January 14th, 2013
11:16 AM ET
2 years ago

Live Blog: President's Obama's news conference

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama held the seventeenth solo news conference of his presidency Monday at the White House - his second since being re-elected to a second term in November. His opening statement - and the bulk of the news conference - focused on the debt limit, which is poised to become the next battle between the White House and Congress.

Other topics: the ongoing debate over gun control and the recent uproar over a lack of women in his second term cabinet.

Refresh this page for the latest updates as the president's news conference gets underway, and watch the news conference live on CNN-TV and streaming on CNN.com.

12:40 p.m. ET - Here's the reaction from House Speaker John Boehner to today's press conference:

“The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time. The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so too are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved. Without meaningful action, the debt will continue to act as an anchor on our economy, costing American jobs and endangering our children’s future. The House will do its job and pass responsible legislation that controls spending, meets our nation’s obligations and keeps the government running, and we will insist that the Democratic majority in Washington do the same.”

12:31 p.m. ET – Obama concludes his press conference after approximately 50 minutes of speaking and taking questions.

12:30 p.m. ET - The president pushed back on criticism he does not socialize enough with members of Congress, saying the opposition to his ideas in Congress is unrelated his relationship with elected officials.

He said those in Washington often do not accept invitations to meet with him because of the "optics." But now that his daughters are getting older and "don't want to spend that much time with me anyway," he said he may meet with players in Washington more often.

12:28 p.m. ET - Listen to Obama explain his aversion to socializing in Washington in this interview with CNN chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin, taped in August.

12:27 p.m. ET - The president said his first term cabinet was the most diverse in history and that he expects "that record will be built upon." He pointed to high profile women in his administration that led the state department, his health care overhaul push and his department of Homeland Security. Additionally, he said 50% of his White House staff are women.

12:27 p.m. ET - For the latest on who's in and who's out of Obama's cabinet, check out this CNN interactive.

12:24 p.m. ET - Final question is on a pair of criticisms of Obama: one is that his team is too insular, and doesn't socialize with political rivals. The second is on diversity within his cabinet, which recently came under scrutiny after Obama nominated three white men to top cabinet posts.

12:23 p.m. ET - CNN's Dana Bash reports on this reaction from Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell to Obama's press conference:

“The President and his allies need to get serious about spending, and the debt-limit debate is the perfect time for it."

“I do know that the most important issue confronting the future of our country is our deficit and debt. So we are hoping for a new seriousness on the part of the President with regard to the single biggest issue confronting the country and we look forward to working with him to do something about this huge, huge problem.”

12:20 p.m. ET - Obama predicted there are enough votes in the House of Representatives to allow a government shutdown, something he called a "mistake" that would "profoundly damage our economy."

"They're elected representatives," the president said of House members. "Folks put them into those positions."

But he said the American people would likely "blame all of Washington" if that were to happen.

12:18 p.m. ET – Another question on the debt limit - Are you prepared to bring the government to a halt if that is a consequence of not negotiating with Republicans on the debt limit?

12:15 p.m. ET – Obama called on Washington to "break the habit of negotiating through crisis over and over again." The start of his second term is a good time to stop that cycle, he said.

Another view of Obama's news conference, from AFP/Getty Images.

12:11 p.m. ET – Fifth question is back to the debt ceiling: Why should House Republicans take your vow not to negotiate on the debt limit seriously if you made a similar vow in the past, and then engaged in negotiations?

12:10 p.m. ET – The president said lines to purchase guns are increasing because of "fear that's fanned by those who are worried about the possibility of legislation getting out there."

12:09 p.m. ET - Obama said he is confident there are steps he can take as chief executive to address gun violence that would not require legislation. He specifically referenced tracking weapons and gathering data on guns that have "fallen into the hands of criminals."

A view of Obama at today's press conference, from AFP/Getty Images.

12:07 p.m. ET - Fourth question goes back to gun control: What measures are you willing to take executive action on in regards to gun control? And what do you make of long lines at gun shops and gun shows as the gun control debate heats up?

12:05 p.m. ET - Obama said the U.S. will not be put in a position, in order to pay for spending already incurred, to "hurt the economy and middle class families" or "blow up the economy."

"We're not going to do that," the president said.

