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Obama’s lament: ‘I inherited this mess’

By JEFF MASON -- Reuters
August 9, 2011

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the lowering of the U.S. credit rating and the Afghan helicopter crash in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, August 8, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Barack Obama said on Monday he inherited many of the country’s problems with high debt and deficits when he entered the White House, sounding a theme likely to dominate his 2012 re-election campaign.

Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser, where families paid $15,000 to get a picture with him, Obama defended his economic record and noted that problems in Europe were affecting the United States.

“We do have a serious problem in terms of debt and deficit, and much of it I inherited,” Obama said. The financial crisis, he said, made the problem worse.

Democrats and Republicans agreed to a deal to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending last week, but credit rating agency Standard & Poor‘s downgraded the United States, contributing to a steep fall in stock markets on Monday.

Obama noted that the United States had seen 17 months of consecutive private-sector job growth, rising corporate profits and stabilized credit markets under his watch.

“What’s absolutely true, even before these last couple days in the stock market, is that recovery wasn’t happening fast enough,” he said. “When you have problems in Europe and in Spain and in Italy and in Greece, those problems wash over into our shores,” he said.

Some 140 people attended the fundraiser, which was held at a private home.

CLEAR CONTRAST

Obama, who is ramping up his fundraising after taking a hiatus while the debt-ceiling debate raged in Washington, said the deficit issue would provide a clear contrast for voters in the 2012 race for the White House.

“What we’re going to have is 16 months in which we debate this vision for America, and it’s going to be as fundamental a debate as 2008,” he said.

“In some ways it may be even a more profound debate because the contrast is going to be clear and it’s going to be sharp.”

Obama is pressing for Congress to extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance to help boost the economy, but he expressed skepticism that lawmakers would get a lot done.

“As president of the United States my job is to work with Congress to try to get as much done as possible,” he said.

“Whether we’re going to see any progress out of this Congress right now — because so far we haven’t seen much when it comes to innovative ideas that actually put people to work and grow the economy — remains to be seen.”

Under the debt-ceiling agreement, a “super committee” in Congress will find further ways to tackle the deficit in the coming months. Obama said on Friday he would outline his own recommendations for that committee.

At a separate event for potential campaign donors on Monday, Obama previewed what could make up those recommendations, saying revenues needed to be raised, the tax code would have to be reformed, and modest adjustments to the Medicare healthcare program would have to be enacted.

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16 Responses to Obama’s lament: ‘I inherited this mess’

  1. griff

    August 9, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Boy, that Barack Obama sure is presidential, ain’t he? What a leader!

    Yeah Barry, you inherited a 10 trillion dollar deficit, turned it into an almost 15 trillion dollar deficit in two and a half years, and lay that blame on your predecessor. Way to take responsibility and be a true leader.

    You said we could spend, borrow and “stimulate” our way out of this recession while creating nothing but menial service jobs. This country wasn’t built flipping burgers and making beds.

    You said we could bail out the big banks and quantitatively ease our way back to prosperity.

    A constitutional scholar is he!?

    • Carl Nemo

      August 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Spot-on commentary griff…! : |

      Carl Nemo **==

  2. Almandine

    August 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Neither a gentleman nor a scholar, just another political Hack.

  3. rick

    August 9, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Goodness…goodness…goodness. Of course you inherited a mess which is why the American voters hired you and your cronies to fix the mess. So, Mr. ACORN, how did that work out?

    Well…the first sign of customer satisfaction was the elections of 2010. Was that the type of feedback you needed? You think that is bad just wait until 10/2012 when you’ll be ushered out and into the wonderful world of 100K speeches where you can continue to promulgate your revisionist history.

  4. bmclellan

    August 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

    $15,000 for an 8×10 square of useless glossy medicinal paper. Only in America..

  5. DejaVuAllOver

    August 9, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Very funny, Mr. “President.” When you’re guilty as Hell of countless crimes, when everyone over age 7 knows you’re the problem, not the answer and when your lies just aren’t working anymore, whadaya do?

    YOU PLAY THE VICTIM.

    Obama’s handlers in Tel Aviv have trained him well.

  6. Carl Nemo

    August 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Granted the President is “Commander in Chief” and Captain of the USS America, but the ‘crew’ manning our vessel, the Congress, is sorely lacking in the necessary political seamanship skills to get the passengers through the turbulent seas of possible financial destruction.

    They simply refuse to change course and pull the plug on their spendthrift ways. Spending money you don’t have is an addiction and very hard to break, no different than those of a chemical nature. Millions of our citizens suffer the same illness as a function of CC abuse.

    I’m hoping the Chinese come through with their threat of pulling the plug on floating our debts or at least pulling out to the extent it somehow moves the ‘addict’ on a path to better financial health.

    Carl Nemo **==

    p.s. Nice posting format Doug. : )

    • Almandine

      August 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Format OK… lack of recent comment box not so.

      • Carl Nemo

        August 12, 2011 at 1:03 am

        I agree Almandine. In addition I miss the “search function” for referencing earlier post content to CHB. I sent Doug an email concerning these issues, but didn’t get a reply. No doubt he’s been superbusy with his website empire. : )

        Carl Nemo **==

  7. freecitizen

    August 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Obama’s lament: ‘I inherited this mess’

    You could say alot about this statement! but I will mention two!

    1. he willingly and willfully sought this office in which he now holds so, whining about it being solely bush’s fault is childish ans irrelevent since he, in a matter of 2.5 years has added another 5 trillion to the debt and this price tag will continue to go up.

    2. for 2 years he critisized many of bush’s policies on the economy, the so-called War on Terror, constitutional and legal issues etc, etc and even before he took office, he was nominating the very crooks that helped cause this mess to begin with for his economic team and after taking office, not only adopted these same policies in which he critised bush for, but in some cases is even worse.

    And of course, I’ll throw in an Impotent and cowardly and responsibily avoiding congress as well.

  8. Walter Wouk

    August 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    The only meaningful message independents and progressives can send to Obama and his backers in 2012 is, don’t vote
    for him.

  9. Tom

    August 10, 2011 at 12:34 am

    It doesn’t matter which party or person you vote for since they are all bought and paid for. Check out Opensecrets.org to see all of the money thrown at the political hacks. I think the president had good intentions when he was elected, but was told by the powers at be what to do after he was sworn in. I read somewhere that he disappeared for a couple of days after he was elected for his personal indoctrination. Whether that is true or questionable he doesn’t seem to have the fire that was once there.

  10. Watchman

    August 10, 2011 at 4:23 am

    You know Obama is in trouble when a east cost liberal like Maureen Dowd turns on him in the New York Times, accusing him of “a leadership void”. That, frankly, has been obvious for two years already. Obama is a poser and a talker. A leader he is not.

    He inherited the mess? Every president inherits a mess. But Obama is the first president who seems offended all these problems land on his desk. His attitude seems to be that he is too great and important to be bothered by such petty matters as the economy.

  11. Fivebyfives

    August 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    “I inherited this mess”….somebody call the waaaaaaambulance!

  12. Fivebyfives

    August 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Also…”The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here”

  13. woody188

    August 10, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    If your floor is dirty, you grab a broom and a mop and clean it up. Obama’s floor started dirty, but he dumped buckets full of dirt on top of the dirty floor, then claimed it wasn’t his mess in the first place?