Boehner, Obama deal off
July 22nd, 2011
07:38 PM ET

Boehner, Obama deal off

So this happened Friday night:

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner walked away from debt talks with President Barack Obama's administration Friday, raising the stakes in the country's ongoing effort to stave off national default.

"In the end, we couldn't connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country," Boehner wrote in a letter to fellow Republicans.

The House speaker said that "a deal was never reached, and was never really close."

"For these reasons, I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward," he wrote.

Next up: an 11 a.m. meeting Saturday at the White House with congressional leaders of both parties.

More HERE

Full transcript of Obama's press conference after the jump:

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. I wanted to give you an update on the current situation around the debt ceiling. I just got a call about a half hour ago from Speaker Boehner who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations that we’ve been engaged in here at the White House for a big deficit reduction and debt reduction package. And I thought it would be useful for me to just give you some insight into where we were and why I think that we should have moved forward with a big deal.

Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs - Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. We believed that it was possible to shape those in a way that preserved the integrity of the system, made them available for the next generation, and did not affect current beneficiaries in an adverse way.

In addition, what we sought was revenues that were actually less than what the Gang of Six signed off on. So you had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that they’ve been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes - tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base.

So let me reiterate what we were offering. We were offering a deal that called for as much discretionary savings as the Gang of Six. We were calling for taxes that were less than what the Gang of Six had proposed. And we were calling for modifications to entitlement programs, would have saved just as much over the 10-year window. In other words, this was an extraordinarily fair deal. If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue.

But in the interest of being serious about deficit reduction, I was willing to take a lot of heat from my party - and I spoke to Democratic leaders yesterday, and although they didn’t sign off on a plan, they were willing to engage in serious negotiations, despite a lot of heat from a lot of interest groups around the country, in order to make sure that we actually dealt with this problem.

It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal. And, frankly, if you look at commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. In fact, there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. Because the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the American people believe we should have a balanced approach.

Now, if you do not have any revenues, as the most recent Republican plan that’s been put forward both in the House and the Senate proposed, if you have no revenues at all, what that means is more of a burden on seniors, more drastic cuts to education, more drastic cuts to research, a bigger burden on services that are going to middle-class families all across the country. And it essentially asks nothing of corporate jet owners, it asks nothing of oil and gas companies, it asks nothing from folks like me who’ve done extremely well and can afford to do a little bit more.

In other words, if you don’t have revenues, the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle-class families. And the majority of Americans don’t agree on that approach.

So here’s what we’re going to do. We have now run out of time. I told Speaker Boehner, I’ve told Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, I’ve told Harry Reid, and I’ve told Mitch McConnell I want them here at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. We have run out of time. And they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. And they can come up with any plans that they want and bring them up here and we will work on them. The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013.

And the reason for it is we’ve now seen how difficult it is to get any kind of deal done. The economy is already weakened. And the notion that five or six or eight months from now we’ll be in a better position to try to solve this problem makes no sense.

In addition, if we can’t come up with a serious plan for actual deficit and debt reduction, and all we’re doing is extending the debt ceiling for another six, seven, eight months, then the probabilities of downgrading U.S. credit are increased, and that will be an additional cloud over the economy and make it more difficult for us and more difficult for businesses to create jobs that the American people so desperately need.

So they will come down here at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. I expect them to have an answer in terms of how they intend to get this thing done over the course of the next week. The American people expect action. I continue to believe that a package that is balanced and actually has serious debt and deficit reduction is the right way to go. And the American people I think are fed up with political posturing and an inability for politicians to take responsible action as opposed to dodge their responsibilities.

With that, I’m going to take some questions.

Ben.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You said you want the leaders back here at 11:00 a.m. to give you an answer about the path forward. What is your answer about the path forward? What path do you prefer, given what’s just happened? And also, sir, quickly, what does this say about your relationship with Speaker Boehner?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, with respect to my relationship with Speaker Boehner, we’ve always had a cordial relationship. We had very intense negotiations - I’m going to have my team brief you exactly on how these negotiations proceeded. Up until sometime early today when I couldn’t get a phone call returned, my expectation was that Speaker Boehner was going to be willing to go to his caucus and ask them to do the tough thing but the right thing. I think it has proven difficult for Speaker Boehner to do that. I’ve been left at the altar now a couple of times.

And I think that one of the questions that the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is can they say yes to anything? Can they say yes to anything? I mean, keep in mind it’s the Republican Party that has said that the single most important thing facing our country is deficits and debts. We’ve now put forward a package that would significantly cut deficits and debt. It would be the biggest debt reduction package that we’ve seen in a very long time.

And it’s accomplished without raising individual tax rates. It’s accomplished in a way that’s compatible with the “no tax” pledge that a whole bunch of these folks signed on to - because we were mindful that they had boxed themselves in and we tried to find a way for them to generate revenues in a way that did not put them in a bad spot.