12:01 p.m. ET - Third question is also on the debt ceiling - if no one is talking to each other on how to raise the debt limit, then is it likely that the U.S. will default?

12:00 p.m. ET - The U.S. has to "stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis," Obama said. He called, as he often does for "discipline" and "compromise."

11:58 a.m. ET - The cuts needed to address the debt and deficit would not be possible, the president said, without cuts to Medicare and changes to Medicaid or changes in defenses spending, steps to which Obama said Republicans will not agree.

11:57 a.m. ET - Have a question on the debt ceiling? Read a comprehensive FAQ from CNNMoney here.

11:56 a.m. ET - The president again accused Republicans in the House and Senate with risking the full faith and credit of the United States.

That "is not what the founders intended and most Americans think Democracy should work," Obama said.

11:54 a.m. ET - Obama said he would accept the responsibility of raising the debt limit if Congress "gives me the autority." However, if they want to retain control of that responsibility, "then they need to go ahead and it get it done."

"There are no magic tricks," the president added. "We are not a dead beat nation."

11:53 a.m. ET – Second question goes back to the debt ceiling debate - are you considering a plan B to raise the debt limit?

11:52 a.m. ET - Obama mentioned stronger background checks for gun owners, limits on high capacity magazine clips and an assault weapons ban as options that are on the table to address gun violence.

"Will all of them get through Congress," Obama asked. "I don't know."

11:50 a.m. ET - For the latest on where the gun control debate stands, read this piece from CNN's Michael Pearson.

11:48 a.m. ET –Obama thanked Vice President Joe Biden for his work on "issues of gun violence" and said he will meet with Biden and review his proposals Monday. He said there will be a fuller presentation later in the week.

11:48 a.m. ET - First question to Obama is on gun violence. He's asked what gun control measures he'll pursue, keeping in mind any measure would need to garner Republican support in a divided Congress.

11:47 a.m. ET – If the United States does not raise the debt ceiling ahead of the impending deadline, there will be a "self inflicted wound to our economy" that could tip the country into a recession, the president said. He referenced the Social Security checks that would not go out and potential hits to veterans benefits, troop pay and contracts with small business owners.

11:46 a.m. ET - "America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether they should pay bills they have already racked up," Obama said in urging lawmakers to authorize an increase in the nation's debt ceiling.

11:42 a.m. ET - Obama said solving deficit issues will come through changes in health care spending and revenue from closing loopholes.

"They (the American people) want us to get our books in order in a balanced way," he said.

11:39 a.m. ET – Obama opened what is likely the last press conference of his first term in office describing his first four years as "busy and productive" and promising to carry out the agenda on which he campaigned during his second term in office, which he said includes shrinking deficits.

11:39 p.m. ET - Obama tells reporters that the American economy will have a good year, as long as politics in Washington don't interfere.

11:38 a.m. ET – Obama begins by saying it "might make sense to take some questions today as my first term comes to an end."

11:37 a.m. ET - The White House gives a two-minute warning for the beginning of the news conference.

11:33 a.m. ET – Another question to expect today - Why haven't more women been appointed to the president's second term cabinet? Thus far, Obama's nominees have including Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state, Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, and Jack Lew for secretary of treasury - all white men.

Read more here.

11:29 a.m. ET - As Obama prepares to state his stance on the debt limit, House Republicans are planning maneuvering of their own, report CNN's Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash and Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh:

House Republican leaders appear more willing then before to allow the country to default on its loans and shut the government down, in order to force the president and Democrats to agree to spending cuts.

In conversations with House GOP leadership aides, it was clear they want to try to reclaim the upper hand in this debate over slashing government spending.

"If the White House continues to pretend that hoping is a strategy then I don't see how we make progress," said one House GOP leadership aide.

11:24 a.m. ET – One topic likely to arise during today's news conference: gun control. Listen to what NRA President David Keene said on the subject this Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

11:20 a.m. ET - President Obama's opening statement will focus on the debt limit, a White House official said.

The country's borrowing has actually already passed its legal limit – currently $16.394 trillion. As a result, the Treasury can't borrow any more money in the markets, so it has begun to use "extraordinary measures" to ensure that the government can continue to pay all its bills in full and on time. But those measures can only buy about two months' grace.

