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.
Wow, where were all of you when it was time to vote lol. People wanted "leadership"... Well, now you're getting it. Be careful what you wish for. People are just angry that it's not the "leadership" that's benefiting them... It's the leadership that is going to benefit the American People.
Too late Barry. You've already accomplished that feat.
Did I miss it or did he, even once, take ownership of any part of the deficit explosion during his first term?
You've been bamboozled by the right wing media machine. Did you know that the final fiscal year of the Bush administration had a $1.5 trillion deficit? Don't take my word for it, but look up FY2009. Please use the government web sites, not blogs.
While you're at it, you can also confirm for yourself that year to year spending has increased only a mere 1.4% over Barack Obama's entire first term. That is less than inflation, which in and of itself means we're spending less money. Compare that with the 6-9% increases in annual spending that we saw during every year of the Bush administration.
Okay. Let's talk about spending. Military.
In other words... "I am not going to bargain, cut anything, or lead. I will just do the same thing I have done for the last four years and blame everything on republicans. To me it is about making sure the press makes everyone believe it is not my fault too"
If O has reduced the deficit by 1.2 trillion, why has it gone up each of the 4 years now since he has been in office. Bet its one of those, here is what we could have spent but did not issues, which is NOT a reduction. Wish we had some reporters with the courage enough to ask questions such as that.
40% of our budget goes toward just paying the interest on our debt every year. Does that sound responsible?
Someone needs to remind President Obama that those Republican Senators and Congressman he bashes everyday represent the American people that elected them. He was elected to be President of the US, not a party.
We are not a country of deadbeats. We will continue to borrow money to pack back the money we have already borrowed until we pay back all the money that we have borrowed.
What is a country to do when they find they are being ruled by a dictator?
Mr. Obama your actions on the deficit speak so loudly we cannot hear what you are saying. I just wish for once you would please do what you say with out any wrangling. Honestly just do what you promised.
POTUS – Track guns? Fast and Furious worked good didn't it!!
Mayor Bloomberg – Our government tried getting tougher on gun trafficking it was/is Fast and Furious and POTUS gives Holder a pass!
Not raising the debt ceiling will not send this country into default unless we cannot or refuse to pay the interest on the debt. We can either pay the interest with the existing revenue stream or because we are a feat money system we can simply print more money. If we use our existing revenue stream then we cannot make new debt lest we break the law by exceeding the debt limit. If we print more money the only down side is devaluation which may or may not be seriously damaging. The point is that if the debt ceiling is not raised, Obama can simply avoid default by using the current stream of money or he can cause the treasury to print more money. If the country goes into default it will be because Obama elected not to pay the interest on the debt. In this one he holds the bag, not congress.
Obama has done a splendid job of convincing the American people that there is no spending problem to be addressed, we just need to tax the rich. He plays to what he knows people want to hear: We do not have to make changes to Social Security and Medicare, everything is just fine. He got elected based on this lie. Medicare WILL bankrupt the U.S., the sooner it is addressed the better the result. Obama is much like every politician, either he does not believe reality, or it is easier to kick the can down the road again. Republicans, under Bush, were the worst spenders of all, so they have a credibility issue when it comes to really cuttiing spending. They cannot back down now, even if it costs them future elections. Obama will continue to attack Republicans, telling people that everything will be solved by taxing the rich because it gets Democrats elected. It is NOT the truth, and if spending on Medicare is not cut, it will lead to economic disaster. STOP believing his lies!!
We need compromise..not jockeying for the 2014 election ! What is he thinking? Everyone acknowledges that we have to address the debt problem and now he is saying "we don't have a spending problem"? You can't always have a win-lose situation in Washington,,sometimes you compromise to a win-win for both sides. That's how a good negotiation process works. Mr President if you cannot do it send Biden.. Biden for President ! At least he does something.
Boehner is so lame its frightening. He actually has the gall to stand up there and demand the President cut spending at the same time as we raise the debt ceiling because a majority of Americans are for it. Where was this bozo when a large majority of people wanted taxes raised on incomes of 250K or higher? Then Boehner was all about not caring about polls. It's not just the breathtaking hypocrisy, it's the assumption that Americans are too dumb to see the breathtaking hypocrisy.
If Congress wants to talk about future spending going down, great. Let's have that conversation. Just recognize that it has nothing to do with past spending, which is what the debt ceiling is about. Pass a clean debt ceiling bill, then let's start talking about reducing future spending. But the two have nothing to do each other, and no matter how much McConnell and Boehner want to link them, then aren't linked. The President is right on this one.
I am one of the people that the govberment has not paid so i can pay all my bills. I owe the goverment more than anything. If the goverment does not pay me can i put a "MECHANIC"S LEAN ON THE GOVERMENT"?
OR does the same law used on Credit cards work on all debt for "REFUSALM OF PAYMENT""! Which legally makes my bills owed to the goverment paid in full! The same bills that the goverment will not allow people to file Bankruptcy on? Child support and State and Federal Taxes.
I had injuries from another job and lost my union job to China. I went back to college to get a new career but the goverment is bringing too many illegal and legal immigrants to make them Legal. That is now preventing me from getting a job now. I am also partially disabled now because of my past injuries making me more disabled then i already am. (I AM ABLE TO WORK AND NO LONGER UNDER A DOCTORS CARE.)
So goverment go ahead and keep doing what you are doing. Allow me to wipe off all my debt and get a business because i am a "LIABILITY" for any employer to hire me. My physical limitations only slow me down physicallly.
I am continually amzed by the president's pompus bufoonery.
Don't forget the Republicans are the ones who voted to not raise taxes even in the face of a $1 BILLION a week war in Iraq. What do they know of being responsible? Now when asked to help our own people they balk.
Obama is keen to blame Congress for his inability or unwillingness to negotiate with Congress on the subject of spending. Whenever Congress raises the spending issue, Obama develops a nervous twitch. He is a guy who above all seeks popularity - and spending taxpayer money is his highway to popularity. Thank heavens there are adults in Congress who seek to rein in the spending and improve our economic standing with wisdom.
Everyone needs to take a chill pill.
I agree that the mentally ill shouldn't be allowed to buy guns but it's not the guns but the people.
According to USA Weekend 1-11-1-13-2013 60 children that's right 60 children are killed every week by cars and trucks that back over them. Should we ban all cars and trucks that don't have backup cameras no we should hold people accountable and should be the same case with guns. Why don't we have the same outrage about people backing over children that's easy no press coverage.
Every time something happens with guns it's front page news and when you look at all the people that buy guns tell me how many of them go out and commit mass murders not that many because they follow the laws that are in place now.
All I heard was when we are allowed to get a concealed weapons permit murders would go threw the roof guess what they went down.
Take a breath and let's discuss the terrible murder of 20 children at a school and act like we have some common sense and not some knee jerk reaction.
A ban on all semi automatic weapons is not only stupid but the people that are pushing this really don't have a clue about guns and how they work.
I keep hearing that we should ban all assault weapons we don't have any on the market now. An assault weapon is a gun that can fire three rounds with one pull of the trigger, fire one round with one pull of the trigger, and car fire full automatic with just holding the trigger down. It just about the hardest permit to get is for a fully automatic weapon and if you want to put a cost on that why not charge $50,000 a year for each permit.
Please know what you are talking about before you take the same path as almost every socialist and communist country out there in the world. It wouldn't take long before that could happen with all the BS going on out there right now and that includes Obama and his party.
I guess you thought bailing out the bankers was good for us too. ehh? You should just quit dude. You are way over your head.
I have lost all trust in Mr Obama - he has zero credibility. Medicare and Social Security are the biggest drags on deficits and debt – Obama has said this before and has said they need reform - Today he is hands off. We have a spending problem – not a revenue problem - Closing tax loopholes is a pimple on our deficits – this does not do anything. Until Obama gets serious ( and honest) about our deficits and spending, we will continue to sink. I say, do not raise the debt ceiling and shut the governmentt down - Alternatively let's let both sides agree to just let the sequestered spending cuts take effect -Obama advocated shutting the government down in 2008 when he and every other Dem voted against raising the debt limit
The question not asked: Re, the debt ceiling. In 2006 you said that raising the debt limit was a sign of leadership failure. Why isn't it a sign of failed leadership today?
Donee want to be remembered as the last generation of the old order or the first generation of the new order, that is what is at stake.
It's all a show for our amusement to keep us from truly seeing the facade of our economy which is built on the buying and selling of money which does not exist and goods which have to be cheaply made and break to keep the robots that make them working at maximum capacity.
Over 80% of employees in the us are in the service business, the remainder are in either healthcare or government.
Ludwig Von Mises said it himself, this system cannot last, it will either completely crash or be forsaken by rational people. Our parents bought the lie, and raised us to accept its our job as good little consumers to make lots of money to spend on crap we don't need.
But we can change, and we will, it's a matter of voluntary or involuntary refusal of the system. Most people know its a sham and a Ponzi Scheme, but buy in because they don't know any other way to e comfortable and amused.