2012 candidates sound off on debt deal
August 1st, 2011
12:43 PM ET
11 years ago

2012 candidates sound off on debt deal

(CNN) – Varied reactions to the debt deal are coming from Republican presidential candidates following Sunday's agreement between the White House and Congressional leaders to raise the nation's debt ceiling before the August 2 deadline.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who kept his distance from the debate ahead of the agreement, said as president his plan "would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced," that did not leave the door open to higher taxes and cuts to defense spending.

"President Obama's leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and the 59th minute," Romney said in a statement. "I personally cannot support this deal."

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who has consistently opposed an increase to the debt limit, said President Obama "failed to lead and failed to provide a plan."

"The 'deal' he announced spends too much and doesn't cut enough," Bachmann said in a statement. "This isn't the deal the American people 'preferred' either, Mr. President. Someone has to say no. I will."

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah gov. and U.S. ambassador to China, disagreed with his 2012 rivals, calling the agreement a "positive step toward cutting our nation's crippling debt."

He encouraged members of Congress to vote for the agreement and said he will advocate for a plan from the bipartisan committee that includes "real cuts, entitlement reform, and revenue-neutral tax reforms – without any tax hikes."

"The Republican members of Congress deserve tremendous credit for moving this debate to the forefront and at long last beginning to get Washington in line," Huntsman said in a statement.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded to the deal by outlining his approach to solving the debt crisis that would include a concentration on job creation, keeping politics out of national security and cutting spending by reforming and restructuring government.

"With so much work remaining to be done, this deal is yet another reminder of the urgent need to replace President Obama and his radical commitment to big government and higher taxes," Gingrich said in a statement.

Alex Conant, a spokesman for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said the deal is "nothing to celebrate."

"Only in Washington would the political class think it's a victory when the government narrowly avoids default, agrees to go further into debt, and does little to reform a spending system that cannot be sustained by our children and grandchildren," Conant said in a statement. "While no further evidence was needed, this entire debt ceiling fiasco demonstrates that President Obama must be replaced."

Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Debt • Deficit • Jon Huntsman • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Pete De Jesus

    I hear that social security, veterans and military checks would not go out if we pass the deadline of Aug 2nd. What I would've liked to also hear is that the Senators and Congressmens checks would also be held. Its only fair tha they be included since they are the ones who created this mess and can't seem to come up with a decent solution.

    August 1, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Nate

    @Andrew, it looks like you need to be reminded about the leadership the President is supposed to show. The plan is the President's job, the details are Congress's job. The President delivers a State of the Union speech in Congress to give them a plan to move forward and he can follow that up with his own bills for Congress to debate and hammer out the details. The President also has the powerful veto vote over Congress so that he can lead them in what is or is not acceptable details wise.

    August 1, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Emil Nitrate

    These clowns think it's still 2010 and they're pandering to the extreme Tea Party right.

    They don't seem to understand that the bloom is off of that rose and America...as it always does...is moving back to the middle where reasonable people gravitate.

    August 1, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Harold Trainer, USAF RET

    Hello, America, how are you? Well, I hope. And, while you're doing well and doing the things you like to do, please look back over the last ten years. Can you see that our government has put us in two wars at a cost of $3,000,000,000,000 and the lives of almost 6000 of our military? Please notice that those wars have also killed more than a hundred thousand Arabs and Muslims and that the money required to prosecute this carnage was all borrowed and has helped increase our national debt from around 8 trillion dollars to more than 14 trillion dollars. Your kids and grandkids, of course, will pay it back.
    During these years our goverment also gave tax cuts to many Americans, including some of you, and certainly to the very wealthy. Our elected officials mismanaged our economy beyond normal risk and we had to bail out the banks and investment companies and the insurance and automobile companies with borrowed money. All of this while average Americans faced unemployment, lower wages, foreclosure, and many, many other financial challenges.
    And now our government, Republicans and Democrats alike, wants us to reduce this debt and are asking average Americans and even some of our most vulnerable citizens to pay for the wars, the mismanagement of our economy, and the tax cuts. This is to be done by cutting spending on some of our most important programs like education, health care, infrasturcture, and even social programs for the elderly and needy. Congress is proposing to divide the older and younger generations health care coverage into different programs; leaving a more generous health care system for older people while younger people have to live with a much more expensive system. This divide and conquer tactic can only result in generational bickering and less quality health care for everyone.
    All of this will be done to reduce the national debt incurred by unnecessary wars, huge tax cuts, economic mismanagement, and plain old greed. Of course, the wars are still being waged at a cost of around 250 billion dollars a year and Obama has "compromised " with Republicans to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while Congress works night and day to make average Americans and the most vulnerable pay for these excesses.

