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. acspore

    I completely agree with the President, totallly manufactured, in fact, the debt ceiling law is a silly artificial barrier that no other advanced nation has. You should be dealing with spending and income without SELF-limiting the ability to borrow. Especially so in a "jobless" and fragile economy. If you're a family of 4 with no job, maxed-out credit, mortgage to pay, BUT you can have access to loans, why would ANYONE self-impose one's ability to pay your bills so you can continue to live in your home while looking for work??? You cut of your nose to spite your face because you're part of a tiny minority who cannot accept a black President??? This is "Country First"??? Stupid, hypocritical CONServatives

    July 20, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  2. jt_flyer

    Of course it's self-created. Now we must ask ourselves "why would a political system create a crisis?" follow the money...

    July 20, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  3. cullenpest

    Self-created? Politicians from both parties put us here, but Obama came in spending like he won
    the lotto. He buried us way deeper in a hole then we have ever been. His wife has more assistants then
    any other first lady, and for what? The waste in Washington is now worse because Barrack was a huge waste
    of three years. Now he is concerned about the marriage act! His solution to the energy crisis is "Go buy a electric car!"
    Get serious about our economy Mr. President or don't even bother running again, or you surely won't get my vote this time!

    July 20, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. Redeye Dog

    President calls debt crisis 'self-created'

    It's so ironic he should admit that...

    July 20, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  5. robert

    One of the best presidents the US has ever had. But most of the american people don't have the brains to realize it. They believe the bible thumping and scare tactics of the GOP but don't seem to understand that the GOP doesn't give a darn about them. Unless you are in the top 5% wage earners the GOP doesn't represent you. It was the GOP that got american into this mess, don't blame Obama because it is taking a little more time to fix than everyone wanted. Blame yourself for voting for Bush, twice.

    July 20, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  6. Dave

    The crisis is self-created with the stated motive from Republicans of making Obama a one term president. The GOP is doing what it said was their top priority.

    July 20, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Wise1Speak


    President Bush and the GOP-led Congress of 2000-2006 was handed a SURPLUS when President Clinton left office in January-2001. However, Bush and the GOP-led Congress plundered the surplus and took the nation into debt by:

    (1.) plowing into two wars without paying for them;
    (2.) providing tax-cuts for the rich without paying for them,
    (3.) enacting national drug plan without paying for them;
    (4.) providing $billions in tax subsidies to oil companies and corporations without paying for them;
    (5.) providing Wall Street bailout without paying for them.

    And now many of the same HYPOCRITICAL Republican Tea Party GOP representatives that voted for all the bills that plunged the nation into debt, are now obstructing President Obama from using his $4.7Trillion BIG DEAL to significantly pay-down the debt. The HYPOCRITICAL Republican Tea Party would rather see the nation plunge into national catastrophe, if that is what it takes to destroy Barack Obama's Presidency.

    July 20, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. mfb

    ""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..." this coming from the president who has stated he will not accept any "deal" that doesn't increase the debt ceiling beyond what is needed to extend beyond the 2012 elections.

    July 20, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  9. Peter Hans Frohwein

    I am glad to see the President is putting the credit where the credit is due.

    Using the dept ceiling to achieve other political goals, has been highly irresponsible
    on the part of the GOP in Congress.

    July 20, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  10. JB

    Interesting that Obama says he has been too busy doing the peoples business to be concerned about the republican field, yet he is averaging a trip for a campaign fund raiser every 3 days.

    July 20, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  11. 8CY8

    Well,All the money was spent in the wars that is not your country and like to be number 1 at all costs.Also donate millions and millions to the third countries. Is a waste of money. Now is the time to pay back the debts. One word "speechless".

    July 20, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  12. TB

    Our President is absolutely correct...idealogical rigidness and a refusal to compromise is going to destroy this country. Entitlements are going to have to be cut, foreign military occupations are going to have to be ended, and taxes on the rich are going to have to be raised if this issue is ever really going to be solved. If GWB would have left the tax rates as they were when Bill Clinton left office, and would have stayed out of Iraq, we wouldn't be in half the mess we are in right now. Now everybody is going to have to compromise if we are going to ever get out of this mess.

    July 20, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Once again, the theology the GOP adopted is causing the entrenchment. Everyone recognises that changes in entitlements, like means testing, need to be adopted. The problem are the idiots on the Right who have suddenly concluded, after years of screaming about loopholes in the tax code that have caused untold billions to move out of the country, that closing these same loopholes are a tax increase. Thats nonsense. Couple that with an insistence on cutting tax rates that have not produced the kind of economic growth they promised, and you have the current problems. Tax cuts always produced an increase in debt, and they MAY give a burst of economic activity, but you are still left with the debt regardless of whether or not there is the anticipated growth. The 90s were unusual in the sense that we saw a budget surplus ( which was almost immediately blown by W, and the tax cuts never produced either the level of confidence or economic growth that had been hoped for). The task is simple: raise the debt ceiling, institute means testing, allow the Bush tax cuts to die. If Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are endorsing it, thats proof this is not a Left-wing fantasy. The Left will compromise if the Right meets them halfway: thats the genius of our system. People need to abandon theology and embrace reality. The reality is we need a deal fast to move forward.

    July 20, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. Sue

    Self-created crisis.....didn't he say this was a crisis etc.....He talks out oneside of his mouth today, another side tomorrow. Be leader and stop being a complainer!

    July 20, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  15. Paul Verlaine

    "Obama says IF the economy improves.."
    Yes, he's been saying that for almost three years now.
    "..AND other problems are solved..."
    Yes, like when he leaves the White House in January, 2012.

    July 20, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  16. Chicago Nick

    This man has no shame and he's lost control of the ship and were this a pirate vessel he'd be facing a mutiny any second. He may be facing that anyhow as he just spins on his own little merry go round pointing at everyone else when all the indicators point to his ineptitude in business and complete lack of anything resembling executive experience.

    That's why his local level dem public service Union Jackboot henchmen coppers are always shutting down lemonade stands everywhere you look, their success makes HIM look bad as even THEY get economics 101- like the little girl in the commercial who takes her dads cell for the day and turns it into an empire while he's still lugging his briefcase at the end of the day.

    So much for the liberal myth generated during the Bush years, "If he can do this anyone can"....Anyone but Affirmative Action Figure Barry apparently.

    July 20, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  17. Larry L

    The Republicans have given control of the House to the radicals in the Tea party. The President has offered very generous terms and the Republicans continue to try to destroy our government. I will work very hard toward his re-election and their defeat.

    July 20, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  18. TheAmercianNooneWouldListenTo

    It is sad that the one voice of reason is completely ignored. Sad that Americans can't get along. Sad that even if these politicians agree tomorrow, some damage still has been done. Sad that we are no longer great. Sad that somewhere in this country there are children who no longer have dreams.

    It seems Lady Liberty has really let herself go over the years, maybe this is why Reason is ignored. We just can't bear to watch her destroy herself like this.

    July 20, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  19. Albo58

    I can think of 14 Trillion reasons why this crisis was self-created, but the real question is what is this President and the Congress going to do about it! Kicking the can will make the crisis a $20T crisis in the very near future unless MAJOR plans are instituted NOW!

    July 20, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  20. quieteye

    When your great nation has turned bi-polar that's what is expected.

    July 20, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    What folks is he talking about here?

    July 20, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. Tim

    Good headline CNN, Obama self created this crises by doubling Bush's debt of 8 years in his first 2 years in office.

    July 20, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  23. Arbour

    Leadership does not come from lecturing and giving speeches, or asking the VP to head the debt crisis meeting before he was forced to lead it himself. This crisis is a result of the Federal government spending beyond her means for many years. It has nothing to do with what transpired in the last few weeks. If the president can't even accurately point to the root of the problem, we are in big trouble.

    July 20, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  24. cobra

    There never has been such a liar in the white house, you can not believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

    July 20, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  25. repuklican

    Ban the repuklican party. Arrest all tea baggers. All of our problems are solved. Normal thinking prevails.

    July 20, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
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