And so the question is, what can you say yes to? Now, if their only answer is what they’ve presented, which is a package that would effectively require massive cuts to Social Security, to Medicare, to domestic spending, with no revenues whatsoever, not asking anything from the wealthiest in this country or corporations that have been making record profits - if that’s their only answer, then it’s going to be pretty difficult for us to figure out where to go. Because the fact of the matter is that’s what the American people are looking for, is some compromise, some willingness to put partisanship aside, some willingness to ignore talk radio or ignore activists in our respective bases, and do the right thing.

And to their credit, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, the Democratic leadership, they sure did not like the plan that we are proposing to Boehner, but they were at least willing to engage in a conversation because they understood how important it is for us to actually solve this problem. And so far I have not seen the capacity of the House Republicans in particular to make those tough decisions.

And so then the question becomes, where’s the leadership? Or, alternatively, how serious are you actually about debt and deficit reduction? Or do you simply want it as a campaign ploy going into the next election?

Now, in terms of where we go next, here’s the one thing that we’ve got to do. At minimum, we’ve got to increase the debt ceiling. At minimum. I think we need to do more than that. But as I’ve said before, Republican Leader McConnell in the Senate put forward a plan that said he’s going to go ahead and give me the responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. That way folks in Congress can vote against it, but at least it gets done. I’m willing to take the responsibility. That’s my job. So if they want to give me the responsibility to do it, I’m happy to do it.

But what we’re not going to do is to continue to play games and string this along for another eight, nine months, and then have to go through this whole exercise all over again. That we’re not going to do.

Jessica Yellin.

Q Standing here tonight, Mr. President, can you assure the American people that they will get their Social Security checks on August 3rd? And if not, who’s to blame?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, when it comes to all the checks, not just Social Security - veterans, people with disabilities - about 70 million checks are sent out each month - if we default then we’re going to have to make adjustments. And I’m already consulting with Secretary Geithner in terms of what the consequences would be.

We should not even be in that kind of scenario. And if Congress - and in particular, the House Republicans - are not willing to make sure that we avoid default, then I think it’s fair to say that they would have to take responsibility for whatever problems arise in those payments. Because, let me repeat, I’m not interested in finger-pointing and I’m not interested in blame, but I just want the facts to speak for themselves.

We have put forward a plan that is more generous to Republican concerns than a bipartisan plan that was supported by a number of Republican senators, including at least one that is in Republican leadership in the Senate. Now, I’ll leave it up to the American people to make a determination as to how fair that is. And if the leadership cannot come to an agreement in terms of how we move forward, then I think they will hold all of us accountable.

But that shouldn’t even be an option. That should not be an option. I’m getting letters from people who write me and say, at the end of every month I have to skip meals. Senior citizens on Social Security who are just hanging on by a thread. Folks who have severe disabilities who are desperate every single month to try to figure out how they’re going to make ends meet. But it’s not just those folks. You’ve got business contractors who are providing services to the federal government, who have to wonder are they going to be able to get paid and what does that do in terms of their payrolls.

You’ve got just a huge number of people who, in one way or another, interact with the federal government. And even if you don’t, even if you’re not a recipient of Social Security, even if you don’t get veterans’ benefits or disabilities, imagine what that does to the economy when suddenly 70 million checks are put at risk. I mean, if you’re a business out there, that is not going to be good for economic growth. And that’s the number one concern of the American people.

So we’ve got to get it done. It is not an option not to do it.

Q And your degree of confidence?

THE PRESIDENT: I am confident simply because I cannot believe that Congress would end up being that irresponsible that they would not send a package that avoids a self-inflicted wound to the economy at a time when things are so difficult.

Scott Horsley.

Q Mr. President, can you explain why you were offering a deal that was more generous than the Gang of Six, which you seemed to be embracing on Tuesday when you were here?

THE PRESIDENT: Because what had become apparent was that Speaker Boehner had some difficulty in his caucus. There are a group of his caucus that actually think default would be okay and have said that they would not vote for increasing the debt ceiling under any circumstances.

And so I understand how they get themselves stirred up and the sharp ideological lines that they’ve drawn. And ultimately, my responsibility is to make sure that we avoid extraordinary difficulties to American people and American businesses.

And so, unfortunately, when you’re in these negotiations you don’t get 100 percent of what you want. You may not even get 60 or 70 percent of what you want. But I was willing to try to persuade Democratic leadership as well as Democratic members of Congress that even a deal that is not as balanced as I think it should be is better than no deal at all. And I was willing to persuade Democrats that getting a handle on debt and deficit reduction is important to Democrats just as much as it’s important to Republicans - and, frankly, a lot of Democrats are persuaded by that.

As I said in the last press conference, if you’re a progressive you should want to get our fiscal house in order, because once we do, it allows us to then have a serious conversation about the investments that we need to make - like infrastructure, like rebuilding our roads and our bridges and airports, like investing more in college education, like making sure that we’re focused on the kinds of research and technology that’s going to help us win the future. It’s a lot easier to do that when we’ve got our fiscal house in order. And that was an argument that I was willing to go out and make to a lot of skeptical Democrats, as you saw yesterday.

