Gergen: Will Obama's barbs help or hurt debt talks?
June 29th, 2011
05:44 PM ET
12 years ago

Gergen: Will Obama's barbs help or hurt debt talks?

Editor's note:David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has been an adviser to four presidents. He is professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Follow him on Twitter.

(CNN) - "When they won't see the light," goes the old saying, "make 'em feel the heat." That was the strategy President Obama employed today in his press conference as he skewered Republicans over deficit negotiations. But where will it lead?

The president likely scored political points with two arguments. First, he skillfully made the case that in refusing to end tax breaks for oil companies, millionaires, and CEOs on corporate jets, Republicans are taking money away from hard-pressed Americans who need help. Who would want to do that?


Filed under: Budget • Debt • President Obama
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. RJWTimes Bradford England

    Obama has to think strategically and sensibly on the debt? How much debt, how fast and by who will pay it off? The poor working class, the squeezed middle or the have it easy rich?

    June 29, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Obama argued that the debt ceiling is not some abstraction but "a jobs issue."
    Who set this debt ceiling in the first place? Why did they set it at only like $14 trillion? How could they do such a reckless thing with American finances? Why wasn't Obama consulted?

    Obama set the debt limit that he is now in trouble with. Ironic, isn't it?!?

    June 29, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Brian

    The President is screwed because when he acts tough, the media makes a big deal about it. If he appears to compromise, then he is not leading and being week. The media and its spin seems to have more of an impact on the way we all perceive this president and all of the hard work he is doing. He is moving this country forward and facing headwinds from the media, the GOP and even liberals that just do not understand strategy and politics as a whole. Gays want him to commit political suicide and say that he is for gay marriage before he is re-elected, the GOP wants him to fail by removing support for legislation that they once supported and the media spins it all so hard, even his supporter believe he is doing a poor job. All to say, the guy just cant win. Maybe George Bush was not a bad President after all.

    June 29, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Who would want to do that?"

    Earth to David Gergen. Are you there? Are you with us? Are you awake and paying attention? To answer your question: the corporate plutocrats running around calling themselves GOPers. If you hadn't figured that out yet, then you're not paying attention or just too darn programmed to give the GOP the benefit of the doubt. They've literally declared war on the middle-class for electing Obama. It's corproate plutocracy or bust...they simlpy can't stand the idea of the public electing another Dem ever again, particularly the brown ones.

    "But as we have seen in the past, Obama can turn off the inside-the-Beltway crowd even as he builds public support for his position."

    Well, as they say: out with the old, in with the new. You need the newest firmware update for your bobblehead thinking caps, that's all. 72%? Given that 30-something percent will knee-jerk criticize him if he were to walk on water (no doubt saying something along the lines of "see? I told you they can't swim"), 72% is fairly remarkable...and you guys blew it. Your thinking is in a rut. Open your eyes and stop applying what you've been trained to consider the conventional wisdom.

    June 29, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Bob S Philadelphia, Pa

    The reason he hates talking about the economy is because he knows nothing about what to do or say he is CLUELESS , this debt ceiling will directly impact my money and I still want them to default the line has to be drawn some where. this CLOWN needs to be removed from office start IMPEACHMENT paperwork

    June 29, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. A Kickin` Donkey

    Mr. President –

    I hope you re-watch the "Untouchables" and remember the dying words of Sean Conery`s character to Kevin Costner : "What are YOU prepared TO DO?"

    The Senate MUST REFUSE to send you a bill that does not include the revenue items [oil industry sudbidies, regular tax rates for hedgefund managers, corporate jet subsidies] & the DOD cuts that the American people are demanding.

    The Republicans will attempt to only send you the "spending cuts" that they want along with the Debt Limit language. They will do this at the 11th hour and DARE you to veto it so that YOU could be blamed for the US defaulting.

    You gotta beat them to the punch and be ready drop the bomb on them. Force them to send you a bill at least a month before the deadline.

    Suspend pay to Congress now.

    June 29, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. once upon a horse

    Maybe just MAYBE this time the President is NOT going to back down from the bullies on the other side. Only the down to earth hardcore Obama haters (and yes there are some) would not be willing to back the POTUS on this. The American people in poll after poll agree with the president, heck even some wealthy people agree with him. The Republicans must think their "dumbing down of America" worked on all of us because how can you keep saying that tax cuts create jobs and you don't raise taxes on the job creators. Well where in the heck ARE the jobs and the job creators are making money hand over fist and not hiring anybody and CEOs are getting their bonuses once again. Not sure if what Obama did will work, but at least he was able to get his side of the story out especially after being slammed by all these 2012ers the past few weeks and not having a chance to get a word of defense in.

    June 29, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    I always respect David Gergen views and the way he express his views is very gentle

    “Spending only an hour and a half with his Treasury secretary on the economy.” I totally disagree. Obama is very active president he never take his eyeball form major issues
    “Today’s press conference: It will prompt hard feelings among conservative leaders” again I disagree we had enough with republicans
    2010 we thought republicans will understand the current situation work with president but they proved again they will only work for top 2%
    Seniors and middleclass lived in fixed income
    Utility bills are going up, property tax going up , groceries prices are going up, gas price is going up now republicans try take back all the small benefits from seniors and middle class
    At the same time in the name of tax break republicans are stimulating rich and big companies bank accounts
    Seniors and middle class ready to contribute their shares in proportion (ratio) basis republicans are not ready

    June 29, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. Okie

    It can't hurt. America deserves what it gets. The Tea Party has had Pensions, Teacher pay and bonuse cuts, .while talking about the deficit. Forget about tax breaks for the rich. Regean said that he didn't care about a deficit, and wasn't worried about the grandchildren. Where were they, during GW Bushs 8 years? Working on the deficit won't create jobs, STUPID. Its a Tea Party smoke screen. A Service based, Wall Street, Jet flyin economy, where nothing is made, won't work.

    June 29, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    They won't hurt. The republicans need to be ridiculed, embarrassed, flogged, egged, and locked in cages in the publc square. They are ALL smoking some wacky-tabacky if they think they have the people's approval. (Maybe a few right-wing nutjobs, but not regular people).

    June 29, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    If he thinks he can use public opinion to sway the GOP, he is dead wrong. The GOP feel their mandate has already been set by the public........stop the spending.

    June 29, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. ED FL

    This Gergen is just another Buchanan,a couple hanger ons that just keep yapping about how wrong everybody is yet they do not want to throw there hat in the ring and TRY to get in a position to show how what poor leaders they would be.They get patronage jobs and just run their mouths about everybody and everything and how incompetent the leaders are . Quit blabbering and contribute or try running for office.I know Buchanan was one of DC'sprolific draft dodgers and gergen seems to be another one.Do something or SHUT up.

    June 29, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    The President needs to call the rethugs' bluff. The middle class, the poor and seniors have spoken. We want the rich to carry some of the weight. They are all right back to where they were (or never left) after the crash in 2007-2008.
    If the tea baggers can revolt (and they are revolting) we can do the same by calling congress and the WH.
    I don't know one single person, well, okay, at least one very rich person, who is for the rethugs (this includes democrats and repuglikans).

    June 29, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |