Politics
President Barack Obama arrives to speak from the White House briefing room, Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Washington, about a deal being reached to raise the debt limit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) President Barack Obama arrives to speak from the White House briefing room, Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Washington, about a deal being reached to raise the debt limit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)  

Obama carefully backs debt-ceiling deal

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama used a brief Sunday night appearance to appeal to independent voters and to distance himself from the debt ceiling compromise hashed out by leaders in Congress — even while indicating he would sign it.

“Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe we could have made the tough choices on entitlement reform and tax reform right now,” the president said in his short and low-key statement.

Numerous polls show that the critical swing-voting independents are alarmed at the federal government’s $14.3 trillion debt and favor some spending cuts, along with reform of entitlement programs.

Obama initially sought an unconditional increase in the debt ceiling. He shifted his goal, however, when he announced his support for a “grand bargain” that would combine spending cuts and new taxes to trim the federal deficit by roughly $4 trillion over ten years.

GOP legislators denied him that goal by walking away from negotiations, proposing instead a smaller, two-stage deal that raises the debt limit by more than $2.4 trillion and cuts spending by a similar amount over the next decade.

Obama made sure to remind progressives and liberals disappointed by the Sunday deal that he supports their preference for tax increases over spending cuts. The second half of the two-step debt ceiling process, he said, offers another opportunity for progressives to win some gains, including tax increases, which he has said round out a “balanced approach.”

“In this [second] stage, everything will be on the table … [and] I’ll continue to make a detailed case to these lawmakers about why I believe a balanced approach is necessary to finish the job,” he said.

“I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions.” (RELATED: White House, congressional leaders announce debt ceiling deal as votes loom)

During recent negotiations, Obama had pushed for tax increases worth at least $400 billion over 10 years. That push, however, prompted GOP leaders to quit the White House negotiations.

A 9:55 p.m. statement from the White House said the president’s dealmaking clout during the second stage will benefit from the Jan. 2013 expiration of tax cuts championed by President George Bush in 2001 and then extended in December 2010 by Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress. “Absent a balanced deal, [expiration] would enable the President to use his veto pen to ensure nearly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction by not extending the high-income tax cuts,” the statement said.

Throughout his Sunday statement, Obama rhetorically distanced himself from both his fellow Democrats and Washington’s messy and combative legislative process. The debt-ceiling deal, he assured Americans, “allows us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on America.”

“This process is messy and has taken too long,” Obama said, and “ultimately the leaders of both parties have found their way to compromise.”

Obama also highlighted a significant symbolic difference between him and his fellow Democrats, although he did not provide any details: “Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they’re still around for future generations.”

Obama has tried to cultivate an image in recent weeks as a level headed Washington outsider above the political fray. This tactic may allow him to simultaneously distance himself from unpopular aspects of his term in office, appeal to swing-voting independents, and campaign as an outsider against corruption in Washington, D.C.

However, the president’s popularity among independents has slid significantly in the last few months. A July Pew Research Center poll showed that 54 percent of independent voters disapprove of his record in office.

  • Coonyben

    Sorry, left out  ‘of cuts’ before the over ten years part.
    Long day at the ranch 

  • Coonyben

    The entire debt deal is a scam. The simple fact is, raise the debt ceiling by X amount.in the now, and
    offset it by X amount ‘over ten years’ is unadulertated B.S. One Congress CANNOT pass budgetary
    legislation binding the hands of future Congresses. The whole deal was one big stinking dead fish

  • Jagraham

    The 28th Ammendmenht        –        Will not be passed unless the People demand it….and consistently make it an issue. Keep in mind who must make it happen…        Should be a simple matter if there is commitment…        I have totally cleaned this e-mail from all other names, sending it to you in hopes you will keep it going and keep it clean. This is something I will fight for and I hope you read it all the way through. You will be glad you did.        The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cellphones, etc.        Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.        I’m asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.        In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.        Congressional Reform Act of 2011        1. No Tenure / No Pension.        A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.        2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.        All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social  Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.        3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.        4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.        5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.        6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.        7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.        The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen .Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.        If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message .Maybe it is time.        THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!        If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.        You are one of my 20+. Please keep it going.
     
    Link to comment: http://disq.us/30r1e8

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BSVRYFMZWODZDX2EAQ5NE7PUSU Daniel

    I support your ideas, however there are 3 branches of government and sadly all 3 must agree and those changes in legislators sweet deal they over history have gave themselves will never make it to the floor for a vote.
     still a great list of suggestions.

