2012 candidates sound off on debt deal
August 1st, 2011
12:43 PM ET
9 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. Moe Green

    The president did not leave this till the 11th hour... congress did. I liked Mitt but his comments make me want to seek my leadership elsewhere. Bachman reminds me of the last person to show up at a community cleanup efforts (for the free shirt and photo opportunity). Where have all the real leaders gone...

    August 1, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. John

    Bachmann has a short memory. Obama did try to cut more and in line with what the American people wanted, the Republicans kept voting against it until they got the heavily watered down plan that exists today.

    August 1, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. ReallY!!?

    So they agree to spend more immediately & hope to cut in 10yrs. Wow!! We should be celebrating!!!
    We spend $302+ Trillion per yr we take in revenues of only $174+ Trillion. Should we just continue this madness? Any household or business would have to live within their means. But not our US Govt. Tax the rich 100% & u still could not make a dent in the money we owe China. Yet according to the Dems & Obama lets spend more. Numbers do not lie. This is ridiculous. If we don't take the hit now, our children & grandchildren will suffer tremendously. Our ancestors did it for us in the Great Depression. We should do it now for our future generation. Stop the spending, stop the borrowing. Balance the budget now! Vote for a real leader that knows what he is doing. Status quo is dangerous for this country. It is just common sense. Stop with the politics!

    August 1, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Chas in Iowa

    Our nations economy will be in the dumper until we elect a democratic house to replace the party of NO. Their single vision for the rich of this country will only drive the middle class and our country further down.
    We need a Democratic congress to reset the tax tables back to where they were when this country was peosperous, when we had a balalced budget. The GOP is suppose to be all for a balanced budget. We need to be sure they are aware of the tax rates when we were prosperous and had a balanced budget. To try and blalnce the budget under todays tax tables is an admission by the GOP that the country needs to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and elderly.

    August 1, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. RR

    Hey Mitt, how about your own leadership failure? Not a peep out of you in the weeks of debate over the debt ceiling issue, but now that the deal is cut, suddenly you pop your head out of the sand. What a tool..............

    August 1, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    Congratulations to the Tea Party hobbits in Congress. They won by taking this country hostage and defying their own leadership. Their victory is confirmed by shifty Romney supporting them after months of remaining silent on the side lines. The losers are the Democrats, President Obama, Speaker Boehner, and the American people. The Tea Party victory comes at a heavy price of sacrificing real tax and entitlement reforms, expected rise in unemployment, and further slowing of a sluggish economy.

    August 1, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Bryan

    I see Bachmann claims to be speaking for the American people again. Maybe 1/3 of the American people, at most. Less, in many cases.

    I don't see this as much other than raising the debt ceiling. Which had to be done. Gonna have to change the revenue stream eventually.

    August 1, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. PJ

    Of course old Mitt Romney would tell us he would do a better job when before leaving Office in Massachusetts he hid a huge deficit at the last monment – hidden in unrealistic cuts which his successor had to reinstate immediately of the State would have stopped running. And, don't foget how many jobs Romney outsourced to India and China.

    August 1, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Clint, Wa.

    Any special joint congressional committee should not be made up of Republican (Tea Party), Democratic or any other BS party, as they have already proven they can’t agree on anything.

    Make it up of real Americans, 2 Seniors, 2 Unemployed and 2 Military, and I can promise you, you will get a bipartisan decision.

    August 1, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. Your Forgot Ron

    Yet again CNN neglects to mention Presidential Candidate Ron Paul

    August 1, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Matt

    Well said, Andrew. These morons are blaming someone else for their job failures. Obama isn't to blame here, it's all the other elected members of Congress.

    August 1, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Brent

    It seems that president Obama has a plan when his agenda suits him. Like with healthcare.

    August 1, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Freedomwriter

    I really hope that there is a serious discussion about lowering the compensation of Representatives and Senators when they debate the balance budget amendment. If they abdicate responsibility for a balanced budget to constitution what the heck are we paying them for.

    August 1, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Cindy

    Bachmann needs to get a clue. About entitlement reform some of those entiltlements were earned. What about Congress and the House taking some cuts from all their privligies.

