2012 candidates sound off on debt deal
August 1st, 2011
12:43 PM ET
3 years ago

2012 candidates sound off on debt deal

(CNN) – Varied reactions to the debt deal are coming from Republican presidential candidates following Sunday's agreement between the White House and Congressional leaders to raise the nation's debt ceiling before the August 2 deadline.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who kept his distance from the debate ahead of the agreement, said as president his plan "would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced," that did not leave the door open to higher taxes and cuts to defense spending.

"President Obama's leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and the 59th minute," Romney said in a statement. "I personally cannot support this deal."

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who has consistently opposed an increase to the debt limit, said President Obama "failed to lead and failed to provide a plan."

"The 'deal' he announced spends too much and doesn't cut enough," Bachmann said in a statement. "This isn't the deal the American people 'preferred' either, Mr. President. Someone has to say no. I will."

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah gov. and U.S. ambassador to China, disagreed with his 2012 rivals, calling the agreement a "positive step toward cutting our nation's crippling debt."

He encouraged members of Congress to vote for the agreement and said he will advocate for a plan from the bipartisan committee that includes "real cuts, entitlement reform, and revenue-neutral tax reforms – without any tax hikes."

"The Republican members of Congress deserve tremendous credit for moving this debate to the forefront and at long last beginning to get Washington in line," Huntsman said in a statement.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded to the deal by outlining his approach to solving the debt crisis that would include a concentration on job creation, keeping politics out of national security and cutting spending by reforming and restructuring government.

"With so much work remaining to be done, this deal is yet another reminder of the urgent need to replace President Obama and his radical commitment to big government and higher taxes," Gingrich said in a statement.

Alex Conant, a spokesman for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said the deal is "nothing to celebrate."

"Only in Washington would the political class think it's a victory when the government narrowly avoids default, agrees to go further into debt, and does little to reform a spending system that cannot be sustained by our children and grandchildren," Conant said in a statement. "While no further evidence was needed, this entire debt ceiling fiasco demonstrates that President Obama must be replaced."


Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Debt • Deficit • Jon Huntsman • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. WWRRD

    From their comments, Bachman, Pawelnty are off the list. Mitt criticized Obama's lack of leadership which I think is only partially at fault, and Newt gave some vague answer that really wasn;t an answer.

    August 1, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    The debt ceiling is used to pay for items already incurred. While a good portion of this debt is under Obama, his predecessor started us on this path with unpaid for tax breaks, an unpaid for war, and an unpaid for prescription plan.

    August 1, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Spikemanlou

    Republican and Tea Party candidates are such a joke. All of them need a reality check, lest they forget that it was eight years of a Republican president that got us into this mess, Obama was handed deficit when he took office, yes, he did add to it, 1.7 trillion, not the 4.8 trillion that Bush added to it. Let's form our own party, the People's Party, get rid of all of the incompetent idiot, do nothing scumbags that are currently in Washington and replace them with a bunch of working class people that know how to balance our own budgets. We've been doing it for years and no one has bailed me out. Send all of them in Washington packing and let them go on unemployment like alot a Americans are currently doing.

    August 1, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Daniel

    While I applaud a few of the candidates for having an understanding of the situation, I have to call out Romney and Bauchman. It appears neither of them actually know what the Executive Branch is responsible for. You want to complain about where our spending is and then say it's Obama's fault? The Legislative branch is the only branch that can decide how we spend our money. The Executive branch is just there to enforce laws created by the Legislative branch.

    August 1, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. rep

    I'd be curious in knowing how these clowns would actually bridge the partisan divide that clearly exists to get things like this done. That was the problem. Imagining what they would have done if they were monarchs (or even if the GOP had controlled both houses of Congress) is simple. When they have to get the OTHER side to agree then it's clearly not so easy. One thing is for sure, alienating the other side and NOT compromising would have guaranteed a default–something Bachmann repeatedly said she's perfectly OK with accepting. But then, when has she ever seemed completely sane?

    August 1, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Larry L

    The deal resulted from a radical right-wing influence on the House, a dysfunctional Senate always blocked from voting by Republican filibuster, and a Republican Party catering to only wealthy Americans. The President offered cuts to sacred entitlement programs and Boner's boys didn't have the stomach to face the Tea Party terrorists. We simple need an amendment tying congressional salaries to a balanced and timely budget.

    August 1, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. cindy

    always easier for shoulda coulda and woulda. be careful of the choices made people-we donKt need to change the constitution but we DO need to change the politicians. Bear in mind you don't always get what was actually campaigned on.

    August 1, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Mike, Chicago

    As a die-hard Obama supporter, I must say that Jon Huntsman has impressed me with his common-sense approach to most of the issues and his avoidance of the silly, knee-jerk uber-partisan comments that the other Repub candidates love to make.

    In other words, he has no chance to win his party's nomination.

    August 1, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Joseph B

    The Republican party really has become the "Party of No" – given the constraints the Republican party put on the discussions, this is at least a resolution. Only Huntsman seems vaguely like a leader – and where is he polling these days? 1%? We need both spending and revenue solutions – but most all Republicans signed pledges not to govern for the people but for Norquist. I seem to have missed his name when I was reading the Constitution.

