Thursday, July 21, 2011

Obama talks '12, debt and Cordray

Sitting for another round of interviews with local television news stations Wednesday, President Barack Obama said the debt and deficit talks have "been taking up all the oxygen in the room," preventing the federal government from tackling job creation.

"What we have to do is we have to continue with some of the tax breaks that we provided in December: The payroll tax cut that has put $1000 in the pockets of the average family," Obama told Lara Moritz, news anchor for ABC's Kansas City station. "That creates more demand and more business for folks, because that money gets spent and that means small businesses and large businesses have more customers and they hire more people to service those customers," he added.

Moritz followed up by asking the president which Republican candidate could beat him in 2012, but Obama didn't bite.

"Well I have to tell you, I am so occupied with doing the people's business that I'm just not spending a lot of time right now worrying about the Republican field," he replied. "Ultimately I will be judged based on the American people believing that I'm fighting for them."

Jerry Revish of 10TV News in Columbus, Ohio, asked how the president intends to convince Ohioans to vote to reelect him next year.

Ticking off a list of his administration's goals -- from clean energy investments to rebuilding the national infrastructure -- Obama said it will all come down to whether the "economy is growing." If it is, he said, "the politics will take care of itself."

Asked by Revish about his nomination of Richard Cordray to direct the new Consumer Financial Protection Board, the president defended the new agency from Republican critics.

"We are going to, for the first time, have a consolidated agency whose only job is to make sure that consumers aren't getting ripped off," Obama said.

The president said Ohio Republicans have complimented Cordray's public service in the past. Cordray was state attorney general from 2008 to 2010.

Back on the debt issue, Obama laid out for KABC-Los Angeles anchor David Ono what's at stake:

"The full faith and credit of the United States of America is at stake," Obama said. "We've always been an AAA-rated nation. The dollar is the reserve currency of the world. If we do not solve this problem in a serious way, you can potentially see a downgrading of U.S. credit, which would mean potential interest rate hikes for everyone, whether you are trying to get a car loan or your credit card. It also would add interest costs that would actually worsen the deficit. It doesn't make sense for us not to do it. We intend to get this done. I'm going to keep members of Congress here for as long as it takes to get it done."

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