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.
Carefully worded mcconnell reax to potus re debt ceiling. he's "hoping for a new seriousness" re "the single biggest issue" facing country— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) January 14, 2013
Carefully worded mcconnell reax to potus re debt ceiling. he's "hoping for a new seriousness" re "the single biggest issue" facing country
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.
POTUS says GOP "free to try" to come up w/ cuts tied to debt ceiling but says he isn't negotiating again over paying bills. #cnn— John King (@JohnKingCNN) January 14, 2013
POTUS says GOP "free to try" to come up w/ cuts tied to debt ceiling but says he isn't negotiating again over paying bills. #cnn
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.
POTUS QSTN 5: In the past you said you wouldn't negotiate on the debt ceiling, and you did. So why should H. GOP believe you now?— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDCNN) January 14, 2013
POTUS QSTN 5: In the past you said you wouldn't negotiate on the debt ceiling, and you did. So why should H. GOP believe you now?
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?
POTUS: "issue here isn't whether we blv in 2nd amendment". @NRA and other critics say he is at war w/same. #newtown #gridlock— John King (@JohnKingCNN) January 14, 2013
POTUS: "issue here isn't whether we blv in 2nd amendment". @NRA and other critics say he is at war w/same. #newtown #gridlock
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.
Very strong @BarackObama language on debt ceiling. He says he will not negotiate "with a gun at the head of the American people."— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) January 14, 2013
Very strong @BarackObama language on debt ceiling. He says he will not negotiate "with a gun at the head of the American people."
OBAMA: You dont go out to dinner then dont pay the check. If Congress wants to discuss...eating at a more modest restaurant; that's fine"— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) January 14, 2013
OBAMA: You dont go out to dinner then dont pay the check. If Congress wants to discuss...eating at a more modest restaurant; that's fine"
Debt ceiling/spending/guns/immigration: listening to @BarackObama is reminder 2nd term is showdown after showdown w/GOP base. #cnn— John King (@JohnKingCNN) January 14, 2013
Debt ceiling/spending/guns/immigration: listening to @BarackObama is reminder 2nd term is showdown after showdown w/GOP base. #cnn
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."
Obama's remarks make clear what we've been reporting: Debt ceiling is the "next fiscal cilff" money.cnn.com/2012/12/31/new…— Josh Levs (@joshlevscnn) January 14, 2013
Obama's remarks make clear what we've been reporting: Debt ceiling is the "next fiscal cilff" money.cnn.com/2012/12/31/new…
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.
What the back of the room looks like http://t.co/1M4EzF2f— Alexander Mooney/CNN (@AWMooneyCNN) January 14, 2013
What the back of the room looks like http://t.co/1M4EzF2f
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?
POTUS @BarackObama says assault weapons ban in new guns package post #newtown, but doesn't answer Q re how hard he will push it.— John King (@JohnKingCNN) January 14, 2013
POTUS @BarackObama says assault weapons ban in new guns package post #newtown, but doesn't answer Q re how hard he will push it.
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."
Obama says he will be reviewing Biden task force gun proposals TODAY. Not tomorrow as VP said last week.— Jim Acosta (@jimacostacnn) January 14, 2013
Obama says he will be reviewing Biden task force gun proposals TODAY. Not tomorrow as VP said last week.
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.
I think it's "If we spend it, we have to pay for it." RT @arifleischer: Obama's Bottom Line: If you make it, I'll redistribute it.— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) January 14, 2013
I think it's "If we spend it, we have to pay for it." RT @arifleischer: Obama's Bottom Line: If you make it, I'll redistribute it.
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.
Obama says "sound investments" That means more government spending...— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 14, 2013
Obama says "sound investments" That means more government spending...
President #Obama at news conference: "It's been a busy and productive four years. And I expect the same for the next four years."— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 14, 2013
President #Obama at news conference: "It's been a busy and productive four years. And I expect the same for the next four years."
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.
WH reporters awaiting Obama presser -- last of first term http://t.co/CsYP1XGv— Alexander Mooney/CNN (@AWMooneyCNN) January 14, 2013
WH reporters awaiting Obama presser -- last of first term http://t.co/CsYP1XGv
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.
Whatever this president is smoking, I want some! Going on 5 years still no budget! This guy and this government is a joke! He says the majority of Americans want gun control a big 40% Yet, 70% want all illegals breaking our laws shipped back where they came from! You are the most stupid people ever to be called the US government!
Please resign mr Obama. You are a weak leader
bankrupt1, you picked a good name for your fantastic philosophy!
All the critics of the POTUS made me sick. It is the Republican Party (Tea Party Members, Neoconservatives) that wants to continue to block President Obama. We have the lamest Republican Congress in history, and if I recall correctly. GW. Bush was a lameduck president wanting to run away before his term. Reblicans, you wanted us to rally behind one of the most unpopular presidents in history (Dick Cheney). Now you do not want to give the opportunity to our popularly elected president a chance to fix the mess the GOP has created over the past 12 years. God bless America, and Thanks for Democracy.
@mathworks Putting the meal on a credit card is not the same as actually paying for it. Whether it was for a meal of war or a meal of health care is moot. It's debt that we have not actually paid. If we were making good on the napkins we were leaving behind that say, "I.O.U. x amount of dollars," then there would be no need to keep raising our amount of credit as the amount owed would be going down. All this shows is we are not capable of paying our bills due to the fact we need to borrow more and more, raising our credit card limit year after year. I don't care what the I.O.U.s are for, the fact is we are not being responsible.
Can"t wait to hear his words of wisdom associated with Chicago and Illinois crime. I could care less what he thinks as it will have no influence on what I do.
