News24

Obama losing sleep over debt deal

2011-07-29 10:01

Washington - President Barack Obama is deeply involved in trying to win a debt deal and his White House was working flat out, aides said, pushing back against any impression Congress had sidelined the administration.

"He's getting absolutely no sleep. He's working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise," top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said.

White House officials have blanketed US cable television in the last few days to get their message over that Republicans were harming the US economy by refusing to compromise over measures to cut the deficit and lift the borrowing ceiling.

Lawmakers must lift the country's $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling by an August 2 deadline to act or risk a devastating default and downgrade of its vital AAA credit rating.

Obama Chief of Staff Bill Daley, key adviser David Plouffe and Jarrett herself have been almost constantly on air, while also reaching beyond the Beltway to regional press and radio.

"I don't know how you can get more actively involved," Daley told CNN when charged that the White House has been relegated to the sidelines in the deficit debate by Congress. "I'm in constant conversations, as are many of our staff, with people on the Hill," he said.

Phones ringing off the hook

Vice-President Joe Biden, who led bipartisan negotiations to explore a deal, has been a key conduit to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, with whom he has a rapport.

White House budget chief Jack Lew and top Obama economic aide Gene Sperling have also reinforced Obama in reaching out to Congress. Daley and Jarrett, both with business backgrounds, have been the president's top emissaries to the business community, where concerns over the debt ceiling have grown.

"Today they are very nervous. My phone was ringing off the hook all day long," said Jarrett, who said she cancelled several meetings just to be able to field incoming calls.

Several press conferences and a prime-time televised address to the nation by the president from the stately East Room, plus a background briefing by senior Obama aides that went late into the night, have added to the controlled frenzy at the White House.

This has translated into even longer days than normal at the White House, which already begin in the early hours of every morning as senior staff prepared for their daily 07:30 meeting in the office of the chief of staff.

Comments
  • Pictureof - 2011-07-29 10:07

    Sad state of affairs when you hand a superpower over too a little Kenyan man. He has taken 300 years of hard work and prestige and wrecked it in a few years. Luckily the US will learn from their mistakes and vote this polooka out. Wish the same could happen here. Doubt we will see another Quasi African leader at the helm for the next 300.

      OnlyaGinger - 2011-07-29 10:27

      Wow dont hold back on the prejudice!! Obviously you have no clue about the global economic system- Obama might be president but he has virtuakly no say in how orders are executed- I find it rich that you can call him out based on his race, give no reason why you say he's destroyed 300yrs of hard work and prestige??? Thats a sweeping statement that should atleast have some corroboration. He was given a torn country, up to its neck in debt, he cannot change the situation they're in overnight- probably never, because America's reign is OVER very soon. yet you were probably very quiet during Bush's reign of terror- did you support his warmongering? I am afraid you will die a bitter, hateful and lonely man- good luck to you, you are a pest to our society.

      gillbilly - 2011-07-29 10:28

      the US was wrecked way before Mr Obama entered the picture so take your racist ignorant elsewhere. Idiot!

      Wes - 2011-07-29 10:33

      A white guy called G W Bush is responsible for this mess. Luckily that polooka was voted out.

      lollie sue - 2011-07-29 10:40

      So you've got problems with black leaders, then that's yr problem, take yr stupid comments elsewhere.

      scorpio - 2011-07-29 10:52

      Ignorance is part of the broader community, it always seems. The USA has been in financial trouble for years. You couldn't blame it on the current president, regardless of what his skin colour was. But, this is exactly what the Republicans will be selling to their electorate. That a black man became president and stuffed up the country within his 1st term of office. That's the real issue here. Racism is alive and well in the USA. And that comes from a white South African, by the way .....

      Jacques - 2011-07-29 11:21

      Please note Kolobe, Zizo, Thsepo. Here is an example of a real racist. I will just help you to differentiate, since you like to think anyone with a white skin is a racist...

      daaivark - 2011-07-29 12:09

      @ Pictureof-pathos: What a remarkably unbiased view you present! NOT!! Obama got handed a sinking ship, and since the start of his tenure factions in senate have sought to undermine everything he has tried to achieve. He has been set up to fail by people of your ilk, though they can probably spell "to" correctly, with one "o". You also clearly know sweet fanny about the structure of the US financial system set up in the early 20th century. Do your homework, and use that vacuum above your neck, before you venture your prejudice so vocally.

