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. Mom to 3

    Our President is SO head and shoulders above the Republicans that have made raising the debt ceilling an issue when it has never been an issue before. The GOP is playing politics and trying to force our President to "give them something" in return for raising the debt ceiling when before the partisan politics of the GOP the debt ceiling was simply voted on with no demands. I will DEFINITELY be voting for President Obama in 2012 - there is NO ONE in the Republican party who cares about the middle class and investing in our country's future. President Obama would have brought us so much farther forward by now if not for the "Party of NO" that has voted against everything our President has tried to do simply to give themselves a political advantage. I don't think Americans are falling for it - they know who is on their side and who is putting country first by compromising (President Obama) and who is only representing the ultra-rich who don't want to pay taxes and who is putting their political power grab before what is best for our country (the Republicans).

    July 20, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. GOP = Greed Over People

    President Obama, just invoke the 14th Amendment and then have the House GOP tea baggers over for a play date and serve cookies and milk, then tuck them in bed for a nap and be done with this drama.

    Moody's has already stated they will take the U.S. of the watch list if the debt ceiling is abandoned.

    One tip, let Cantor be "Queen for a Day" and wear the tiara, and maybe he will stay for the entire play period.

    July 20, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. old and broke

    O.K. Mr President give me the bottom line. Should I give my landlord notice that I can't pay next months rent, because I am not getting anymore Social Security checks. I am now 72 not able to work. You see walking is a problem without my cane. I am rather sure Walmart is not going to hire me to stock shelves. Do you and the congress have any idea what you are doing to the seniors in this country. Without social security checks we are on the streets or worst.


    July 20, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. Hammerer

    Of course everyone has their heels dug in except Obama.
    The threat to veto a bill if it passes both chambers is not compromise is it?
    The threat to veto any bill without tax increases is not digging in your heels is it?
    But Obama is above the average man so he expects exceptions. That is one BIG reason the debt is about to collapse America as we know it today

    July 20, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. maestro

    Isn't Obama stating the obvious? Did we all forget how we "averted" a government shutdown back in April? Now its July and instead of facing a government shutdown, we're facing a government bankruptcy!

    July 20, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. Edyvan

    Excellent answers, Mr. President....regardless of what happens, you already have my vote.

    July 20, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  7. Drogo, the Khal who bit the dust

    Everything Congress does ends up being a crisis. It is simple fact they fail in their constitutional responsibilities. They are unable to keep promises and continually look for a scapegoat.


    July 20, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. Jaime

    I am wondering you he thinks "self-created" this?

    July 20, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. Remford

    Just don't forget to count yourself among the so-called self-creators of this crisis, Mr. President – as you plan to just keep on spending.

    July 20, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. chris

    It's funny that Obama says he's been too busy doing the people's business. What about all the fundraising and stumping for 2012 Mr President? Or did the teleprompter not say that?

    July 20, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. Jerry

    Who can really believe this clueless president? Because he's got no plans of his own, he'll sway any way the wind blows. Always using the smoke and mirror tactics that he's notoriously famous for.

    And guess what, some of us are drinking his spiced Kool Aid!

    Oh well... What else is new!

    July 20, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. JiminNM

    I agree, Obama himself and countless other politicians, corporate leaders, banksters and other crooked, unethical, immoral, greedy individuals created the crisis and expect real Americans to foot the bill.

    July 20, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  13. Ray Leesburg ,Fl

    WHAT happened to the 2.6 Trillion Dollars in the Trust Fund ?????????????????????????????????????

    July 20, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. Calvin

    Obama should admit that he is the first to be "self-created"., an incompetent president that lead by opportunity. America is the lead of the world and here we have an "opportunity, & freshman" fresident.

    July 20, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. .mslulu

    He is right! The Republicans are just not being sensible at this point. They are just trying to make Obama fail and theyve made that clear. Why are they doing this to our country now??! They raised the debt ceiling 7 times while Bush was in office!!! They have really warped minds that they would put the country in harms way just to make their political points. I am so ashamed that they are acting like little kids & not adults..& right now we need adults! If we default then our country will go into crisis..literally! I am praying right now that President Obama & the Democrats can do what needs to be done to keep this from happening. & its sad that the Republican towliners are no help at all.

    July 20, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. Peter s

    "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." Yes Mr. President a sensible approach is the way to go however, it should start with people owning responsibility of their mistake. Look, consider the two signature GOP policies of Bush's presidency, the wars and the tax cuts. Wars alone have costed over $1.7 trillion to date. Add another trillion other than direct war cost , which is paid to the contractors but a catastrophic for the federal budget. Add other trillions spent of creating "GOP BIG GOVERNMENT" the gestapo a.k.a Homeland Security department. Bush tax cuts have added another $ 3 trillion on red ink. While the Republicans whine about businesses being overtaxed, facts and figures leads to something else. As of today the 400 wealthiest Americans holds more wealth than the rest of the American society combined together,,IT'S OKAY TO BE RICH INFACT IT'S GREAT but while the GOP claims that, those wealthy people use their wealth to create jobs and taxing them will be bad for the economy. BUT if thats a fact why was the job creation in the decade after the Bush tax cuts poor than before World War 11?. Traders are growing weary of political posturing on U.S debt ceiling, the tactics applied by both parties has grown tiresome to the credit market participants!! time to shoulder responsibility for this Great Nation is now!!

    July 20, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  17. Steve wisconsin

    I think they are playing Good Cop (Dems) Bad Cop (Repubs) and they both have the same goal; to keep the powerful interest groups happy and tax cuts for the rich and make the middle and working class pay for it all.

    July 20, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  18. booyah1

    more wars, more debt, more unemployment. say goodbye

    July 20, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    the president has to accept the fact, though he won't admit it in public, that this group of Republicans have decided NOT to work with him nor agree with him on ANYTHING he says or does in an effort to make him a one-term president. Had Obama decided as he voted in the Senate NOT to raise the debt ceiling every GOPer from Michele Bachmann on down to Allen West would have disagreed and gone against him on it. Just check out their pattern. Everything from Cap and Trade to the Dream Act the Repubs have flip/flopped on just because President Obama was also in favor of it. And they didn't care what the outcome of their flip/flopping was. This time though they might have gotten stuck in their own web. Republicans are at a low 28% approval rating with Americans and that's lower than the president and the Democrats. More people polled would blame them if the economy fails and less people think the GOP is on the right track with their ideas on improving the economy. The Ryan Plan is in the tank with most Americans as well. People may be finally waking up from the fog they were in back in Nov 2010 and have seen enough of the Tea Party as well.

    July 20, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  20. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    The GOBPbaggers are by far the most responsible for the "self-created" debt problem right now. Well over half of the long term deficit was created by the Greedy Old Pigs, starting with St. Ronny. The Greedy Old Pigs own the debt and now expect us to trust them to now have the solutions. Y'know, if a garage consistently made my car run worse each time I went there, the last thing I'd do is expect them to fix the problem on the fourth visit. I'd try a mechanic with a better track record.

    It becomes clearer and clearer each day that the Greedy Old Pigs are an un-patriotic corporatist cult that favors the interests of only big corporations and the ultrawealthy. Our nation's future should not be trusted to politicians who give America lower priority than the interests of those who bought and paid for their political favors.

    July 20, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  21. SoundForest

    Something Mr. Obama said true! Kids from a rich family who are ingrateful about life all suffer later in life. Life is fair.

    July 20, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  22. disgrace to america

    any debt deal must include removing obama from office otherwise he will just go right back to his disgraceful spending ....

    July 20, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  23. SoundForest

    I mean, "Something true that Mr. Obama said."

    July 20, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  24. Peter

    With all due respect, Mr. President, you are dug into a position just as much as the others in Washington. The "Do as I say, not as I do" mentality does not get things done. I am wishing now that I didn't vote for you, and I won't be voting for your reelection. You are not an effective leader. Effective leaders get things done by working with their supporters as well as their detractors.

    July 20, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  25. James

    Yep–And Obama created it !!!

    July 20, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
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