So much for “No Drama” Obama. After his self-interested debt negotiation strategy failed, the President held a press conference blaming Republicans (but not Bush this time).
President Barack Obama’s negotiating strategy on the debt ceiling has failed, leaving him at the White House podium on Friday at 6:30 p.m. blaming Republicans and complaining, “I’ve been left at the altar.”
A visibly angry Obama criticized Republicans’ opposition to tax increases, saying that was the reason for the breakdown.
Although both sides came close on proposed spending cuts, “there has been a consistency on our part … [that] there has to be some balance in the process.” Obama and his deputies have long used “balance” as a euphemism for tax increases.
Spending cuts in the draft plan developed by Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner were similar to those suggested in the still vague “Gang of Six” plan developed by Democrat and Republican senators, he said. The Gang of Six plan called for spending cuts of perhaps $2 trillion and tax hikes of between $1 and $3 trillion, according to various sources.
Negotiations broke down after Boehner refused to agree to raise taxes. “The difference [between Obama and the GOP] was that we didn’t put all the burden on the people who are least able to protect themselves,” Obama said.
In his comments to reporters in the White House press room, the president backed away from his earlier demands for a tax increase, saying that he was willing to accept a deal that “is not as balanced as I would wish it to be.”
He also suggested that he would sign a deal that would not cut spending or raise taxes. “I will sign an extension that goes to 2013, and make a case to the American people that we should go out there and solve this problem.”
President Obama’s plans have been foiled, and in typical sophomoric fashion, the President is blaming everyone but himself.
Obama blamed Republicans for the breakdown and defended House and Senate Democrats. “This is not a situation where it was the usual food fight between Democrats and Republicans,” he said. “A lot of Democrats stepped up in ways that were not advantageous politically … we [Democrats] have shown ourselves willing to do the tough stuff.”
In contrast, he said, Bohner’s GOP caucus includes legislators “that actually think a default would be okay … [Republicans] are going to have to explain to me how we are going to avoid default.”
Republican House leaders have already drafted a long-term spending plan and the “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan. On Friday, however, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led a party-line vote in the Senate against the Cut, Cap and Balance plan, and then announced that the Senate would close for the weekend.
Senate Democrats have not drafted any proposal to extend the debt ceiling, in part because any such plan would threaten Democratic Senators who face tough reelection campaigns in 2012. The Democrats hold only a four-seat majority in the Senate.
House Democrats, similarly, have not drafted a plan of their own.
The president declined to explain what measures he proposed to raise the debt ceiling. Within two minutes of the press event’s conclusion, GOP critics tweeted out calls for Obama to describe his plan in detail.
Throughout the negotiations, Obama has refused to make any public proposals. Instead, he has tried to draft a plan in closed-door negotiations that congressional leaders would then push through the House and Senate.
However, Obama insisted several times during the conference that he had tried to lead Washington through the debt-ceiling debate. “If you want to be a leader, you’ve got to lead,” he said, just as he walked away from the podium and reporters’ questions.
He said he had summoned the four top legislators in the House and Senate to the White House for another round of negotiations Saturday. “They will come down here at 11 a.m. tomorrow [and] I expect them to have an answer,” he declared.
I love that Obama just walked away from the podium while insisting that he’s a good leader. Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans are getting on his nerves!
And they’re showing actual leadership. House Republicans passed a plan, and now Boehner is preparing to negotiate with the Senate. Check out the full text of Boehner’s letter to GOP legislators (courtesy the Daily Caller):
Our economy is not creating enough jobs, and the policies coming out of Washington are a big reason why. Because of Washington, we have a tax code that is stifling job creation. Because of Washington, we have a debt crisis that is sowing uncertainty and sapping the confidence of small businesses. Because of Washington, our children are financing a government spending binge that is jeopardizing their future.
Since the moment I became Speaker, I’ve urged President Obama to lock arms with me and seize this moment to do something significant to address these challenges. I’ve urged him to partner with congressional Republicans to do something dramatic to change the fiscal trajectory of our country. . .something that will boost confidence in our economy, renew a measure of faith in our institutions of government, and help small businesses get back to creating jobs.
The House this week passed such a plan. . .the Cut, Cap & Balance Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.
Along with Majority Leader Cantor, I have also engaged the president in a dialogue in recent days. The purpose of this dialogue was to see if we could identify a path forward that would implement the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance in a manner that could secure bipartisan support and be signed into law.
During these discussions – as in my earlier discussions – it became evident that the White House is simply not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children’s future.
A deal was never reached, and was never really close.
In the end, we couldn’t connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country.
The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. As a former small businessman, I know tax increases destroy jobs.
The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs. As the father of two daughters, I know these programs won’t be there for their generation unless significant action is taken now.
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.
The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have not been participants in the conversations I and Leader Cantor have had with the White House; nor have the Republican leaders of the Senate. But I believe there is a shared commitment on both sides of the aisle to producing legislation that will serve the best interests of our country in the days ahead – legislation that reflects the will of the American people, consistent with the principles of the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act that passed the House with bipartisan support this week.
I wanted to alert you to these developments as soon as possible. Further information will be coming as soon as it is available. It is an honor to serve with you. Together, we will do everything in our power to end the spending binge in Washington and help our economy get back to creating jobs.
President Obama has failed to lead. He never offered a plan. Even now, after being taken down by Speaker Boehner, the President continues to offer the same crap. Closed-door negotiations, photo-ops to make the President look good, no real cuts to anything, job-killing tax increases, and a time-frame for the ceiling increase that self-servingly pushes this issue out of people’s minds until after the 2012 election.
Mr. President, stop being such a sanctimonious, self-centered, self-righteous, naive, arrogant, demagogic drama queen. Be a leader instead.