President Obama has his work cut out for him. I believe most of America has no clue what so ever any of these sound bites really mean, but they sure do say them. Unfortunately, no one is leading here if Congress. I believe Executive Order is in line. The President should go over their heads, make the decisions he needs to make, and move on. GW Bush didn't need a permission slip from over 50% of USA when he lied through his teeth about WMD and took us to another war. This is minor compared to that criminal act. If Republicans want to have a "leftist" president which Obama is not, but let him go left, and see where we are then. I wish he would. Do away with all guns, pull us out of the middle east, and close all loop holes in corporate, fund the environment acts, stop drilling, and raise taxes on the 25%.
Be nice if Congress actually tried to work with the President instead of filibustering their OWN bills.
I cannot believe the tone the President took in this address. All he did was blame everyone else; how many times did he do this? Someone should actually count how many times he played the blame game. He sounded petulant like a whining child.
Did I miss it or did he, even once, take ownership of any part of the deficit explosion during his first term? He kept saying over and over (ad nauseam) that these are bills already owed. LIke we don't know that?
Another debt ceiling crisis IS the right time to address the over-spending that has gone unattended. If not now, when?
Congress can pay the bills without raising the debt ceiling. It's the rest of the spending that can't go on. The governemnt takes enough revenue every day to service the debt ceiling. If COngress does it's job, it will be to force Obama to pass a budget, and to reducing spending.
So good for the Prez to show his racist side and be willing to help out the white families when their children are killed. What has he does for his own people in his own backyard of Chicago, where death rates are through the roof? Why not get serious about decreasing the debt we are passing onto our children and helping the economy create jobs? Yet he'd rather talk about getting tough on gun control. Yes, he definitely has HIS priorities in order.
Color me stupid but am I the only person in America that had NEVER heard of the debt ceiling until 2009?? My son then googled it and found out each and every POTUS has raised it MANY times. I think Reagan raised it 18 times or something like that. Why is it Socialism now that this POTUS wants to do it??
I'm sooo tired of hearing this politician's same teleprompter speeches over and over. Lying about tax "cuts" which, by the way, are over a 10-year period, when there is a "baseline" increase automatically added to the budget items, is deceptive and reprehensible.
This admin. and its cronies in the Democratic Senate haven't even PASSED a budget since Obama took over, and that is so he can deliberately cause these crises regularly and get irresponsible spending passed at the insistance of the duped public and STILL blame the Republicans! Everything this man says (reads) and does is political.
Hold the debt ceiling as is, force cuts in spending. If we go down economically, better now than later.
O is not a weak leader. That is the mantra of the right and it is nonsense. And the debt ceiling is totally in the lap of you Baggers and GOPers. You don't refuse to pay the bills YOU have created. That is immoral. And for you KATZ we have this: the president doesn't submit a budget, the House does. The president approves the budget (or not). You need to get off of sites like this and read and LEARN about the American legislative process.
STOP SPENDING SO MUCH! How is this hard to understand?
Don't blow up the economy !!!! Barrack wants to do it all by himself !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111111111111
LOL...did we not just go through this once? Did we NOT create the FISCAL CLIFF scenario to get this done? Did we NOT just increase taxes on EVERYONE in different amounts without reducing spending with the promise of attacking spending later? ROFLOL...why would ANYONE get excited about this all over again and fall for the same stuff....uhhhh...I am envisioning a dog chasing its tail- silly dogs. No brains at all.
@bankrupt1- It is moronic ideas like that that caused the housing collapse to begin with. That type of liberal nonsense does not work. If you could not afford the house you should not have purchased it! This country cannot go down that same road again. This nonsense idea that everyone deserves to own a home was Carter's idea. Then Clinton expanded on it and it got us to where the housing market collapsed. There is affordable housing for people who cannot afford to buy. It's called renting!!!!!!
I guess having a US Flag at the conference is too much to ask for
Can"t wait to hear his words of wisdom associated with Chicago and Illinois crime. I
The entire right wing likes to blow the Chicago gun law trumpet, pointing out that that city's handgun ban has not helped the rising rate of gun violence. Did you know that the NRA overturned the Chicago handgun ban in 2009 and handgun violence hss exploded ever since?
The discussions regarding the debt-ceiling is NOT the time to talk about spending less. For those who don't get it – we need to raise the debt-ceiling to pay for the increased debt we've ALREADY INCURRED (including it's interest). Raising the debt celing does NOT give anyone the ability to spend more. In fact – surprise, surprise – it's another problem entirely created by our congress. No other country has the idea of a "debt ceiling". They simply pay what they have to pay. The debt ceiling was put in place by Congress in order to cause "pause" every year and reflect on what we're spending. Anybody who pays any attention to the news knows that's being done already.
Discussions of the BUDGET are the proper time to discuss spending cuts... but the Republicans in Congress seem to want a PERFECT budget before they'll let it go to a vote (hence, no budget). Pass a budget for God's sake – even if it's only slightly better than what we have now – and then keep working until we get a good compromise. DO SOMETHING Congress – instead of whining about the other side – just GET IT DONE.
Obama already blew up the economy with his 6 trillion additional debt in 4 years.
It still kills me that the President has justified spending $7 million dollars on security, logistics, etc for his annual Hawaiian vacation. Thats really insane. Be a leader. When someone signs up to be the President that should really be their focus and vacations, etc take a back seat, not to mention it only added insult to the rest of us that have been forced to cut back on expenditures these days. While I didn't vote for him, I personally can't picture Romney justifying such an expense and if he did, I'm sure he would have fronted a portion of the cost. If you can't afford to take a vacation on your own dime, then stay at home.
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.
There is no reason he needs to start with these areas for cutting spending! How about congress' pay? How about all the stupid spending that goes on? Why not cut down on their huge vacations? He starts with these areas to create a scare within his voting base, to get them to go along with him. These are the people that vote for him, he needs them to back him.