But ultimately, that’s what we should expect from our leaders. If this was easy it would have already been done. And I think what a lot of the American people are so disappointed by is this sense that all the talk about responsibility, all the talk about the next generation, all the talk about making sacrifices, that when it comes to actually doing something difficult folks walk away.

Last point I’ll make here. I mean, I’ve gone out of my way to say that both parties have to make compromises. I think this whole episode has indicated the degree to which at least a Democratic President has been willing to make some tough compromises. So when you guys go out there and write your stories, this is not a situation where somehow this was the usual food fight between Democrats and Republicans. A lot of Democrats stepped up in ways that were not advantageous politically. So we’ve shown ourselves willing to do the tough stuff on an issue that Republicans ran on.

Norah.

Q Mr. President, there seems to be an extraordinary breakdown of trust involved here. And I wonder if you could address what we’re hearing from Republicans, which is that there was a framework and a deal that was agreed with your chief of staff, with the Treasury Secretary, about a certain number of revenues, that the Republicans had agreed to that. And then after you brought that to your party and the discussion of that, the goal line was moved. Is this an example of where the goal line has moved and that that’s what has led to this breakdown in trust?

THE PRESIDENT: Norah, what I’ll do is we’ll do a tick-tock, we’ll go through all the paper. We’ll walk you through this process. What this came down to was that there doesn’t seem to be a capacity for them to say yes.

Now, what is absolutely true is we wanted more revenue than they had initially offered. But as you’ll see, the spending cuts that we were prepared to engage in were at least as significant as the spending cuts that you’ve seen in a whole range of bipartisan proposals, and we had basically agreed within $10 billion, $20 billion - we were within that range.

So that wasn’t the reason this thing broke down. We were consistent in saying that it was going to be important for us to have at least enough revenue that we could protect current beneficiaries of Social Security, for example, or current beneficiaries of Medicare; that we weren’t slashing Medicaid so sharply that states suddenly were going to have to throw people off the health care rolls. And we were consistent in that.

So I want to be clear. I’m not suggesting that we had an agreement that was signed, sealed and delivered. The parties were still apart as recently as yesterday. But when you look at the overall package, there’s no changing of the goalposts here. There has been a consistency on our part in saying we’re willing to make the tough cuts and we’re willing to take on the heat for those difficult cuts, but that there’s got to be some balance in the process. What I’ve said publicly is the same thing that I’ve said privately. And I’ve done that consistently throughout this process.

Now, with respect to this breakdown in trust, I think that we have operated aboveboard consistently. There haven’t been any surprises. I think the challenge really has to do with the seeming inability, particularly in the House of Representatives, to arrive at any kind of position that compromises any of their ideological preferences. None.

And you’ve heard it. I mean, I’m not making this up. I think a number of members of that caucus have been very clear about that.

Q But they were willing to move on some revenues, apparently.

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely. But what you saw - and, again, you’ll see this from the description of the deal - essentially what they had agreed to give on is to get back to a baseline - this starts getting technical, but there were about $800 billion in revenue that were going to be available. And what we said was when you’ve got a ratio of $4 in cuts for every $1 of revenue, that’s pretty hard to stomach. And we think it’s important to make sure that whatever additional revenue is in there covers the amount of money that’s being taken out of entitlement programs. That’s only fair.

If I’m saying to future recipients of Social Security or Medicare that you’re going to have to make some adjustments, it’s important that we’re also willing to make some adjustments when it comes to corporate jet owners, or oil and gas producers, or people who are making millions or billions of dollars.

Wendell. Where’s Wendell? Wendell is not here.

Lesley. Is Lesley here?

Q Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: There you are.

Q Thank you. You’ve said that your bottom line has been the big deal; that’s not going to happen. Are you going to be willing to go back to just raising the debt ceiling still?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think I’ve been consistently saying here in this press room and everywhere that it is very important for us to raise the debt ceiling. We don’t have an option on that. So if that’s the best that Congress can do, then I will sign a extension of the debt ceiling that takes us through 2013.

I don’t think that’s enough. I think we should do more. That’s the bare minimum; that’s the floor of what the American people expect us to do. So I’d like to see us do more. And when I meet with the leadership tomorrow I’m going to say let’s do more. But if they tell me that’s the best they can do, then I will sign an extension that goes to 2013, and I will make the case to the American people that we’ve got to continue going out there and solving this problem. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s time to do it. We can’t keep on putting it off.

Q You suggested that Speaker Boehner didn’t return phone calls this afternoon. Could you elaborate a little bit on that?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, I’m less concerned about me having to wait for my phone call returned than I am the message that I received when I actually got the phone call.

I’m going to make this the last question. Go ahead.

Q Yes, the markets are closed right now, obviously. What assurances can you give people on Wall Street? Are you going to be reaching out to some people on Wall Street so that when Monday comes we don’t see a reaction to the news that’s developing right now?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s very important that the leadership understands that Wall Street will be opening on Monday, and we better have some answers during the course of the next several days.