  • Jagraham

     
    The 28th Ammendmenht        –        Will not be passed unless the People demand it….and consistently makeit an issue. Keep in minnd who must make it happen…        Should be a simple matter if there is commitment…        I have totally cleaned this e-mail from all other names, sending it toyou in hopes you will keep it going and keep it clean. This is somethingI will fight for and I hope you read it all the way through. You will beglad you did.        The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) tookonly 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demandedit. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cellphones, etc.        Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or lessto become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.        I’m asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twentypeople on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.        In three days, most people in The United States of America will have themessage. This is one idea that really should be passed around.        Congressional Reform Act of 2011        1. No Tenure / No Pension.        A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay whenthey are out of office.        2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.        All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the SocialSecurity system immediately. All future funds flow into the SocialSecurity system, and Congress participates with the American people. Itmay not be used for any other purpose.        3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as allAmericans do.        4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressionalpay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.        5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates inthe same health care system as the American people.        6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the Americanpeople.        7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective1/1/12.        The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congressis an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizenlegislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and backto work.        If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will onlytake three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message.Maybe it is time.        THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!        If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.        You are one of my 20+. Please keep it going.

    • Kathleen

      HI, I  Agree with you  on  everything in your  remark, , they should be held accountable  for  their actions as well,  if th e American  people  did what Congress does we would be in prison somewhere, they should work an  earn their right to be in office an  if not be  voted out or kicked out an  not  keep their benifits once their are out,pay for their own health care like the rest of us have to do.if not go without.

    • Don

      Jagraham,
      I have been telling people these exact same things that you have in your proposed 28th ammendment! I couldn’t agree with you more! It’s time our government listens to the people they are there to serve. they think theyare our rulers they are supposed to be our servants. They are out of touch with the reality of common citizens, because they have spoiled themselves!
      Don

  • Anonymous

    Of course Republicans are in favor of debt reduction  provided the richest few dont pay more.. they were asked to pay what amounted to an extra $30 dollars on each $1000 over $250,000 and they said No. Anyone who makes less than $250,000 a a year after deductions is  crazy. Wait until Republicans abolish the mortgage interest exemption and carry on their plans to end Medicare. 
    All that being said Obama is not the fighter we need against the  High Income Enrichment party

  • Anonymous

    Of course Republicans are in favor of debt reduction  provided the richest few dont pay more.. they were asked to pay what amounted to an extra $30 dollars on each $1000 over $250,000 and they said No. Anyone who makes less than $250,000 a a year after deductions is  crazy. Wait until Republicans abolish the mortgage interest exemption and carry on their plans to end Medicare. 
    All that being said Obama is not the fighter we need against the  High Income Enrichment party

  • Jagraham

     
      Thank you America !
    Dear American Taxpayer       I want to thank the hard working American people for paying $242 thousand dollars for my vacation in Spain.My daughter Sasha, several long-time family friends, my personal staff and various guests had a wonderful time. Honestly, you just haven’t lived until you have stayed in a $2,500..00 per night private 3-story villa at a 5-Star luxury hotel.Thank you also for the u se of Air Force Two and the 70 Secret Service personnel who tagged along to be sure we were safe and cared for at all times. By the way, if you happen to be visiting the Costa del Sol, I highly recommend the Buenaventura Plaza restaurant in Marbella; great lobster with rice and oysters! Air Force Two (which costs $11,351 per hour to operate according to Government Accounting Office reports) only used 47,500 gallons of jet fuel for this trip and carbon emissions were a mere 1,031 tons of CO2. These are only rough estimates, but they are close. That’s quite a carbon footprint as my good friend Al Gore would say, so we must ask the American citizens to drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars and drive less too, so we can lessen our combined carbon footprint.I know times are hard and millions of you are struggling to put food on the table and trying to make ends meet. So I do appreciate your sacrifices and do hope you find work soon.I was really exhausted after Barack took our family on a luxury vacation in Maine a few weeks ago. I just had to get away for a few days.Cordially,Michelle ObamaP.S. Thank you as well for the $2 BILLION dollar trip to India !P.S. Thank you, too, for that vacation trip to Martha’s Vineyard; it was fabulous. And thanks for that second smaller jet that took our dog Bo to Martha’s Vineyard so we and the children could have him with us while we were away from the White House for eleven days. P.SSS. Oh, I almost forgotto thank you all for our “date weekend” in New York and to say thanks also for our two-week trip to Hawaii at Christmas. That 7,000 square foot house was great!
    And finally, thanks for asking, we had a great time taking Air Force One to Chicago to tape our segment with Oprah a couple weeks ago, replete with full security, a separate plane for armored limosines and a full contingent of assistants.Remember we all have to share the pain of these economic times equally! Love to -redistribute- share- the wealth.
    SEND THIS TO EVERY AMERICAN NOW
     
    STAND UP, SPEAK UP. NEVER SURRENDER!!!!

    • Anonymous

       with the help of god and the will of the American people coming togather as they do in times of trouble, Barrack you great vacations and great sending habits are due to come to a end and you if we are able to prove what every one knows, We will not only put you out of a job but out of our. country to.