GOP candidates react to dueling debt limit speeches

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Three Republican presidential candidates lined up against Barack Obama’s calls Monday night for new taxes and a $2.4 trillion debt ceiling deal.

“President Obama is lecturing the country instead of leading it,‘ said former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. “He has presided over the largest and most irresponsible run up of debt in our nation’s history … [His] speech was all rhetoric and no results, and is another reason why President Obama needs to be removed from office.” (Boehner makes his case to America, and his own caucus)

In a press release, former Sen. Rick Santorum said Americans are “fed up” with “a President who uses class warfare as a crutch to divide rather than focusing on solving the issues affecting each and every American.” Obama, he added, “has become incapable of addressing our nation’s debt crisis … [and should] make the tough choices necessary to bring fiscal sanity back to Washington.”

Earlier in the evening, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman issued a statement in support of House Speaker John Boehner’s plan, which the Speaker promoted in a speech immediately following the president’s.

“I applaud Speaker [John] Boehner and Republican Leadership in the House for proposing a plan that makes serious strides towards solvency and will prevent us from defaulting on our obligations,” said Huntsman. “President Obama should sign on to this plan instead of demanding over $1 trillion in tax hikes and a politically convenient timetable.”