Q What can you say to people who are watching who work on Wall Street who might find this news a bit alarming, perhaps?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think what you should say - well, here’s what I’d say: I remain confident that we will get an extension of the debt limit and we will not default. I am confident of that.

I am less confident at this point that people are willing to step up to the plate and actually deal with the underlying problem of debt and deficits. That requires tough choices. That’s what we were sent here to do.

I mean, the debt ceiling, that’s a formality. Historically, this has not even been an issue. It’s an unpleasant vote but it’s been a routine vote that Congress does periodically. It was raised 18 times when Ronald Reagan was President. Ronald Reagan said default is not an option, that it would be hugely damaging to the prestige of the United States and we shouldn’t even consider it. So that’s the easy part. We should have done that six months ago.

The hard part is actually dealing with the underlying debt and deficits, and doing it in a way that’s fair. That’s all the American people are looking for - some fairness. I can’t tell you how many letters and emails I get, including from Republican voters, who say, look, we know that neither party is blameless when it comes to how this deft and deficit developed - there’s been a lot of blame to spread around - but we sure hope you don’t just balance the budget on the backs of seniors. We sure hope that we’re not slashing our commitment to make sure kids can go to college. We sure hope that we’re not suddenly throwing a bunch of poor kids off the Medicaid rolls so they can’t get basic preventative services that keep them out of the emergency room. That’s all they’re looking for, is some fairness.

Now, what you’re going to hear, I suspect, is, well, if you - if the Senate is prepared to pass the cap, cut and balance bill, the Republican plan, then somehow we can solve this problem - that’s serious debt reduction. It turns out, actually, that the plan that Speaker Boehner and I were talking about was comparable in terms of deficit reduction. The difference was that we didn’t put all the burden on the people who are least able to protect themselves, who don’t have lobbyists in this town, who don’t have lawyers working on the tax code for them - working stiffs out there, ordinary folks who are struggling every day. And they know they’re getting a raw deal, and they’re mad at everybody about it. They’re mad at Democrats and they’re mad at Republicans, because they know somehow, no matter how hard they work, they don’t seem to be able to keep up. And what they’re looking for is somebody who’s willing to look out for them. That’s all they’re looking for.

And for us not to be keeping those folks in mind every single day when we’re up here, for us to be more worried about what some funder says, or some talk radio show host says, or what some columnist says, or what pledge we signed back when we were trying to run, or worrying about having a primary fight - for us to be thinking in those terms instead of thinking about those folks is inexcusable.

I mean, the American people are just desperate for folks who are willing to put aside politics just for a minute and try to get some stuff done.

So when Norah asked or somebody else asked why was I willing to go along with a deal that wasn’t optimal from my perspective, it was because even if I didn’t think the deal was perfect, at least it would show that this place is serious, that we’re willing to take on our responsibilities even when it’s tough, that we’re willing to step up even when the folks who helped get us elected may disagree.

And at some point, I think if you want to be a leader, then you got to lead.

Thank you very much.

END 6:36 P.M. EDT


soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Steve Thompson

    Here is what an economist with George Mason University has to say about the threat of United States debt default:

    "...it would appear to be quite likely that the United States will experience a debt crisis within the next two decades, unless the path for fiscal policy changes from what is projected by the Congressional Budget Office."

    Here is the rest of Arnold Kling's study on the likelihood of the United States defaulting on its debt and when that is most likely to happen:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2011/04/trigger-point-for-united-states-debt.html

    Let's hope that Congress ceases playing their political games.

    July 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • SStokas

      I want to know the names of the 'Tea Party' House republicans and have their names and districts red-lined all over TV. Occassionally i will see one of them intrviewed, but this isnt linear enough. Let's target their ridiculous positions and put the pressure on, by letting the whole country know who they are. Who do they think they are?!

      July 23, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  2. ncooty

    I completely agree with the president on this one. The GOP is despicable.

    July 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  3. Dawn B.

    I just watched CNN news and am disgusted with those in ELECTED positions that believe that they, as an individual or party, can chose and/or have the right to walk away from critical discussions that impact the current and future well being of every US citizen. Need their egos be reminded that they act not for their own personal gains but for the betterment of this nation and its people? Where in business do you see people have the opportunity to walk away from their JOBS at critical times and have a job the next day?? I support and give Obama much credit attempting to bridge party lines and stand above these petty, children.

    July 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  4. kefa34

    The Light Of G-d surrounds American
    The love of G-D enfolds American
    The power of G-d Protects American
    The presence of G-d watches over American
    Where ever American --- God is

    July 22, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  5. Dee

    Boehner is a disgrace he has no respect for the President of the United States he just want to see him fail at any cost. When the President calls you on the phone you need to answer that is a fact who the hell do he think he is certainly he is not the President.

    The world is watching these jerks in Washington and the young people are finally coming out voicing their opinions and seeing how these peple whom we pay can not get their act together. Here is a suggestion hold their pay until a debt ceiling has be raised.

