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.
LOl...What is the comment by Hillcrster...Maybe you should go back to school to learn how to spell for one thing..The deficit has gone up...Read my lips, it was not 16 Trillion when Bush left office... Facts matter.
Stop draining the non-profit sectors of our economy in order to give tax cuts to the for-profit sectors.
Relieve the debt overhang holding back the economy by reducing homeowner and student debt burdens.
Ensure the right to accessible and affordable utilities – heat, electricity, phone, internet, and public transportation – through democratically run, publicly owned utilities that operate at cost, not for profit.
Maintain and upgrade our nation's essential public infrastructure, including highways, railways, electrical grids, water systems, schools, libraries, and the Internet, resisting privatization or policy manipulation by for-profit interests.
Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.
Break up the oversized banks that are “too big to fail,” starting with Bank of America.
Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.
End bailouts for the financial elite and use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.
There they go again! TEA-Republican's trying to micro-manage the presidency and taking us to a dead-beat nation. Woe the day that happens! Obama is right, we should pay our bills! His analogy was dead-on. We have enetered into an agreement to pay for all these services and we should honor our commitment and not bow down to the firnge elements controlling the Republican party. After listening to General Colin Powell yesterday on Face the Nation, I'm positive the TEA-Republican's are dead-set on taking down Obama after he won decisively in November! We must provide Obama with a Democratically controlled House and Senate to effect the real change we need. Cowing down to the elite fringe who hold the House and Senate hostage, and who are determined to micro-manage the presidency, is tantamount to treason by any Senator or Representative. We must remember that money and power in the hands of fewer and fewer people with stricter less compassion has taken hold in many states and Washington is their next target. Do not sit on the sidelines and allow others to make decisions that will effect you, or your family directly, without your input. Get active in local, state and national politics and keep yourselves informed. We can make a great change in the 2014 Mid-term election!
The best way to cut spending is to increase taxes. You have to pass a law making it illegal to borrow, and if you go over the budget there will be an automatic tax increase to cover it, effective immediately. Thats how you cut spending. You suffer the CONSEQUENCES of the reverse. Wake up people.
Bring monetary policy under democratic control by prohibiting private banks from creating money, thus restoring government's Constitutional authority.
Let pension funds be managed by boards controlled by workers, not corporate managers.
Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.
Require banks to use honest bookkeeping so that toxic assets cannot be hidden or sold to unsuspecting persons.
Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.
Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means nationalizing the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and placing them under a Federal Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.
Establish federal, state, and municipal publicly-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities and focus on helping people, not enriching themselves.
GURGYL, stop the RACIST nonsense; if we can't have a black President without being called racist everytime we challenge or disagree with them, I hope we never have another! Just part of the racial politics that Obama has lived since he APPEARED six years ago.
See second earthquake coming to america by dr owour.
All the people who think the solution is "Stop spending money you don't have" don't have a clue what they are talking about not spending. If you are a homeonwer, do you stop spending on the mortgage, go into foreclosure and move into a one-bedroom apartment with your family of four? You can do that. Do let the car you use to go to work be repossessed and hitchike or walk to work? You can do that too. Do you stop taking your blood pressure meds, make your kid drop out of college and go to work at McDonald's? So do it. It's called "austerity."
What will stop congress or the President from spending more money after the debt ceiling is raised? NOTHING.
Provide tuition-free education from kindergarten through college, thus eliminating the student debt crisis.
Forgive existing student debt.
Protect our public school systems from privatization
I'm being facetious here, I know, by asking this question – Did he once mention anything about stopping the flow of money and arms to the muslim brotherhood? That would save a tremendous amount of money, plus, it would stop helping our enemies. I guess he didn't mention that, did he?
p.s. Notice how my post doesn't require an insult to a specific party to make sense? This is everyone's problem and I take personal responsibility for my country's debt. Maybe if the rest of you did the same we could get something done.
Quit spending money like you have an endless supply!!!!! The deficit you've created is a b s u r d.
"We are not a deadbeat nation" Well yea 53% of us aren't, the rest voted for you.
Provide complete, affordable, quality health care for every American through an improved Medicare-for-all insurance program.
Allow full access to all medically justified contraceptive and reproductive care.
Expand women's access to the "morning after" contraception by lifting the Obama Administration's ban.
Roll back the community drivers of chronic disease, including poor nutrition, health-damaging pollution, and passive dirty transportation.
Avoid chronic diseases by investing in essential community health infrastructure such as local, fresh, organic food systems, pollution-free renewable energy, phasing out toxic chemicals, and active transportation such as bike paths and safe sidewalks that dovetail with public transit.
End overcharging for prescription drugs by using bulk purchasing negotiations.
Ensure that consumers have essential information for making informed food choices by expanding product labeling requirements for country of origin, GMO content, toxic chemical ingredients, fair trade practices, etc.
Kenman - notice how you blame the president for something congress has control over? Interesting.
Why don't they arrest Bush? and his contractors?
Now I know why this nation refuses to lock up mentally ill people, no one left in government!~
pass bill with all tax loopholes for the interest groups, and them blame on the President when it is time to pay. The House continue to play the game with credit rating, one day everyone will have to pay. now 20-30% revenue goes to interest, soon it would be 50% tax revenue to pay the interest on the debt.
But what Boehner knows and is using against some Americans is that some have no idea or understanding what it means to raise the debt ceiling. GOP and Tea feed on the ignorant and weak minded - this is not the Republican Party anymore just radical/ extremist power and money hungry politicians who will step on anyone for their own personal agendas and for their friends.
NO Mr.Boehner...what Americans WANT is debt ceiling issue resolved QUICKLY...with no more DRAMA...with no STRINGS ATTACHED...and with NO THREATS FROM GOP SHUTTING DOWN OUR GOVERNMENT.
Hey Mr Prez if you are so set on saving money, how about taking a less expensive vacation next time. Don't you think $7 million is just a little over the top? You 'folks' certainly like to live it up at the taxpayers expense.
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.
I like the head line, don't blow up the economy, but was it not his administration that jacked up the nation debt to 16 TRILLIOIN dollars plus, an increase of over 7 TRILLION dollars in 4 years. All this spending and no real cuts.