If the ceiling isn't raised by late February or early March, the United States runs the risk of defaulting on its obligations, because the Treasury would no longer have enough money available to pay all the country's bills.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. Larry in Houston

    hate to be a bearer of bad tidings – but this country might be better off if we go into "default" – maybe we can start over if we do that, heck I'm not sure. Trouble is : even IF we had a "surplus" like we had when Clinton was the POTUS – – Everytime they try to pass something, the people who are in congress representing their districts will end up putting some "pork" into it – and then if every congressman does this, that's why the "pork" is in the millions, everytime they try to pass something.

    January 14, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "If the White House continues to pretend that hoping is a strategy then I don't see how we make progress," said one House GOP leadership aide.
    ---------------–
    What's wrong with hoping that sick people recover from their ailments?

    January 14, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Tony

    Obama should keep the option of a trillion-dollar coin on the table if Republicans are willing to allow the government to default, which means that the government cannot pay its bills, including Social Security and Medicare. The law allowing the Treasury Secretary to mint platinum coins of any denomination is still there. Obama only needs to use it if push comes to shove. I know that the Treasury Department has said that it will not mint the coin. Consider this, Republicans. Has Obama kept all of his promises?

    January 14, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. csm. hb j-dogg

    A piece that is missing from the Gun Control debate is a comprehensive jobs bill. Government should focus on keeping the cost of living down and even lowering it while bringing the minimum wage up to at least $13hr that would cut alot of the violence in this nation. As a minority Pro Gun Democrat simply passing a law restricting assault weapons will not work . That is a proven fact, if we are naive enough to think that we can stop these guns from circulating then we are not be realistic. Not one person with a illegal gun will turn those guns in if this law is passed.

    January 14, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Joi Gibson

    It really is stunning to me that House Republicans are willing to let the country default on debts that were APPROVED by Congress. President Obama cannot spend money if not authorized by Congress yet all House Republicans say is the President spends too much money. None of them howled when we were fighting two wars, giving tax cuts, and passed Medicare Part D on a credit card. It is disingenuous of House Republicans to take this stance and it is dangerous for the country. And if they are so hell bent on cutting spending, then put out their particulars. If they are so brave and bold, then outline the SPECIFIC cuts in spending they want – you know the ones, Medicare, SS, Medicaid. But they will not do that because they know the feedback they would get, so as usual, they blame the president. It just proves they care more about party ideology than the country. Threatening to shut down the government unless they get their way is schoolyard bully antics. Shame on them!!!!!

    January 14, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. curt

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." Barack Obama March 2006

    January 14, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Tkb

    "Everyone needs to do their part, everyone needs to do their share" What about cutting Congressmen's and the President's expense accounts. They need to do their part!

    January 14, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Austin Lamon

    Ugh, listening to this man makes me sick. As an independent, I can't believe how shameless he is in his hatred for success and the successful in this country. Our economy needs stimulation, not drought. Anyone who has money just wants to take it elsewhere because of this President's absurd political agendas. "Wealthy need to be responsible and pay America's bills". Is this man kidding? This huge government is spending and wasting enormous amounts of money. What a joke. Thanks to the ignorance of this country, we have to deal with this folly for four more years.

    January 14, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. TRM

    Sounds like same speech as the past. Spend spend spend and blame the republicans ...

    January 14, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Al

    It's a shame that during Obama time as a Senator he called it UNPATRIOTIC, UN-AMERICAN to just break out the credit card and add to the debt that will be passed on to the children and grandchildren. Yet today he stands there and tells the people that it must be done. Or that our troops will not be paid, our seniors will not be paid, but fear not that the people on WELFARE, FOOD STAMPS will still manage to get a check for doing NOTHING. There is something rotten with the law and the way departments have been spending the tax payers money, our TROOPS should NEVER be denied a pay check, they are protecting the country. Hold back the money to WELFARE and FOOD STAMPS but never to those that are working and have worked. It's time to change the business as usual in the White House.

    January 14, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. semper fi

    HE...OBAMA...and Congress will just stand at the edge of the ocean and pis s in it and say HE changed they water level....

    January 14, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. bankrupt1

    Why aren't Congress and former Presidents (who hiked a lot o money out of this country) charged with misappropriation of funds?