    No other President has gone through this sort of scruitny the American people are on the side of the President because he is working for us no matter what the risk is to his Presidency. This is the right thing to do he does not need the money and he is willing to take a tax break while the GOP is beholding to the rich it is very obvious.

    The middle class has suffered enough this procedure could have been finished but the GOP attached all this other stuff to try and bring this man down and I will say it again it is because he is a Black Man in the White House. We will be working very hard to get President Obama elected again and the college students from my area are saying the same thing because he is the only one in Washington who seems to have their education/plight at heart.

    I say to this President stay strong in your convictions and believe me everything is going to be alright.

    July 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Bill in STL

      Dee, respect is earned, not a right of the office... recall the "respect" given the office of the president when it was occupied by president Obama;s predecessor.

      July 24, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  6. Dee

    Boehner is a disgrace he has no respect for the President of the United States he just want to see him fail at any cost. When the President calls you on the phone you need to answer that is a fact who the hell do he think he is certainly he is not the President.

    The world is watching these jerks in Washington and the young people are finally coming out voicing their opinions and seeing how these people whom we pay can not get their act together. Here is a suggestion hold their pay until a debt ceiling has be raised.

    No other President has gone through this sort of scruitny the American people are on the side of the President because he is working for us no matter what the risk is to his Presidency. This is the right thing to do he does not need the money and he is willing to take a tax break while the GOP is beholding to the rich it is very obvious.

    The middle class has suffered enough this procedure could have been finished but the GOP attached all this other stuff to try and bring this man down and I will say it again it is because he is a Black Man in the White House. We will be working very hard to get President Obama elected again and the college students from my area are saying the same thing because he is the only one in Washington who seems to have their education/plight at heart.

    I say to this President stay strong in your convictions and believe me everything is going to be alright.

    July 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Bill in STL

      se the above post... Once is enough

      July 24, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  7. J

    This is shameful, the Republican party is going to cause a downgrade of the country's credit, and why? So they can try to hang it on the President in the election. Through all the noise, people have to remember who was looking our for them on this one. It should be obvious.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Poor Obama! He had complete control of the government for 2 years and passed- um, what did he pass? Nothing that helped, that's for sure. (I take that back; he passed the 100,000 miles flied mark while campaigning for 2012.) And how ironic that Liberals are now demanding respect for the Commander-In-Chief! Really, Libs? Remember "Shrubya" and "Bushitler" and "Dumbya?" How rich of your ilk to demand respect for an incompetent fool who finger points in one sentence and then asks the opposition to stop finger pointing! What color is the sky in y'all's world? No wonder y'all were so easily duped into voting for this guy.

    July 23, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • jean2009

      In Just the First Year in Office President Obama Achieved the Following 10 Things

      * Ten: President Obama has slowed down the recession. Nobody is talking depression anymore, and some are talking recovery. Trying to catch this economy from crashing was like trying to catch a 100 ton boulder dropped off a 70-story building. The nertia alone is going to push you backwards until you can slow the force. Most wouldn’t even step in front of a boulder coming at them like this. Obama stepped in the gap and stuck to a measured recovery plan of stimulus dollars and labor force transition.

      * Nine: President Obama saved Wall Street. And Wall Street tried to punk him by paying itself first. He exposed the absence of regulatory oversight on Wall Street, and economic and financial investment reform is being discussed like never before.

      * Eight: President Obama saved the collapse of the American automotive industry. By making GM restructure before bailing them out, and putting incentive money to help the industry, he saved the industry. People want to make jokes about “cash for clunkers” but the automakers aren’t laughing. They’re thanking him.

      * Seven: President Obama shifted the focus of the war from Iraq to Aftghanistan, and putting the emphasis on reducing terrorism where it should have been all along-but now they want to say he’s making war, not peace. Well, at least he didn’t destabilize a whole region on a false premise. It’s better than what we had.

      * Six: President Obama relaxed Anti-American tensions throughout the world. This was more serious than the previous administration was willing to let on. The President made good on his promise to make a major address on American-Muslim relations and he did it in a Muslim country, showing a good faith that America hadn’t shown in a while.

      * Five: President Obama closed the prisoner “torture camp” at Guantanamo Bay. Holding prisoners for eight years without charging them was acceptable under the previous administration. It is not acceptable under this administration. Obama’s next challenge is what to do with the detainees.

      * Four: President Obama has made the environment a national priority, and a primary source for job creation. The era of polluting industrialists is over, and with a President that understands the benefits of green conversion, America can become a leader in the industry of the future.

      * Three: President Obama has made education a national priority by putting emphasis and money behind new ideas like charter schools, but speaking directly to school children in telling them they have to do their part. It’s what any President should be encouraging but Obama’s so popular, he was accused of trying to “socialize” or “prothelitize” the children. It’s a sad day when the President of the United States can’t speak to school children because their parent’s views conflict.

