Roundup: Commentators on the debt talks
How is U.S. President Barack Obama handling the debt-ceiling talks? CNN commentators and newscasters weigh in.
July 11th, 2011
09:19 PM ET

Roundup: Commentators on the debt talks

Negotiations on the federal debt ceiling have started kicking into high gear in recent days with the August 2 deadline to raise the U.S. borrowing limit pressing upon us. The financial markets, global leaders - and the pundits - are parsing every word of the debate that involves trillions of dollars.

On Monday, President Barack Obama ruled out any chance of signing a short-term extension of the debt ceiling. He insisted now's the time to tackle the nation's most pressing fiscal problems comprehensively. He wants  bipartisan compromise on both taxes and cuts to entitlement programs. His push for the largest deal possible is an apparent rejection of a call by House Speaker John Boehner to focus more narrowly on spending cuts agreed to in an earlier round of negotiations.

CNN's team of commentators and newscasters has weighed in on how the negotiations are going, how President Barack Obama is performing and the historical significance of this debate:

David Gergen: Obama joins parties in painting himself into a corner over debt

"It's hard to remember a simmering crisis when America's political leaders have painted themselves into so many corners, but that's where we are as we face a potential default on our national debt. As leaders return to bargaining Monday afternoon, they had better find their way out soon, or we will pay a fearful price. ...

Obama, to his credit, has been pushing both sides to come off their hard-line positions and seek compromises. On the substantive issues, he has been the most flexible of any of the players on the field.

It was thus stunning Monday morning that in his press conference, the president painted himself into a different corner, insisting that he would refuse to accept any short-term deal, even one that would be good for 180 days."

John P. Avlon: In debt talks, Obama as  grown-up in the room

"President Obama is catching a lot of flak from his left for even offering entitlement reform and spending cuts as part of a grand bargain. But in doing so, he is showing himself to be a responsible chief executive committed to good faith negotiations.

In the past, President Obama was criticized for being too deferential to Nancy Pelosi & Co. when it came to congressional spending. He has likewise been criticized for being too aloof and detached, inevitable in a "No-Drama Obama."

But in these negotiations, President Obama is proving he can stand up to the far left as well as the far right."

William Howell: The president is the best bet to find way out of deadlock

"If you're looking for leadership, the kind of leadership that will recognize, define and offer solutions to entrenched social problems, you're most likely to find it in the president. It is the president, after all, who serves the entire nation and retains the formal powers, informational resources and political incentives to attend to its long-term welfare.

Congress, by contrast, is a collective decision-making body in which 535 voting members from nearly as many districts and states vie for influence, struggle to direct portions of the federal government's largesse back home and keep their gazes fixed on the next elections."

Wolf Blitzer: A high-stakes game of chicken

'There’s a very high-stakes game of chicken under way in Washington right now. The two sides have no choice but to reach an agreement in the coming days. Let’s see which side blinks. ...

"The question now is can the president and the speaker finesse some sort of compromise that allows the debt ceiling to be raised."

Julian Zelizer: President's bully pulpit not what it used to be

"President Ronald Reagan was one of the last presidents to govern in an era when presidents could really make their case. When he wanted to sell his tax cut in 1981, he went to the American public, armed with charts and statistics to explain why tax cuts could lower deficits and boost the economy.

"But the current structure of the media has emasculated the bully pulpit. Regardless of how good a president is on the stump, it is almost impossible for him to command public attention, because there is no singular 'media' to speak of."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Budget • Congress • Politics
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Nancy

    It is time for America to take care of its own. Stop scaring the elderly with comments on Social Security, stop scaring veterans who have protected us in the past and now. We give millions, perhaps billions of dollars in foreign aide, but we are not taking care of ourselves in the process. Wake up America and take care of America.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |

      Well said, Nancy. Thank you.

      July 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hawk 1

      The republicans have used scare tactics for years. and as to paying goverment checks such as social sercuity you can not pay them if you do not have the money. the republicans are the ones holding this country hostage.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. melissa

    I feel that our president and others in office should look at their own poket books. While we poor people struggle they get what ever they need! They do not care if my 13 year old has clothes on her back or wether or not she eats 3 meals a day or wether we have electricity,water. or what we consider the necessities for living. We as a country pay our past presidents to play golf, we as a country pay our present office holder to make decissions that when my 13 year old is grown means that she will live on one of the meanist ruthless degrading contenants on our planet. Do I need to stress that all we have to pay for our basic needs is Social Security Disability and with out it we will fall and be forgotten.My husband and I can not work do to health but does he really care? If he does then why don't he take a massive pay cut himself and stop getting rich at the poor peoples expense.

    July 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rick

    Wars are expensive and have to be paid for. If you lower taxes during a war then you must finance it by borrowing money. If you borrow money you must pay it back, with interest. I remember other than the non-existent WMD's other rhetoric stating that the US would be welcomed by the people of Iraq as 'liberators' that the conflict would last only for weeks and would be financed with Iraq oil revenues. I also remember how good it would be for the Economy not to tax the wealthiest 3% of Americans. We obviously were lied to!

