President calls debt crisis 'self-created'
July 20th, 2011
08:08 PM ET
12 years ago

President calls debt crisis 'self-created'

Washington (CNN) - As President Barack Obama sat down with television stations from three key political states, he said he is still hopeful the White House and congressional leadership will come to an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling but said politics is interfering.

"This is actually a self-created crisis in some ways. It has to do with folks who are digging into set positions rather than saying how do we solve a problem," the president told KMBC, a CNN affiliate in Kansas City, Missouri.

When asked if people can expect their Social Security checks in August, he told the station it is not guaranteed.

"I am going to do everything in my power to make sure they do. My interest here is not scaring people. I want everyone to understand the consequences. If you don't have money you have to make very difficult choices. The fact of the matter is if you don't raise the debt ceiling then we have more obligations - 70 million checks have to be sent out - and all of those have to be covered."

Saying "there is no reason this should be a problem," Obama urged all the parties again to take "a sensible approach" to the issue, emphasizing a solution should also include major deficit reduction that has both spending cuts and brings in more revenue.

He again complimented the "Gang of Six" proposal, which he said shows both Republicans and Democrats can compromise. The plan, which has bipartisan support among senators, includes both revenue increases and cuts in entitlement programs.

"If we have that kind of philosophy, then over the next couple of weeks hopefully we can put this behind us," Obama said.

While several of the interviewers pushed him on presidential politics, he mostly stayed above the fray.

Asked by KMBC who among the Republican presidential contenders could beat him, he laughed for a second and said, "I have to tell you I am so occupied right now doing the people's business that I am just not spending a lot of time right now worrying about the Republican field."

Obama did say he thought voters will base their election on their perception of his performance and not as much on the efforts of his would-be Republican challenger.

"If next November they feel like I have been on their side and I've been working as hard as I can and I have been getting some things done to move us in the right direction I will win," the president said. "If they don't, then I will lose. That is not to say that the other candidate is irrelevant, but it does say I am probably going to win or lose based on their assessment of my stewardship."

Asked by WBNS, a CNN affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, what his strategy was to win that key state next year, he said, "I'm not thinking about elections. I'm thinking about all the families that I hear back from in Ohio and across the country who are, you know, struggling, maybe a spouse has lost a job, they used to have two paychecks, now they got one, trying to make ends meet."

Obama said if the economy grows and other problems are solved, then "politics will care of itself. And that's going to be true in Ohio, that's going to be true across the country."

He said on both stations that Americans understand the nation's economic problems were not created overnight and that progress, although slower than many had hoped for, is happening.

"What people want to know is that we're moving in the right direction even if they're frustrated with how fast we're moving," Obama said. "We need to speed it up, but I think the trajectory's a good one," he told WBNS.

You can follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter @KevinBohnCNN.

Filed under: Budget • Debt • Deficit • President Obama
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. TomInRochNY

    Yes, it is self-created. The Rs seem to be willing to do anything to prevent anything from getting done. They waste time on passing useless bills that have absolutely no chance of getting to the presidents' desk. Yet they won't even try to create a jobs bill, what they compaigned on in 2010, which has a chance at bi-partisan support. Helping average Americans seems to be beneath them.

    July 21, 2011 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  2. Seriously

    This is a 'self created' problem! WASHINGTON IS TO BLAME FOR ALL OF THIS! 1 trillion $ for health care, 1 trillion for the stimulus package... All on Obamas watch.

    July 21, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  3. Jeff in Illinois

    The debt ceiling cannot be raised because as soon as Obama agrees with a Republican proposal, it instantly becomes a bad idea and the Republicans abandon it. They are just too entrenched in the mindset that if Obama is for it, they're against it.

    July 21, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  4. MrBig

    In the next few days the US credit rating will be downgraded which will increase interest rates because the Teapublicans won't do what they did 11 times under Bush, raise the debt ceiling to avoid default. In effect, the Teapublicans have RAISED taxes on every American and have just INCREASED the deficit because borrowing costs will soar. Nice going wingnuts.

    July 21, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  5. jimmy23

    Obama created this "crisis". Period.
    1) He's the one who started the threats of not giving away tax payers money.
    2) He's the one who has been in office increasing spending rather then attempting to control it.
    3) He's the one who will benefit if a deal gets rammed through because "we're out of time".
    I hope that the opposition to Obama and his dems will hold out. Let the country default... it's going to happen either way. Our bills are too big, and getting bigger under Obama.

    July 21, 2011 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  6. guest1555

    thats the answer for everything obama–SPEND SPEND SPEND.....

    July 21, 2011 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  7. Frank - Ohio

    Self-created = OBAMA!

    He waited until this week to begin to get involved. But where is his plan? His plan was a budget proposal which continued to raise the national debt by $10 TRILLION! That is his plan. This madness must stop now.

    July 21, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  8. William Billetdeaux

    Your'e right Mr. President, this problem was self created. Your own spending has put us here.If you had gotten out of the war in the east like you had promised us in your own campaign promises, and not continued to spend all that money over sea's and instead spent all that money on our own boders and country the United States would be better off. But you Mr. President went back on your word like all wanta be presidents do when it comes to campaigning . You promise the sun and the moon, and instead of doing what you promised you would do, you back out like a coward.You have put us here, along with the congress with all there earmarks and pork projects.You are not the only one to blame.The illusion of a peoples goverment actually working for the people can't happen unless it actually is for the people.Try keeping your promises.

    July 21, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
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