      * Two: President Obama is on the verge of passing universal health care, with a public option, to insure everybody in America has care when they are sick. He’s doing it, despite villification of ideologues and while in the midst of an H1N1 epidemic where millions could get sick this winter. The people feel him on this.

      * One: President Obama has restored credibility to the American Presidency where the world is looking to him to lead America out of unilateralism and back into multilateral global cooperation. The Nobel Peace Prize was an acknowledgment that Obama had led and is leading a non-violent cultural revolution in America. Everybody, except for a few in America, can see the change. Still, the world understands what happened one year ago, and they thought they’d never see such a shift occur. The election of Obama helped the world see the light that America wasn’t ready to self-destruct.

      Not bad, for less than a year in office. People need to stop complaining that he hasn’t done enough. Obama was elected President. He wasn’t elected Jesus. Like Al Sharpton said on Meet The Press, “we now realize that Obama doesn’t walk on water, but he’s still the fastest swimmer in America.

      As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Obama Administration has made a broad and significant investments to help reduce and assist people that have become victims of the increased poverty made worse by economic crisis.

      Some other accomplishments:
      1) A $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.
      2) A $1 billion in funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) that is intended to revitalize low-income communities via "Job training and placement assistance", "Financial literacy programs", et al, to helping families become self-sufficient.
      3) A $2 billion in new Neighborhood Stabilization Funds that will allow ailing neighborhoods be kept maintained.
      4) A $1.5 billion in Homelessness Prevention Funds to keep people in their homes and prevent homelessness.
      5) A $5 billion increase for the Weatherization Assistance Program to help low income families save on their residential energy expenditures by making their homes more energy efficient.
      6) A $4 Billion program, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, "authorizes funding for federal school meal and child nutrition programs and increases access to healthy food for low-income children."
      7) As part of the HCR bill, subsidies will be available to the uninsured and families with income between the 133 percent and 400 percent of poverty level($14,404 for individuals and $29,326 for a family of four).
      8) Estabilished Open Doors to end the 640,000 men, women and children who are homeless in America by 2020.
      9) Increased the amount of federal Pell Grant awards so that funds are available to those with less access to have opportunity.
      10) Provided $510 Million for the rehabilitation of Native American housing.
      11) Expanded eligibility for Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level ($14,400 per year for an individual).
      12) Providing assistance to low-income workers through the Earned Income Tax Credit giving millions of working families the break they need.
      13) Education being the way out of Poverty, kicked off the "Race to the Top", a $4.3 billion program, that rewards via grants to States that meet a few key benchmarks for reform, and states that outperform the rest.

      Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
      Signed the repeal of DADT.
      Plus, he has signed several hundred other bills into law, which you can look up online.

      Did you know that in 8 years George W. Bush's policies created just 1million jobs? About 3 million jobs occurred, but over 2 million jobs were lost in his last year.
      In just the first year Barack Obama created 1.1 million jobs, and to June 2011 about 2.1 Million.
      Bill Clinton created 23 million jobs in 8 years.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:39 am |
      • larry

        you do realize your tax money paid for all this???? Yeah for four more years of bailouts and gov spending. wohooo!!!

        July 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
      • B Goodman

        Thank you for this. Many of us are currently taking advantage of Obama's initiative to help homeowners with mortgages, too. I live in Ohio and am embarrassed by Boehner's idiotic and transparent motives, as he tramples all over people who are going to be injured by him and his buddies.

        July 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
      • Bill in STL

        You would think that all of those are good things ... however number 5 .... GITMO is still open for business. number 4 ... green job creation is not keeping up ... NASA is adding to the unemployment roles thanks to our beloved President. I also view that as a sign that our government us not willing to invest in America. As to the recession ... plans were already underway and he carried through with them,so he did not do it signle handed.. as to saving wall street ... the public is still reeling from the impact of that ... credit is hard to come by and without that the American people can't help the recovery... relieved tensions ... you bet he did ... he bowed to other leaders of lesser stature.... and Pakistan is a glowing example of those lesser tensions...

        Could go on but whats the point .... you are fossilized in your beliefs....

        July 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
      • jean2009

        @ larry You do realize the current bill due now was for things bought on the nation's credit card during the Bush administration? He just conveniently left his unpaid bills for: funding 2 wars, TARP, an unfunded drug program, and welfare for the rich (tax cuts for wealthy), for the next two congresses during President Obama's term to deal with.

        July 25, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • larry

      what fairy land are these people (dems) living in. Has obama so mesmerized them that they cant see past their faces. and, by the way, obama was the first to walk out of meetings, ie. last wednesday(?). if this man gets a second term this country is doomed. at that point he will have nothing to loose by doing whatever he can get away with...God help us all.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
      • jean2009

        It is no fairy land...it is the level of destruction caused by the failed Bush fiscal policies.