    July 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. barb

    as a senior citizen i need to know if i can tap into the corporates and oil companies subsidies in order to cover my mortgage, car loan, property taxes and medical expenses. since it seems to me that their welfare is considered more important than older americans. people on capital hill have been using seniors and the middle class hostage long enough. now is the time for the wealthiest 2% to take a hit this time. mcconnell, boehner and cantor how about sharing your august salaries with the people your hard line policies are hurting the most?

    July 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Concerned

      So you say the wealthiest 2% make 250,000 and up a year. I hate to break it to you thats about the wealthiest 30% besides the wealthiest #% already pay 80% of the taxes collected so what you want to raise it to 100% if you make over lets say one million then the rest of your profits should go to the govt. huh? stupid begets stupid i guess whats next ? anyone who makes over 50,000 gets taxed 100%?

      July 14, 2011 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. maggie

    I receive Social Security Disability i am not able to work . I have quiet a few health problems including being legal blind.I do not have anyone but myself. Mr. Oboma if you love the American people leave SS alone. I live from one check to the next trying to juggle the little bit that i do get. I have to decide what medicines to buy this month,bills to pay ,rent utilities,etc. Mr. President have you ever went into the supermarket looking for the best specials or reduced so you could have food to eat (i do not think so) ! I am speaking not only for myself but for the thousands that are in this same situation. I heard this morning that Social Security checks was not promised for next month. WE DO NOT NEED THIS STRESS. We will be the ones to loose what little we have left. Quite attacking Social Security. And stop wasteful spending.

    July 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Arthur Cloete

    All Americans have lived beyond their means for as long as I can remember. Now it is time to pay the Piper or China will buy more and more USA debt. and America will eventually become a slave to China.
    BEWARE you guys or stay the course and suffer.

    July 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. maggie

    Like to add to my comment i am a 66 year old senior .I though the Golden Years (as referred to) was suppose to be worry free and a joyous .

    July 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patricia

    I have read a few blogs. It is so sad that some people are so in love with hate that their opinion totally ignores the truth.
    It was Bush who started 2 wars. It was Bush who gave tax breaks to the wealthy and who spent recklessly. And all his friends were smiling. Now that the ship is sinking you are in total denial of facts. There is no more money and cutting expenses will reduce a debt but it will not put added money to pay for it unless the rich (who are happy to flag christian values when they need them) accept that the seniors are just as important as they are. A good leader does not ask of his soldiers what he wouldn't do himself.Pres. Obama gave his Novel Prize worth 1,4 millions to charity. Follow the leader.

    July 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elisha

      Ok I kinda agree with what your saying, but Fact 1 Obama promissed change! all ive seen him do is follow, even befriend Bush. Fact 2 Obama worthlessley spent tax payers $ on bailing out the auto industry, in which like I thought, only the rich couild afford new cars. created only a few jobs with that idea. Congress or who ever thought of the cash for clunkers program was the only way to make Mr. Pres look good. Fact 3 more wasteful spending by bailing out the banks, which as far as i no created little to no jobs, But only made huge corporations bigger, with a handfull of bonuses making the filthy rich even richer! Plus he just keeps on a making more and more mistakes like messing with ssi and medicaid, etc. So yes it began with bush and will end with Obama, I only hope we as americans do not make the same mistake we made with Bush and DO NOT RE-ELECT OBAMA!

      July 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hawk 1

      Right. but you will never make the republicans and the tea party own up to that fact they will continue to lie cheat and steal.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Arthur

    Remember folks the only thing "Golden" about the "Golden Years" wii be your u-e!

    July 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mejazzbo

    Now let me get this straight. One article talks about taking the kids out of a loving home if they become fat. Another article is about a national french fry day. So the idea here is get the kids fattened up through national commercial propaganda, so the government can take them away from their parents. Slim the kids down on some kind of soilentgreen product made from the bodies of our starving and homeless elderly thanks to the Tpotty. Then turn them into uneducated droid super soldiers to supply never ending fodder for the 4th, 5th and at least 6th war America is bound to start or gets itself involved in with the continuing delusional "policemen of the world" and "nation building" policies. And the Chinese will lend us the money to pay for all this. Have I got that right. Sounds like pay raise time for congress since they are doing such a bang up job of working everything out.

    July 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JS

    I think if the US would stop trying to police the world with trillion dollar wars and focus on its problems at home first it might save some money. Yes I am greatful for the freedom and security I have at home thanks to the troops fighting such groups such as al Qaeda. But going into other countries and tearing SH!T up and taking their resources so that corporate America and the rich can get richer at a high cost to the rest of the country, and claiming it to be for democracy and crying about having a huge debt from it doesn't make sense . Whose ever won a war in one! Use the money and fight strategically. How can you fight for democracy in foreign countries when you can't even fight for democracy in your own country? If the US would sit back focus on it self and economic issues, the world would quickly realize that there is no need to attack the US because the US is not attacking them.

    July 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
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    July 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. hans

    Obama has to deal with the results of the Bush-era (lower taxes for the rich, debt-wise, Iraq etc.)... and the Bush-friends don't want to get into a collaboration. Americans: do you want live further on borrowed money?, which usually ends up in the pocket of the rich, anyways?

    July 14, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |


    ARIZONA = UTOYA and STOLTENBERG = BREIVIK (90 minutes vs 30 and for government vehicles or police even 20 minutes the most) !!!

    August 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
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