January 14th, 2013
11:16 AM ET
5 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. smjcpa

    Congress needs to stop this nonsense and pay our bills. We need to fight battles we can win.

    January 14, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. bankrupt1


    Impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
    Offer capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income.
    Create a federal bank with local branches to take over homes with distressed mortgages, and either restructure the mortgages to affordable levels, or if the occupants cannot afford a mortgage, rent homes to the occupants.
    Expand rental and home ownership assistance and create ample public housing.

    January 14, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. tkb

    And why was he re-elected???? He hasn't passed a budget in the last 4 years! I agree, they should not get paid until they settle this. We are working for them and they are supposed to be working for us!

    January 14, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. GuestAgain

    Curt – stop trying to make sense of it, those words no longer apply now that he has won 2 elections! Spend it and give me some more....that'll fix it.

    January 14, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Toby

    Obama is still campaigning – please stop and do the work of the American people!

    January 14, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. J Russ

    Evergreen - "We all want spending cuts but why are the poor, elderly and sick the first to be sacraficed." Because by moving the discussion away from the actual facts BOTH SIDES inject the emotion needed to obscure the issue and keep the same old game running.

    January 14, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Nick

    I'm pretty sure I just heard Obama warning Congress that if the debt ceiling isn't raised, he will do it himself...
    He said something like "If Congress doesn't want to take on this responsibility, I'm happy to do so"...

    January 14, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. 'murica

    What a flawed analogy on the debt ceiling. To sum it up, the Pres said," to go out to eat and not pay your bill is irresponsible, which is why we need to raise the debt ceiling." In that scenario, we are not paying our bill, we are using an already maxed out credit card. If raising the debt ceiling pays bills, then why do we have to keep raising it? Wouldn't the amount owed start decreasing at some point? As far as I know, it just keeps going up by a trillion or more dollars each year. That definitely doesn't sound like the finances of someone who is responsible with their budget. How stupid does this guy think we all are?

    January 14, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. jpmichigan

    Obama was re-elected for the gifts he has and still is handing out to certain groups of individuals. Believe me it is not the American taxpayer. He states over and over again, it to pay for the spending that has already occurred, like the bankrupted green energy corporations and the lack of providing green energy jobs. Cut spending for the future and get back money given to corporation bail out, financial bailout, all the money owed to the government. Stop investing in loosing situations, just to appease political donors, cut government jobs starting at the top (White House) down.

    January 14, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Table

    POTUS, your job is to get consensus on a plan. Stop abdicating this responsiblity.

    January 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. HarvTy

    This "crisis after crisis" as Obama put it is clear evidence of his lack of leadership, his inability to formulate sound policy and create consensus is bringing this country to it's knees. When he get serious in action, not just words, about reducing spending, then progress will be made.

    January 14, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. ZhenBang

    I am sorry but I have pretty much lost all faith that this country will be able to dig itself out of the mess we are in. Bush added 4.9 trillion to the debt while he was in office and Obama has added 5.3 trillion while he has been in office and there is no end in sight to years with a deficit. Add that to the fact that no one is really serious about fixing the debt problem. The repubs went on a massive spending binge during the Bush era and they haven't really provided a decent plan recently. The Dems and Obama continue the spending, do not seem to want to make any cuts other than to the military, according to Obama the US does not have a spending problem, and their only solution is more taxes which is utterly impossible to balence the budget with just taxes. It just seems to me most of the people we put in charge really don't care about fixing the problem and all they are doing is putting on an act so we think they are doing their job. Like I said, no hope.

    January 14, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Brian Hartman

    What kind of foolishness is this? Our bills are what they are. Freezing the debt ceiling does nothing but tell other countries we're not willing to honor the debt we've built up. Can anyone say that honestly makes sense? If you want to control spending, control the budget. You can't reasonably rack up $10,000 worth of bills and then say, "I'm going to save money by only paying half of it".

    January 14, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. tkb

    That's Obama's MO, if congress passes a bill and Obama doesn't like it he says he will veto it, that or he signs an executive order to get it done his way.

    January 14, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    'murica The meal was 2 wars and the bush tax cuts, not next weeks medicare. We have to pay the bill for PAST spending

    January 14, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    No cuts to medicare or medicaid without a dollar for dollar match in cuts to defense

    January 14, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. mathworks

    No cuts to medicare or medicaid without a dollar for dollar match in cuts to defense

    January 14, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. mathworks

    @'murica We went out to eat and had a healthy meal of 2 wars and the bush tax cuts. Now we have to pay for that. Congress signed the line where it says "you promise to pay". Now it is time to do so

    January 14, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    tkb wrote:

    And why was he re-elected???? He hasn't passed a budget in the last 4 years!
    Have you ever heard of CRs, Continuing Resolutions? You know, those pieces of legislation the Congress passes to keep the government up and running, which make the whole idea of passing an annual budget a moot point.

    BTW, Ronald Reagan never passed budgets, either. In fact, during Reagan's two terms we say 18 CRs passed by the Congress. During his first term, Reagan ballooned the annual deficit by a factor of 10, and tripled the national debt. By today's numbers we would be looking at an annual deficit of $15 trillion and a national debt of over $30 trillion.

    January 14, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Mec

    Look out! The president can't control the debt ceiling but he'll sure use his powers to disarm the country! Maybe that's how he'll get "elected" to a third term?

    January 14, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. ghostriter

    jpmichigan, do you really know where the stimulus money went? Not a lot went to "failed green energy companies". Though a good deal did go to states to use, as Rick Perry did.

    And of course you know the number of federal jobs has decreased.....Right?

    January 14, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Slowgun


    This "crisis after crisis" as Obama put it is clear evidence of his lack of leadership, his inability to formulate sound policy and create consensus is bringing this country to it's knees. When he get serious in action, not just words, about reducing spending, then progress will be made.

    I thought the crisis after crisis was due to the fact the the GOP leadership openly stated that their number 1 priority was to block anything and everythiong to make sure Obama was a 1 term president.
    Now that they could even accomplish that, will this congress please actually get something done!
    Out of oyur 16 trillion dollar debt, 12 trillion comes from Bush and the Repiblicans that were in congress during his 8 years in office. Why would the party of "personal responsibility" take responsibility for this?

    January 14, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. ZL

    I keep seeing the comments here about the poor and cutting people off. The majority of welfare in this country goes to corporations...if Republicans are so pressed to cut off poor people, then lets agree to cut all corporate welfare, then cut welfare to the red states...instant 75% savings. If it's such a great idea, put your money where your mouth is and step up to take the cuts...otherwise it's nothing but Fox propaganda, where it's perfectly ok to let the elderly and kids starve so we can give more money to oil companies, pharma, and military contractors who are strangling this country.

    January 14, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Upset American

    Why cant they stop drug users from getting food stamps for example do a hair drug test 6 months after people sign up for them if they come back dirty cut those people of permantly! Cut out medicade for those on it more than 2 years. If Obama wants everyone to get helath insurance there shouldnt be anyone on medicade! Also why does Obama and his family stay home for Christmas instead of spending millions going on vacations.. I know people are going to reply back to me being mean but I dont care. I think there is many other ways that the debt can be paid off other than not paying our troups and cutting out social security for the people who worked for years and paid taxes! Everyone needs to google Europe's economy and see that is how the USA is going to end up. And as for gun sales going up I believe it is because Americans are not stupid and in the back of the minds they know what it coming next! For those who voted for Obama I hope your happy with the way the election turned out!

    January 14, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Mitch

    Who remembers...

    "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."

    ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

    January 14, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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