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. John

    Paying for bills you ran up is different than running up more bills and saying we need to pay our bills. Only a crazy lib would think these are the same thing.
    Stop the crazy taxing and spending. Or do you think Obama is telling the truth when he says "we cut billions already".
    It was about jobs while the campaign was going on. Apparently it was just another big Obama lie.

    January 14, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Bob

    If the congress wants to reduce spending, then pass a bill that reduces spending. The debt ceiling has to be raised because it is money we've already spent. Pass legislation that prevents us from reaching it before the next one, and there won't be a debt ceiling discussion again. Don't screw our credit rating and then preach fiscal responsibility.

    January 14, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Hillcrester

    Obama made it perfectly clear: If the GOP wants us to fail to oay Cingress' bills and/or shut down the government, they will get it. And $110B sequester, half from defense, here we come.

    I hope the Prez learned from the past two years the futility of playing the GOP's game. It's his court, his ball, and time to play for keeps.

    I foresee a Dem House majority in 2014.

    January 14, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. mrwhatwhatwhatyo

    I hear a whole lot of finger pointing and no one willing to work together for the good of this society. All ego. very annoying

    January 14, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. stevephoenix

    As Senator, Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling and called President Bush "irresponsible" and "reckless" for doing so. Too bad the media didn't have the gonads to point this out to Obama in a followup question.

    January 14, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Congress is the most stupid in nation's history. Cry on congress instead of president. Ok. Do not be racist. No jealousy.

    January 14, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Preserve our Republic

    Deadbeat against our children and our Republic.
    Not all deadbeats are because of money.

    January 14, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    We might not be a deadbeat nation, but we are a nation with a spending problem and could very well end up as a "deadbeat" if we don't get things under control.

    January 14, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. Hillcrester

    Wingfield–The deficut HAS NOT gone up the last three years. Facts matter.

    January 14, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Peter Clarke

    congress is responsible for spending, now all of a sudden the GOP wants to curb spending by holding the debt ceiling hostage. Vote for a line item veto, term limits, limited corporate subsidies, and all that pork they pack into every bill and you'll have a balanced budget in no time. Obama should not be the republican's scapegoat.

    January 14, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. edmundburkeson

    A strategy emerges. Failure to pass Obama's (or should we say Bush's tax cuts) would result in a fiscal cliff. Failure to raise the debt ceiling will result in a worldwide market fiasco. Spreading mass hysteria prior to bullying legislators in the Obama way.

    January 14, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. statnine

    I have two daughters about the ages of the President's and admire the candor of the President regarding his time to socialize increasing as they get older. I also get a better sense of the measure of the man. His priorities are in the right place. Talking with vampires is a blood sport he no doubt is great at and probably enjoys none to little. Being a great dad is an intellectual challenge his political opponents may not be up to for the most part(isan).

    January 14, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. pmangr

    So the GOP doesn't want the US to pay the debt that they ran up from 2000-2006? NICE!

    January 14, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. MollyBee

    Fact #1. The President did not get our economy into the free-fall we experienced in 2008. Fact #2. The GOP has contributed to the public debt and the last GOP administration was reckless with the economy. Fact #3. The GOP lost the faith of the American people by insisting that they have had NOTHING to do with the public debt. Fact #4. The President is right when he says the debt needs to be resolved in a responsible way. Fact #5. The GOP has used the economic crisis to place blame on entitlement spending, SS and Medicare and are willing to dismantle all of that in order to pursue their debunked theory that "trickle down" economics is the end-all for a healthy country (governing through crises). Fact #6. The President is absolutely correct when he says the American people do not want our economy held hostage by a group of overly-zealous Tea Party extremists who have sold their souls to various pledges and groups. Fact #7. The Congress had better act responsibly and learn how to negotiate in good faith or the GOP will definitely be blamed for futher damage to our credit rating and our economy.

    January 14, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. MDPETE

    We might not be a deadbeat nation, but we are a nation with a spending problem and could very well end up as a "deadbeat" if we don't get things under control.

    January 14, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. Roney

    Everytime I read something online its complaining that the government isnt doing anything for the people. Complaint after complaint is all that I read. People throwing blame on anyone they can place blame on. I just wish these same people who are complaining and saying were going down the wrong road actually provide logical suggestions on how we can help our country move forward. Find a way that all people are able to find jobs and have money in their pockets and talk about bunch of nonsense whenever they can get a change to. Lets stop the kiddy cry me a river complaining and start helping this country move forward.

    President Obama is here so deal with it and lets find a way to help this government move forward. That it all folks.

    January 14, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. lilred

    The pary of fiscal responsibility does not want to pay bills that it has alsready incurred? Can it be? I would love to do the same with my bills. But then, I aam not a rich old white guy.

    January 14, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. Name Rick

    Obama has run this nation of ours into the dirt along with the liberals and the unions.

    January 14, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Ray E. (Georgia)

    After the Depression in the 1930's many Social Programs were put in place so this would never happen again. You would think, after all these years the problem would be fixed. So, I have to ask all you Liberal's, WHAT HOPPEN? Many of you support those programs that were supposed to put us on Easy Street. And you voted cfor it. The 16.4 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt is a Glaring Failure of the Liberal Left. How much longer will you support these Porgrams and Socalisim??

    January 14, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "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."

    No, it's an undeniable issue of him having actually made cuts. Grow up and inform yourself.

    January 14, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. MacV

    Rudy NYC wrote ...only 1.4% over..."
    Yes, when the individual doing the calculating used the same baseline UNTIL Obama's first term. Then the individual used a different baseline to show Obama in a better light. Look it up. The 1.4% has been discredited.

    January 14, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Willie12345

    Until Barry makes some real serious spending cuts that can be measured and confirm, the House should hold it's ground. Too many cronies have gotten rich off of Obama.

    January 14, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Jim

    Always entertaining to watch a 'great comminucator and divide-healer" demand a blank check.

    I understand Obama believes he ahs dictatorial powers like Hugo but he doesn't. Try some negotiations and while you're at it Mr. President, convince your own people (that would be Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate) to pass a budget which is their constitutional duty.

    January 14, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Chris

    Why does Obama already want to threaten the Republican/Congress with a failed economy yet he's quick to take all of the past 5 years of growth? Hmmm ....... a leader he's not!

    January 14, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. Cheryl

    Barack Obama is the most divisive President ever. I agree he blames everyone and anyone but himself and his party for their troubles. The average person's common sense tells them if you spend and owe more than you take in you're heading for a catastrophe. You can't just keep going to a wealthy person with hat in hand looking for more of their money. You have to implement a budget, CUT SPENDING and start paying down your debt. I do not hear anything remotely in Presidident Obama's speech that addresses that. The question regarding socializing with opposition members was correct. Unfortunately Obama is too busy appearing on talk shows and shmoozing with his celebrity friends aka people that agree with him

    January 14, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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