      NZdreamer - 2011-07-30 22:03

      Obama knew just what was expected of him when he ran for President - deal with it!

  • Wes - 2011-07-29 10:32

    Did the Republicans sort out the $350 billion hole in their budget plans. They are as moronic as Pictureof.

      gillbilly - 2011-07-29 11:31

      agreed, unfortunately there's no cure for stupidity as the comments from pictureof show...what a chop!

      OZNOB - 2011-07-31 20:16

      STRANGE THE LAST PERSON TO HAVE A BUDGET SURPLUS WAS OLD BILL CLINTON SO IT CA BE DONE WITH ALOT OF HARD WORK

  • meelo - 2011-07-29 10:42

    the picture of Pictureof tells u what u need to know about him

      lollie sue - 2011-07-29 10:57

      u're right, i thought the same

  • rudie.stoltz - 2011-07-29 10:55

    NONSENSE. NO politician loose sleep over nothing !!!!

  • Ixian - 2011-07-29 11:03

    @Pictureof - George Bush and his father, are the pricks that stuffed up the USA. The "Little Kenyan Man", as you put it, is trying to clean up the Republicans trash. Unlike George Jnr., Obama can at least string two sentences together correctly when he speaks.

      lollie sue - 2011-07-29 11:18

      "Yes We Can"

  • Marc - 2011-07-29 11:08

    Obama's government is spending 4.1 billon to Bush's 1,6 billon per day, he has no plan, just watching from the sidelines, USA is spending 100 bil a month more than they earn, and he wants more money to spend, makes great sense......or NOT.

      Ixian - 2011-07-29 11:28

      I bet you got that info from Fox News website.

      Wes - 2011-07-29 11:48

      Yes, he seems a fox news watcher. If he read elsewhere he will know its the Republicans holding everybody hostage.

      OZNOB - 2011-07-31 20:20

      STRANGE WHAT YOU FAIL TO MENTION WAS THE BANKING CRISIS ETC THAT OBAMA WALKED INTO - UNLESS YOU'VE GOT THE PACKAGE THAT'LL SAVE AMERICAS COLLECTIVE ASS - I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU CUT OLD OBAMA SOME SLACK

  • Nelster - 2011-07-29 11:27

    USA is lucky to have a President that actually cares, can you imagine our President loosing sleep worrying about us?

  • Errol - 2011-07-29 11:30

    Perhaps they are holding out so that the equity market can continue to fall - they can then pick up shares at low values - and then they agree -guess what happens to the share market? They sell - nice profit.

  • Illuminated - 2011-07-29 11:34

    this financial crises started nearly a hundred years ago when they introduced the federal reserve bank in 1913, which is a privately owned bank, to print their money. and getting rid of the gold standard was the final nail in the coffin.. the US was bankrupt 50 years ago, they just managed to keep things going as the dollar is the worlds reserve currency and looting country after country with their endless wars also helped... America is not run by presidents or politicians but by Corporations and BANKS... you cant create money out of thin air and not expect there to be consequences... no president besides JFK was worth anything, they're all sponsored by the same corporate and banking giants on both sides so things will never change...

      Wes - 2011-07-29 11:49

      Weird.... The richest country in the world is bankrupt. Do you even know what insolvent means?

      Matt :-) - 2011-07-29 12:11

      Fact - if you are a US Citizen who physically owns gold, you become an enemy of the state. This is a law resulting from the situation Illuminated writes about. The government is DESPERATE for gold. Effectively, every banknote printed in the USA is a glorified IOU, for the money the Federal Reserve prints is a debtors note. $100 note = US owes the Central Bank $100 plus interest... so this being the case, how would the USA ever make good their debt?

      daaivark - 2011-07-29 12:26

      Wes, I am reluctant to dignify your silly remark with a response, but can't resist. Very simplistically put, it depends on how one defines wealth. If you define it as the amount of bullion owned, I think you may get a shock at the US's status. However, if you define it as the amount of credit you can raise, it is a different picture. The problem is that the US has existed on more and more credit for a long time, to the point that it will be unable to meet the demands of creditors should they demand reimbursement.

      umhlopo - 2011-07-29 13:00

      every time the usa gets into trouble they start war,i wonder who is next on their list

  • umhlopo - 2011-07-29 12:57

    Americas zoomer

  • Fair Deal - 2011-07-29 16:35

    Why all the fuss. Just work the printing presses for an extra shift.

