. I always wonder if they actually paid attention to the speech or they had already written their comments.

    April 13, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Raphael Kenyatta

    President Obama is on target with his plan, if the republicans & democrats could their hands out of each others pockets..they could possibly make some needed changes in America..

    April 13, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. David

    Good speech, I hope he stands his ground. Clinton did it. the Republicans will vote this in or get voted out. I hope you all work to get this done and not let it turn into the circus like last week.

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. LaVerda Willson

    I All I got out of it was congress/ House/presidents need to go to China, So Koraor Bezile to learn how to run a goverme

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Brad Linton

    Getting back the way it used to be ,but we try to get everybody to goto college and get a better job.I'm a get your hands dirty person who used to make a better living than those college folks.So, lets bring back those jobs where if you didn't like a certain job you could go down the street and get another one.That was just a generation ago.i believe that a 4 trillion cut does not seem that much ,im not a smart person if we cut out all the free studying stuff(like the link of pickle steems) or paying farmers for everything.Tax the rich like in 77' ,give companies tax breaks but have to hire more people. GOOD JOB.

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Garry

    Best speech of his Presidency. I wanted to hear him say that the Radical Republican proposal to abolish Medicare would never happen and he said it would not happen during his Presidency. Right On, Mr. President!

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Stephanie Chambers

    We finally have a leader who shows compassion and also has a good business sense. We need to give our president a chance to do what we elected him to do - not fight him on everything he wants to try.

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Susan

    I wish our Canadian Gov't had the privelage of such a great President as America does. What a fantastic speaker from the heart and using his own brain and business sense. Good action plan to recover USA

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Marian

    President Obama speech ws exactly what I have been waiting for. I completely agree that our nation depends on both sides of the isle to come together for the good of our Nation. It is time to act like grown ups.

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. JP

    another weak move by Obama. Twice he cited the 1980's and 90's, and Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton as showing fiscal responsibility – deliberately implying that his (Obama's) challenges today are because of George W. Bush. It seems every time he's faced with an opportunity to show leadership, he defers to blame, finger pointing and politics. It's cowardly, un-Presidential, and disappointing.

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. KRS

    Makes sense and goes beyond what congress has been willing to do. If we continue to play politics everything will go in cycles (democratic control then repulblican control, etc.) until it crashes. If we stop playing politics we will solve these issues and move onto bigger & better challenges like curing world hunger, true space exploration and more!

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. BCraft

    If the Bush Tax cuts worked so well to create jobs and help the economy then one should ask, since they have been in effect for 10 years, why is the economy in so much trouble. Tax cuts do not do what the republicans claim. It just gets them more campaign money from those same wealth individuals that work to get them reelected. What we really need is Term Limits. If these people had to go back and live in the real world after two terms, they might see the economy in a different light.

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. AtlantaKid

    We got to go back to taxation / spending @ Clinton level, and then revisit giving tax relief to the low income families, there are other ways to help low income with education, and health-care refunds that rich folks will not qualify for anyway.

    Republicans refusal is just not workable.

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Garrett

    Neither party gets it!

    2012 budget should be balanced as should every year, we cannot afford foreign aid, handouts,etc., we cannot afford entitlement programs, fix them or end them, social security, 55 and under it just doesn't exit anymore, medicaid and Medicare, same thing, end the free rides.

    April 13, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Hunt Gressitt

    OMG! He's such an adult! Do you suppose that our three year old politicians in grown up clothing could stop posturing and consider following Obama's model for adult behavior and rational thinking?!?!

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Pablo Roncoroni

    A very encouraging speech, from a president whom I felt had been bending to special interest groups and engaging in 'politics as usual.' Resolute, clear, while remaining open to compromise, Obama outlined a plan that keeps America's ideals of a middle class, a protected retired community, without shying away from issues of reducing spending on all fronts.

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. Michael

    Wonderful speech. So glad to hear the president speak the truth about this debt "crisis" and dispel some of the myths that conservatives have drummed into the minds of the masses.

    April 13, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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