Is Obama winning over Americans in debt-ceiling standoff?
Recent polls show that Americans are coming to agree with Obama's position: that Congress must raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit by a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts.
The most extensive use of the bully pulpit since taking office appears to be paying off for President Obama.Skip to next paragraph
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Since June 29, Mr. Obama has had three press conferences, a Twitter town hall, multiple regional TV interviews, and numerous public remarks. On Friday, the day by which Obama hopes to reach agreement with Republicans on major deficit reduction, he will hold a regular town hall in College Park, Md.
Obama has used these opportunities to drive home his view that Congress must raise the ceiling on the federal debt, that a grand bargain on deficit reduction must include tax increases, and that hard-liners in both parties must compromise. It’s impossible to prove that Obama’s public relations blitz is directly responsible for shifting public opinion, but two major new polls show that Americans are indeed moving toward the president’s position, if not fully buying it.
In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Tuesday night, a growing percentage of Americans – now 38 percent – say that the debt ceiling should be raised, versus 31 percent who say it should not. A month ago, only 28 percent favored raising the debt ceiling and 39 percent said it shouldn’t. Obama, his administration, and most economists assert that a failure to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2 would lead the nation to begin defaulting on its debt – or, alternatively, halt payments on other national obligations, such as Social Security checks and service members’ paychecks. Any of these nonpayments would be devastating to the US economy and the individuals affected.
Conservatives, including many tea party activists, say that raising the debt ceiling only enables the government to continue spending at irresponsibly high rates.