    August 1, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. James

    Of course all of them are quiet during the tough times, but once a deal is reached they have nothing but criticism. Where were those big mouths 2 weeks ago?

    August 1, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Greg

    Maybe they shoudl ask real candidates instead of Mitt Wrongney and Michelle "no chance in hell to get elected" Bachmann. Hey CNN, what's Ron Paul got to say about it? Oh nevermind, you don't want to lend any support to someone that actually gives a damn

    August 1, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Brent

    Romney's response should disqualify him from any serious consideration as a candidate. It is merely political crazy talk. By taking defense and revenues off the table, a balanced budget would be mathimatically impossible without decimating the big three. He is in fact saying, if elected I will kill the big three while protecting the corporations and wealthy. If he wants to run on that let him, but its a losing position.

    August 1, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Hmmm

    Is Ron Paul not a candidate?

    August 1, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. USA401

    The President failed? What an idiot. It was the petty whinning from the Republican party and its failure to put country first is what almost and still could cause us to hit the fan.

    August 1, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. kman821

    Glad to see that POS Romney is still pandering to the tea-baggers. Fortunately, we will never have to see what this flagrant flip-flopper would do as president along with all the other eminently unqualified GOP candidates.

    August 1, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. KP

    I noticed Ron Paul's position was carefully omitted from this article. Why is that? Why is it exactly he gets no love from mainstream media, I'd like to know. Has he not established himself as a legitimate contender in the Presidential race? I believe he has. Why is he always overlooked and ignored?

    August 1, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Dave1957

    The thing people seem to miss in all this is that, with the cost of living increasing year after year, spending will increase as well. It has to.

    I bought my first car for $6319, and had a $97 monthly payment. My current vehicle had a sticker price of almost $34k, and my payment is $373. Aside from the fortunate few who are able to pay cash for homes and cars, I’d venture to say the overwhelming majority have seen a similar increase in their debt.

    So yes, we’re seeing “record” levels of debt and spending. And twenty years from now, we’ll be setting new records. The only way to prevent that is a long-term global recession, and I don’t think too many people are praying for that.

    The bank doesn’t care that my current vehicle payment is four times what it used to be. What they care about is that my total monthly bills are less than 50% of gross income. In my case, they’re much less, but that’s by my choice. As long as our nation’s debt doesn’t proportionally increase above our ability to make money, don’t be too focused on the total numbers.

    One final thought – Obama has taken a lot of blame for this crisis, including a number of Republican candidates declaring that he “created” this mess. Is 2008 so far in the past that we can’t remember what this president inherited from his predecessor? On inauguration day, economists warned that we were on the verge of a full-blown depression. I don’t like the blame game, but if we insist on playing it we should at least try a little harder to be factual.

    August 1, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. John

    Everyone out on the campaign trail is going to say they hate it and Obama messed up. In reality, most Americans wanted to see Obama's shared sacrificed apprached done 6 weeks ago.

    August 1, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Michael

    The only question that should have been asked of the House of Representatives was "Do you want to pay our existing bills or not?" An up or down vote on that question is what we needed. Rep. Bachmann and others apparently think you don't have the pay what you already charged on the card.

    August 1, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Lisa

    I would say amazing, but it isn't. With all the stupidity flying around in Washington and with BOTH sides, and also with the voters (and non-voters) All they (the republicans & tea party) care about is getting the President out. What happened to doing what is best for the country? Standing by your ELECTED President and agreeing to disagree but still doing what is right? I am so ashamed and disgusted by all of it but what can you do? People are NOT willing, too afraid, too lazy or just don't care, to stand up and say they have had enough of all of it. Tea Party? A joke from what I see, they care little for our once great country. Myself, unless more people get out of their "cnn, fox, msnbc, rush, beck, liberal, conservative" little holes and actually open their eyes and do something, I will spend the second half of my life just sitting back and shaking my head and watching our country become more of a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

    August 1, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Aaron

    Obama extremist? Keep repeating yourself on that point and maybe someone will actually believe you. I bet your best chances for people to believe you are going to come from Republicans because they want to be supportive of their own party.

    It doesn't seem like people want to think for themselves anymore and just want their republican leaders to do it for them.

    August 1, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Balls McGhee

    politics – Bush left Obama with a 1.2 trillion dollar deficit. I dont need to repeat this anymore. its getting old.

    August 1, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. teena

    President Obama has shown "LACK OF LEADERSGHIP?" Does this ignoramus realize it is the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH's job to come up with legislation!And, any time the president has attempted to come-up with anything, Romney's party says NO even when the plan has included THEIR policies. The republicans just want President Obama out of office and they do not care if they sell this country down the river to do it!

    August 1, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. luigi

    Bachmann is a dummy .it's the congress job to deal with it

    August 1, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. dave

    there are several candidates missing from this article. ron paul makes an excellent point that the 'spending cuts' are illusory. they are not new cuts. it's all smoke & mirrors. bottom line is we will borrow a ton more money, spend it, and then ask to borrow a ton more money in ?? days.

    August 1, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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