        July 25, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • kefa34

      To be what we are and to become what we are
      capable of becoming is the only real end of life

      July 25, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  9. MR.AL

    John Boehner youv'e proved me how greedy repuublicans are!!! Walking out on todays talks shows how ignorant and greedy you really are!!! You remind of the only kid who had a football and if the game wasn't played his way he would take his ball and go home!!!!!!!! You are that kid!!!!!!! You complained there is to mutch tax cuts!! What about SSI AND MEDICARE cuts you want!! I sappose those are alright taking away what Seinors worked for!! How about you and your huge salaries and FREE HEALTH CARE how about cut to them? Would like to be cut? Or are you the brat with the ball who runs home when he doesn't get his way? All I see from you is GREED just like the people represent and the Wealthy you protect with your selfserving greedy politics!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • Bill in STL

      And what has been president Obamas response all along .... ."its my way or the highway" ... you allow no room for debate when it is your opponent but you always have a reason for it when it is your team.... that is very sad

      July 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
      • jean2009

        I think you know who the party of "NO" is, and that is not the Democrats. If you don't, then you are more warped than I earlier imagined.

        July 25, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  10. Danisehopes

    I think it is sad that the Republicans are acting like spoiled children. In all of my 37 years of voting I have never witnessed so much disrespect directed at one President, even those who mismanaged the great office of the presidency, like Nixon and Bush II were not treated with such disregard and utter disrespect. Bush lied us into war, and still the Republicans feel as though he should receive totally respect, while they call this president a liar, treat him with scorn, and literally think that they are above his office...They are indeed some ignorant, stupid, and nasty dirty dogs.

    July 23, 2011 at 5:24 am |
    • larry

      This is just typical of liberal dems. You sit in judgement of the GOP, call them names, and say they act like children. Have you read what you wrote? Do you know how childish you are in what YOU say? My country needs a president, i cant speak for yours....L

      July 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Bill in STL

      I doubt you remember the Bush years and you certainly don't see the disrespect in "hail to the thief" and calling the president t"the shrub"... Notice that I use the title when I write ... you don't...... I disagree with his policies ... but I have seen more policies than you have and I lived through Nixon as an adult.... Who opened China? Most people forget that accomplishment or the fact that the country was already heading down the dumper at the end of LBJ;s terms ... sorta like what happened this time ... when will people like you wake up and stop this childish prattle .... POLITICS before the people will always fail... at all levels.

      July 24, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
      • jean2009

        I remember the Bush years...however, I wish we all could forget his fiscal maleficence.

        July 25, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  11. Rob Peters

    We are all accountable for the current federal government we have. It has become very clear that our form of elected government is incapable of solving the big challenges facing the United States. "WE THE PEOPLE" need to standup and begin to take our democracy back which has been hijacked by people who do not have the leadership skills and courage to make tough decisions for the sake of getting re-elected. Is now the time to propose "Term-Limits" on Congress"? I believe most voters would say yes. The question is how do we get Term-Limits put into Law. Can our government and the people look at the guiding principles of honor, courage and sacrifice of our military personnel and apply this to forming a more perfect union?

    July 23, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  12. Brian Peterson

    To quote Mr. Boehner:

    "The disconnect in the talks with the White House, Boehner said, was "not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country."

    So Mr. Boehner is acknowledging that neither he nor his party can see the consequences of the difficulties of his brinkmanship. The GOP cannot understand the consequences of their withdrawal from the debate nor the consequence of America defaulting on their obligations. I think it is most telling that Mr. Boehner's email contact form will not appear on the Speaker's website. Apparently the Speaker does not want to hear from ordinary citizens he is meant to represent but only from the privileged ones who have special access to him.

    The Democrats are not blameless either! They are stuck just like the Republicans on the same ideologies that got us into this mess originally. It is time for all representatives and senators to break free of party restraints and apply realistic and fresh thinking to solving this financial crisis despite the pain and unpopularity it may cause.

    Either that or resign now so we can get some ordinary citizens in the halls of Congress to represent us.

    July 23, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  13. Realpoet2

    Can someone tell House Speaker Boehner he is not the President of the United States and if he would like to be he needs to campaign.

    Next Large Corporations like the Bell companies, downsized in 2004 when the Bush Tax Cuts started, no more reason for the Rich to find loop holes. What year did the Tax Cuts on the wealthiest Americans occur? What year did Bush give the oil industry Tax Reduction?

    What actually cause the recessive status of the United States? No one realized that the World Trade Center coming down did exactly what the terrorist wanted, it began to cripple our economy, and the smartest financial minds in the world was lost and the experience went with it.

    Is Boehner a financial wizard? If he cuts the medicare and medicade programs, then he has no choice but to tax the wealthy. We give our money to the wealthiest everyday, by this I mean every major corporation receive money from the poor and middle class, they prosper and keep it, don't help the government with it, and he wants to close his eyes to the facts they have the money and yet there are no jobs..

    TAX the wealthy because they will create ways to make more money, given them Loop hole incentives to create jobs, if you expect the Rich to put money into a loosing economy, you better think again. BOEHNER no rich corporation is going to make attempts on putting money in a Dead horse, if you do not raise TAX you are going to bring SCI-FI to Americans, The rich will build there own city with walls that no poor person can climb, I hope you enjoy the mess you will create in America.