    August 1, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Ozzie

    Faith-based republicans will vote to raise the debt ceiling only if programs that help the most vulnerable are dismantled, and only if the wealthy and corporate profits are protected. What part of that formula reminds these faith-based politicians of Jesus and the mission of Jesus? They do share a common thread with many faith-based folks: say that you are against abortion and gay marriage and feel free to ignore the poor and middle class, demonize the undocumented, scare the elderly, and , essentially, circumvent the Gospel. Their reward is simple. Their religious leaders will never call them to task or hold them accountable. They are Pro-Life, in the most limited of ways – believing that life begins at conception, and ends at birth.

    August 1, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. stop taxing us to death

    Understand this you political hacks.

    You raise our taxes and you will be looking for work in 2013. I can't understand why you just don't shut the government
    down. Until you have the votes to end all the freekiing social programs. ( social security medicare medicaid food stamps
    pell grants and other give a way program) Just dumping these programs would balance the budget and put a good
    down payment on paying off the national debt.

    August 1, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Logan

    Do these candidates realize that by not passing a plan and simply defaulting will actually put the U.S. even more in debt? So, let me get this straight Bachmann..yoiu would rather default and add more debt (interest rates will sky rocket adding more debt) then vote for an imperfect plan that at least cuts some debt? Not the brightest bulb in the box...

    August 1, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. New Age Independant


    Someone remind Bachmann that the plan is congress's job. It isn't the president's job to come up with a plan.
    She wants to be president, but doesn't even know how to do the job she already has.


    So, a presidential candidate shouldn't have an opinion on how to fix an economic problem? So when Obama was campaigning, he should have shut up 3 years ago? You're thoughts here are extremely skewed to your obvious bias.

    August 1, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Bob, Kansas City

    Yes Andrew, i agree with you-all she knows how to do is complain plus personally benefit from federal subsidies, then rail about out of control spending.

    August 1, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. Harold Trainer, USAF RET

    President Obama has faked to the left, looked straight ahead and passed the ball to the right which is getting ready to score by rearranging the COLA formula for social security and other government retirement programs including military and federal retirement systems. Why? This is only the beginning in his succession plan.

    This is a tax increase. What happened to the no tax icncrease mantral of the right? This added to the other Obama compromises violates principles in favor of the principals who use the debt ceiling as an elaborate dance designed to instill fear in Amricans in an attempt to get them to give in to major entitlement and spending cut programs. This is the same as the Bush fear deal designed to instill fear to justify the wars. Terrorism is the new communism. Now we have debt as the new fear.

    What happens to the people on the edge of social security income margins and survival who are now being asked to pay for the unnecesary wars and the extravagance of the last ten years including two plus wars and huge tax cuts and mismanagement of our economy? It may not be much to you but think of the senior who lives on social security and may have his or her medicare afffected in the future. Obama has caved. Medicare will be next. People will suffer.

    And, it looks like tax reform means lower tax rates for corporations and wealthy while cutting tax deductions for many Americans. Where did Obama go and how do you support him? He is capitulating again. Principle trumps principal and the principle is being violated in favor of his majesty the principal.

    Resist or even though the democrats have been in charge of congress and the White House, McConnell and Tea Party will win and reconfigure the entitlement scheme of America as part of the fear debt fear deal. I know this is treasonous to democrats but there must be a point where you refuse. Or do you follow the party line like sheep? Or do you resist and let principle trump principal??

    Please tell me why I or you should not be concerned or worried. Please tell me why I and you should put our heads in the sand and hope we can breathe.

    August 1, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. JP

    It's too bad that the only sensible and appealing candidate the GOP has, John Huntsman, doesn't stand a chance with that lunatic redneck base.

    August 1, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. Liberal Elite = Anyone with an education...

    Attack, attack, attack, and still no substance. You never hear any actual plans to solve the problem, not even out of the "great businessman" Romney, who it seems can now only speak in bumper sticker soundbites. Heck if all it takes is an "Obama bad" message to be a GOP candidate, I'll put a sign on my dog and start collecting PAC money. Funny how the same people who complain about being overtaxed are willing to just pour money into the coffers of these Teapublican charlatans.

    August 1, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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