Tales from the Trail

RNC posts 2004 video of Obama calling the deficit under Bush “an enormous problem”

As Republicans this week extend their attacks on President Obama for the increasing federal debt, the RNC’s “rapid response” team has dredged up old video of then-Senate candidate Obama elaborating his views about the federal deficit during a 2004 debate.

In the course of his response to a moderator’s question about the “monstrous federal deficit,” Obama says it’s “an enormous problem” brought about by the Bush White House, which he calls “the most fiscally irresponsible administration in certainly my memory.”

“We have gone from trillion-dollar surpluses to trillion-dollar deficits in the blink of an eye,” Obama said. “Not all of those costs are the fault of the administration — obviously, 9/11 occurred and the decline in the economy. But what is also true is that it was aided and abetted by a set of fiscal policies that I think were on the wrong course.”

Watch, via the RNC (and h/t Buzzfeed):

Washington Extra – Patriotic millionaires

As Democrats and Republicans hunkered down on opposite sides of the Capitol on Wednesday, showing no signs of a compromise on slashing the deficit, a group called the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength made its move.

Nearly 140 members wrote a letter to President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to “do the right thing” and “raise our taxes.” Next they hit up the bipartisan “super committee,” laboring under a Nov. 23 deadline to reach agreement on the deficit or trigger unpalatable budget cuts.

One of the corporate patriots said if Congress ended Bush-era tax cuts it would affect him and his fellow millionaires in his group “about as much as a dead fly interrupts a picnic.”

Stark realities of U.S. life without credit

Amid the political fingerpointing over which party will catch the blame if Congress fails to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit, comes the stark reality of what bills get paid after Aug. 2, if the U.S. government can’t borrow more money.

A group of House Republicans wrote a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday to say there would be plenty of money from tax receipts to make interest payments to creditors, pay Social Security retirement benefits, cover Medicare health payments and pay U.S. military troops.

Senate Democrats at a news conference made clear that once those bills were paid, little would be left for anything else.

Washington Extra – Beware of frank

When officials in Washington describe talks as “frank,” the usual translation is: “didn’t go my way.”

President Barack Obama emerged from a meeting with congressional leaders on the deficit and proclaimed: “People were frank.”

Uh-oh. Doesn’t sound like the president’s persuasive personality prevailed.

Live coverage: President Obama’s speech on debt reduction

President Obama will explain his vision for tackling the long-term U.S. deficit and debt in a speech in Washington at 1:35 p.m.

Washington Extra – A vision

One thing clear about President Barack Obama’s much-anticipated speech on reducing the long-term deficit is that the White House believes it will be a vision to behold. USA/

“The president will lay out a vision and that vision will be clear,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. But he refused to provide details and said to stay tuned.

Will there be numbers? Is it a plan? White House correspondents asked seeking clarity.

Washington Extra – 9 below

Don’t underestimate the PoliPsych impact of the unemployment rate falling below 9 percent for the first time in nearly two years.

That number is the one which resonates with the public when candidates talk about jobs on the campaign trail. USA-ECONOMY/JOBS

The economy is still shaking off the doldrums so the White House did not want to be seen as publicly reveling in what must have been a privately gleeful moment after the 8.9 percent February unemployment rate was revealed.

Washington grow up? Don’t hold your breath

President Barack Obama said he wants a mature discussion between politicians of all stripes as the White House and members of Congress try to make tough decisions on spending and taxes necessary to run the government and deal with a ballooning budget deficit.obama1

“My hope is that what’s different this time is, is we have an adult conversation where everybody says here’s what’s important and here’s how we’re going to pay for it,” Obama told a news conference Tuesday.

Don’t hold your breath.

Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 with a pledge to seek common ground between Democrats and Republicans, but his time in office has been marked by bitter fighting and few issues garnering bipartisan support.

Washington Extra – A snowball’s chance?

American voters made their feelings very clear last week. U.S. government borrowing is too high and needs to be reduced. How sad, then, that the presidential commission tasked with coming up with a credible plan to cut the deficit is already being dismissed as a non-event.erskine

“This is the most predictable economic crisis we have ever faced,” Erskine Bowles rightly said today as he unveiled his joint proposals with co-chair Alan Simpson.

What is lacking, though, is not a realization of this fact, but the political will and bipartisanship to find a solution. Already, some members of their own commission have expressed skepticism about the plan or dismissed it entirely, while the wider audience in Congress is hardly rushing to embrace the ideas.