    July 23, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • fredCPA in DC

      hey sport, real easy/quick question: can you cite a tax increase thats created a job? ya know just one. or is this just some kind of childish spiteful tantrum you want to play out. taking something thats not yours form somebody, which in the end will effect your life not one wit. but you just want to leash out and hurt someone. did you squish bugs when you were a kid? no matter, anyone as childish and sick as you shouldnt be allowed near a voting booth or any heavy machinery. and soon, all like you will be sweopt aside. child time's over. go squah a bug for your sick pleasure mr decency. ya know your comment is really just gross. i wonder if your parents TAUGHT you to be so evil. if they did, i hope they arent aive to see what they created.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  14. larry

    oh, wait a min. have i stumbled into a private democratic pity party...well excuse me...

    July 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • jean2009

      Go back to Faux.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  15. Greg

    The president promised to reporters "we'll go through all the paper." CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS – all gleefully reported this. The president had proof – they were going to show it to us.

    Why did they all suddenly drop that idea today? Where is the proof?

    July 24, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  16. Greg

    After the November elections every commentator said this day was coming.

    The president ignored that and offered a budget in January that increased the debt by $12 trillion. It was voted down 0-97. Not a single democrat voted for it.

    Repubicans ask the President to meet with them in January, February, March, April, and May. The President ignored them and then said no.

    The president's debt commission issued their report. The President ignored it and refused to discuss it or use it in any way.

    After 30 fund raisers, several golf outings, vacations, and trips to bolster the economies of foreign countries, the President decides to discuss the issue. He refuses to use the Ryan Plan and belittles it publicly rather than seeing it as a negotiation starter. He won't consider cut, cap,and balance. Two plans the Republicans offered in writing. He rejects them and offers nothing.

    Finally, he offers a 12 year plan that the CBO can't score – although it appears to offer only 1 trillion in the first 10 years. The CBO won't score beyond 10 years and they say the lack of specifics makes it impossible to score for the first 10 years.

    Then daily he changes his negotiating position – which is only concepts, no details.

    Yep, it's all the Republicans fault.

    July 24, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  17. B Goodman

    Why is Social Security universally called an entitlement program? I have paid into this program for 35 years. I expect to receive a monthly check for the few remaining years I have left. It is no different from an IRA in this respect. Do the banks think of the IRAs as their money that they dole out as entitlements? Those with disabilities at an early age might be considered to be receiving entitlements, but to lump all of us into one big burden is simply erroneous and it creates discriminatory thinking toward retired people. I am not even going to comment on the unevolved idea of taking benefits from the disabled. This country is being pushed into elitist judgements against those who may not necessarily support political rhetoric. If taxpayers must pay for every nonsensical big-money act forced down our throats, and we are not permitted to vote or voice actual opinions, then we are living in a dictatorship wherein a few good old boys decide who counts and who doesn't.

    July 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  18. fredCPA in DC

    THE PRESIDENT: Norah, what I’ll do is we’ll do a tick-tock, we’ll go through all the paper.

    hey CNN – have you, um ASKED for this tick tock by any chance? just so, ya know, in case the president is a liar? cause, grash, if he is full of crap, then we know who to blame right? so, um, did you ask for it yet?? he SAID he has it and will give it. seems you all, or say anyone thats, um, inquisitve, say like a journalist, might ask, huh? maybe? UNLESS OF COURSE THEY KNOW WHAT IT WILL reveal.......

    July 25, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  19. fredCPA in DC

    this is infortunately incorrect. you have been lied to. when you die, do your heirs receive the vested benefit in your IRA? yes. what does SS pay your heirs? answer is nothing. there is NO vested benefit. you paid in for 35 years and YOUR money went to the receipeints then, 35 years ago. and 34 years ago. and so on. and none of it was saved or is yours. iot was given away then. it was tax taken from you and distributed to someone esle; then. done and gone. there is nothing anyone OWES you. and if you insist on getting whats "yours", the ones paying will be your children and grandchildren; theru payroll wirthholdings of fica or thru SE tax paid on self-employment earnings. . they are paying for your SS benefits when you receive it, assuming they have jobs. do what you want, punish your own children based on a lie. i., for one, refuse to take out my frustatrions about about a lieing politician on my own children. i hope your kids have more sense than you do. and beleive me, they WILL undertstand all this when their paychecks are seized to the tune of 50-60% which will be required to support your dullusions. and they will not be pleased. good day.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  20. Kathleen

    I have to just be direct with my question? Are the people that are retired on disability and social security going to completely lose their income or not? Please just give us a straight answer - if you can please!!!! My disability is my ONLY income. If it is taken away at all, I will lose the house I'm living in, my car, my pets – my total way to survive and will probably starve to death like many of the other disabled and seniors would. How could our government do this to us? We worked most of our lives before retiring for whatever reason. I just do not understand all of this. Did the government use the social security taxes that we paid in while working for other things? Just please don't take away our only surviving income.

    July 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm |