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. Paul Verlaine

    Oh, and yes, the crisis is Self-Created. Obama and the Congress created the problems all by themselves by spending more of our money than they had, and then by insisting that we spend more, and tax those who already pay most of the taxes.

    Self-Created, indeed! He is the worst President Ever and the economy will never improve until he, his co-conspirators and his Socialist agenda are out of Washington.

    July 20, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. GOP = Grover Owned Party

    Mr. President, say it like it is. The people who are playing chicken with the debt ceiling have a name. They're called loonatics.

    July 20, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. Gabbo

    Barry is such a stiff – it's a wonder HE believes what he says ( if he truly does ).

    July 20, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  4. Kman821

    Obama lost the fight when he allowed the Bush tax cuts for the rich to remain in place and got nothing more than a short-term extension of unemployment benefits for it ... he is simply not a leader and is always a day late and a dollar short in every negotiation. You don’t bring hugs and kisses to a knife fight and expect to win. He can't even win when he has the majority of Americans on his side.

    July 20, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  5. ufadoof

    Finally Obama has the stones to say what needed to be said.

    July 20, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  6. RLA

    No it was created by congress and the last 4 administrations. Obama is just putting the nails in the coffin while the citizens scream in disbelief!

    July 20, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  7. Ramrod

    Move Social Security out ot the budget, just like it was before Lyndon Johnson moved it in. Social Security still takes in more money then it pays out. But the politicians love the extra money to reduce the tax on the rich guys. Remember this: Social Security tax is a double tax; it comes out of your net income, after taxes. There is also an upper income limit. It is the most regressive double tax in the world on the middle class and on poor people; now the Republicans want to take the money away from you. G W wanted to give it to Wall Street. The Republicans just want to hand it to the rich people in the form of tax breaks. I can smell trouble coming.

    July 20, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  8. ken

    Obama and his super majority created the crisis. Incompetent economic policy fueled higher unemployment and threatened businesses with higher taxes, higher energy costs, and more regulation. Businesses will go under when their cash runs out. Obama is anti-business and that means anti-employer! There are some people who want to destroy all big business and are working hard to do it. The result is higher unemployment and debt crisis. Yes, Obama made this economy. He is making Bush look brilliant and Jimmy Carter good!

    July 20, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  9. Steve C.

    Is the title of this article a confession?

    July 20, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  10. michael

    Yes that's why everybody angry ! 101 when in over head cut all credit ! What do you think God did this ? What do you think We did this ? No the people that created loopholes and the people that let the banks go hog wild crazy all because in your head money comes first . You will learn that there is truth about right and wrong mankind is govern by laws like gravity and good and evil! go ahead borrow more money and run the credit card up to 50 trillion and see what happens. Do not hurt the old and the young they are the most the weakest tax the strong not the weak. Don't act like a predator ! Are the people will treat you like one!

    July 20, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  11. Full of it

    Come on...the democrats had all three branches of government and they did not once pass a budget. Self created yes. Obama needs to look in the mirror before he gets on his high horse. He has been a huge part of this problem.

    July 20, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  12. Henry Miller

    For once, Obama is right: the debt "crisis" is self-created–by decades of politicians, in unceasing acts of unbelievable irresponsibility, buying votes with borrowed money.

    July 20, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  13. michael

    Did your mama not teach you not to live on predicted income you never know what tomorrow will bring! Save the money first then buy ! If you live in the hole you become a part of the domino effect when one falls those that the one owes falls and the falling keeps going down the line . What are you going to do if the fall starts else were what will you do if the world starts falling borrow more money!? If the nations falls all of you running the nation should find another place to live the people will need someone to blame!

    July 20, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  14. michael

    Every thing is be routed to the surface so the people can see who you really are! We see you dangling by a thread like a spider!

    July 20, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  15. Calvin

    Yes, Obama self created the crises.

    July 20, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  16. Chris it is all our fault?!?! and as long as we do what he says we will be OK??? What an idiot!!!!!!!!!! how naive. How can you people keep supporting him and voting for him lol. He saud if the economy grows and "other" problems are solved??? my GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how can you swallow this tripe??

    July 20, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  17. oldcoaldog

    My God, he is a genius. You spend trillion after trillion after trillion and then you say it is self created. He is truly on another plane.

    July 20, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  18. michael

    You are beyond porky i could pay off the whole bill in ten years without touching s.s are med! You are an obeast hog!

    July 20, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Of course it is self-created. The houses of Congress didn't stop to question the amounts they were spending as well as the tax cuts they put into place. It is Congress that has the power of the purse and should be chastied for not getting it correct in the first place. I would hope that the Republicans would see that the helped to create this during several Republican presidential administrations by asking for more on programs that were never paid for and tax cuts that had no reason to be cut.

    July 20, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. Chris

    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.

    How long is America going to continue to believe this lie???

    July 20, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  21. smiley33

    Republicans are smart. Weak economy, struggling recovery, bring a much ignored issue to the forefront. When President Bush left, the debt was $10 trillion. When a Democrat's in office, it suddenly becomes a priority (or vehicle to undermine Obama).

    If we cut domestic spending now, the bad economy will just get worse. However, raising some taxes, while cutting spending overseas, wouldn't destroy everything.

    Too bad that won't happen.

    July 20, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  22. JP

    Did you get permission from your union masters to say this puppetman. I agree with Obama it is a " self-created crisis" mostly created by himself. Obama=Greece if re-elected.

    July 20, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  23. michael

    Big fat porky beast ! Wastefulness is beyond belief! You should be ashamed ! A master left on a journey he gave money to his servants and said i will reward the one who make me more , but at his return all were in debt what should that master do?

    July 20, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  24. Ricke1949

    Obama has not dug into position because he has none. He needs to start leading and make some hard nose proposals.
    He cannot just be "present." Oratory just ain't going to balance things.

    July 20, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  25. michael


    July 20, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
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