    August 1, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. seam

    Typical candidate responses. None of them were involved in the debt discussions, and they make it seem as if their non-detailed plans would pass with flying colors. Hey Romney, what in the world in Cut, Cap, and Balance? Sounds like fluff to get votes. And Bachmann, she just talks to a small group of aliens.

    August 1, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Kevin in Atlanta

    I'm sure it's easy for these candidates to criticize when they really didn't have a horse in this race. And honestly it didn't matter what the outcome would be: They blame Obama for pushing us to the edge (when it's Congresses job to make a deal, not the president), and claim the Republicans did everything they could.

    August 1, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. denice

    Well Bachmann, "The American People haven,t HEARD you explain your Clinics billing our Medicare,for "VOO-DOO practices on Americas Gay Community either?????? You might try "Explaining That Plan" ????? To all of us!

    August 1, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. John/kc

    Romney doesn't want cuts in the bloated 700 billion defense budget. 7/10 of a trillion dollars every year for 750 to 1000 foreign military bases in 130 countries, and that is the budget that is not hidden and does not include veterans retirement and benefits. I believe most americans would rather have that money spent at home instead of being policeman and defender of the world. The people we defend don't even like us, but here is another of the powers to be in Romney that wants to continue to waste money that is not needed to defend our homeland USA.

    August 1, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. JohnRJohnson

    How many people actually know what the so-called "Cut, Cap & Balance" proposal would do to our country. First of all, it would make draconian cuts in government spending at the worst possible time, then it would 'cap' that spending level so that it couldn't go up, even when the economy was growing again. In other words, it would ensure a permanently crippled federal government, mortally wounding vital agencies which protect our food supply, maintain our infrastructure and make sure our water in potable. It goes far beyond cutting waste and eliminating fraud. Its overt intention is to de-centralize our government and balkanize the country.

    August 1, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. moderatejoe_boston

    The only adult GOP candidate is Jon Huntsman; he was brave enough to state his opinion and and strong enough to not just go alone with the Tea Party extreme right of the party. The Tea Party has a valuable role in helping to set the talking points but they don't own enough hearts and minds to control the agenda or the outcome. Leadership is demonstrated by guiding a decision making process through disparate and varying extremes by challenging the stakeholders for the common good. Jon Huntsman has the core leadership capabilities to lead this nation through tough economic times and foreign policies issues.

    August 1, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. marianne

    Bachmann needs to be quiet and vote for this plan before the USA is hurt even more than it already has been by this mess. She then needs to go away. Romney left Massachusetts in a mess, now he wants to run the country! Quite frankly, this mess isn't owned by Obama...he did not create this problem, he inherited it.

    August 1, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Bill

    Why quote Hutsman and Pawlenty and then leave out Paul who is smoking these two in the polls. CNN isn't even trying to remain objective anymore.

    August 1, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Manumission

    Someone remind these dopes that it is the Republicans that got us into this in the first place. When Bill Clinton left office there was a budget surplus. Bush started two wars, lowered taxes, and then failed to regulate the financial industry. When Obama took office we were losing 800,000 jobs a month and he inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit from Bush. These dopes in the Republican party will never get it – they are the problem.

    August 1, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. mike

    Why does CNN constantly leave out Dr. Ron Paul? His view on the debt may not be liked by many, but he should be included in discussion about 2012 presidential candidates.

    August 1, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. MagaliaDave

    If there is one thing that I admire about the Tea Baggers, it is their steadfastness in standing up for their beliefs.......I find it tragic that nothing (and I mean nothing) like that exists in Obama's administration.....he seems willing to abandon the senior citizens, the middle class, and the poor in the name of political expediency......we thought we elected a Lion to stand up to the Republicans and the Tea Baggers.......instead we have elected a mouse! Will I support Obama in 2012 …..NO! NO WAY!!

    Obama's unwillingness to take the bold step of using the 14th amendment to solve the debt ceiling crisis has cost him the vital support of the core Democrats for 2012.

    August 1, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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