    January 14, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Cindy Cariis

    The only group of people the president has NOT threatened to not pay is Congress and himself. Let's start there and see what happens and where it goes from there. I bet things would be settled in a hurry if they weren't getting paid.

    January 14, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. bankrupt1

    End the Federal Reserve. We can't afford welfare for the wealthy banksters any more. And can we have our elections back please?

    January 14, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. bankrupt1

    Reduce the budget deficit by restoring full employment, cutting the bloated military budget, and cutting private health insurance waste.
    Eliminate needless tax giveaways that increase the deficit.
    Require full disclosure of corporate subsidies in the budget and stop hiding subsidies in complicated tax code.
    Rewrite the entire tax code to be truly progressive with tax cuts for working families, the poor and middle class, and higher taxes for the richest Americans.
    Reject cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

    January 14, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. GoRemote

    Just to be clear.....Borrowing more money to "pay" your bills is NOT really paying your bills..........

    January 14, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. bankrupt1

    Stop draining the non-profit sectors of our economy in order to give tax cuts to the for-profit sectors.
    Relieve the debt overhang holding back the economy by reducing homeowner and student debt burdens.
    Ensure the right to accessible and affordable utilities – heat, electricity, phone, internet, and public transportation – through democratically run, publicly owned utilities that operate at cost, not for profit.
    Maintain and upgrade our nation's essential public infrastructure, including highways, railways, electrical grids, water systems, schools, libraries, and the Internet, resisting privatization or policy manipulation by for-profit interests.
    Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.

    January 14, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. bankrupt1

    FINANCIAL REFORM

    Break up the oversized banks that are “too big to fail,” starting with Bank of America.
    Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.
    End bailouts for the financial elite and use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.

    January 14, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. bankrupt1

    Bring monetary policy under democratic control by prohibiting private banks from creating money, thus restoring government's Constitutional authority.
    Let pension funds be managed by boards controlled by workers, not corporate managers.
    Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.
    Require banks to use honest bookkeeping so that toxic assets cannot be hidden or sold to unsuspecting persons.
    Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.
    Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means nationalizing the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and placing them under a Federal Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.
    Establish federal, state, and municipal publicly-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities and focus on helping people, not enriching themselves.

    January 14, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. bankrupt1

    Why pick a guy that doesn't believe in regulating the banksters? End the Federal Reserve.

    January 14, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Evergreen

    I remember the last time the republicans shut down the government. It did not go well. Ask Newt. We all want spending cuts but why are the poor, elderly and sick the first to be sacraficed. Lets look for smarter and more efficient ways to handle these programs, come up with ways to stimulate job growth, and reform the tax code.

    January 14, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. Kef14

    The restaurant analogy is a good one. It's like you go out to eat with your husband/wife. Then when you're done you refuse to pay the bill until you and your husband/wife agree to not go out to eat tomorrow. Makes no sense.

    January 14, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    GoRemote wrote:

    Just to be clear.....Borrowing more money to "pay" your bills is NOT really paying your bills..........
    -------------
    All liberals would readily agree with you. Liberals also believe that asking your boss for a big cut in pay, while significantly increasing your spending is not a good way to pay our bills, either. Unfortunately for the 98%, the right wing chooses to call the latter practice "growth and prosperity".

    January 14, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. bankrupt1

    Provide tuition-free education from kindergarten through college, thus eliminating the student debt crisis.
    Forgive existing student debt.
    Protect our public school systems from privatization

    January 14, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. bankrupt1

    Provide complete, affordable, quality health care for every American through an improved Medicare-for-all insurance program.
    Allow full access to all medically justified contraceptive and reproductive care.
    Expand women's access to the "morning after" contraception by lifting the Obama Administration's ban.
    Roll back the community drivers of chronic disease, including poor nutrition, health-damaging pollution, and passive dirty transportation.
    Avoid chronic diseases by investing in essential community health infrastructure such as local, fresh, organic food systems, pollution-free renewable energy, phasing out toxic chemicals, and active transportation such as bike paths and safe sidewalks that dovetail with public transit.
    End overcharging for prescription drugs by using bulk purchasing negotiations.
    Ensure that consumers have essential information for making informed food choices by expanding product labeling requirements for country of origin, GMO content, toxic chemical ingredients, fair trade practices, etc.

    January 14, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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