      OZNOB - 2011-07-31 20:22

      THEN YOU'LL HAVE ZIMBABWE JUST ON A LARGER SCALE

  • AerynDawnSee - 2011-07-29 19:07

    The charades in the USA regarding the raising of the US debt ceiling, and in the Euro-zone regarding the bailout for Greece and other countries, are lies. There are no just solutions to these problems. Massive over-accumulations of debt cannot be solved by adding more debt! It is insanity in its most blatant form, paraded before the world as a solution! The Emperor has NO clothes. Since the monetary system is composed of debt, people should expect the complete breakdown of the current monetary system. Those who wish to protect themselves can plant gardens and purchase precious metals, backup supplies of food, equipment to produce electricity, and so forth.

  • boerqwhaas - 2011-07-29 19:08

    When Obama took office the US debt was about 8 trillion. It took 200 years to acucmulate that. In 3 years under Obama, it stands now at 14 trillion, almost doubled, and does not account for the devastating effects of Obama care. If he stays in office next year, the US will hav a CC rating by the time he leaves. Credit ratings are a function of the debt amount, not the debt limit - kindda like you credit card. Raising your credit limit does not resolve you debt crisis - as most people know. Its as if the democrats want to destroy america, I just wonder why?

      Marc - 2011-07-29 21:52

      You got it spot on, economics 101, how spending more than you earn makes sense to "educated" socialists is beyond me, shows how far the left will go to support a failing ideology which will destroy the west, history will tell this story..!

      Liberty - 2011-07-31 02:52

      raising the debt ceiling is a solution, but just a temporary one. The fact is that the US cannot afford to default, and raising the ceiling is the only way of avoiding a default on Tuesday.. Raising the ceiling will have to go hand-in-hand with spending cuts and raising revenues (taxes), which is what I understand the Obama administration is pushing for. And that makes perfect sense to me. But right now it's not up to Obama, but up to the Democrats and Republicans to come to an agreement, and that's the difficult part, but they WILL come to an agreement

  • AerynDawnSee - 2011-07-29 22:11

    The Obama Administration spin on the economy reminds me of the hospital discharge summary stating: "The patient failed to realize his maximum recovery potential." in other words... "HE DIED!"

  • Ouklip - 2011-07-30 08:42

    Mr. Obama was on his way to borrow in 4 years GWB borrowed in 8 years. I February his Senate voted 97 -0 against his budget. He has NO leadership potential and the US would have been better of with Sarah Palin as she at least had some executive experience.

  • Kunta-Kinte - 2011-07-30 21:27

    No Sympathy; the U.S is addicted to an unsustainable lifestyle, and China is expected to facilitate it. Having the world's reserve currency means that America has forced the rest of the world to carry their water for them for years. The dollar is basically a tax on the whole world and through this tax the american people have enjoyed really low interest rates which funded their extravagant life styles for decades. Well all this will soon come to an end and the american people will be left holding the baby and its a big baby 14 trillion !!! America must close down the 700+ imperial bases accross the world and bring her armies home.

      OZNOB - 2011-07-31 20:26

      AND ALOT OF FOREIGN ECONOMIES WILL SHUT DOWN AS THEY RELY ON THE AMERICANS TO KEEP THEM GOING- NICE TO SEE THE RESULT OF YOUR FORWARD THINKING

  • Kunta-Kinte - 2011-07-30 23:47

    Remember Mao's words 'capitalists are just paper tigers!!

      OZNOB - 2011-07-31 20:25

      STRANGE THE JAPANESE SAID SOMETHING SIMILAR WHEN THEY ATTACKED THE AMERICANS AT PEARL HARBOUR AND THE AMERICANS WON THE WAR

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