Obama tries to calm jittery investors
The Dow plunged 634 points Monday, even as Obama sought to assure the markets that the still-gaping deficit represents a failure of politics, not of the nation's credit-worthiness.
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Obama repeated his call for a “balanced long-term approach to deficit reduction,” which means including tax increases in addition to “modest adjustments” to Medicare. And he invoked American exceptionalism, praising American resilience and ingenuity in the face of challenges.Skip to next paragraph
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In his remarks, Obama also praised the 30 US special forces and crew members who perished over the weekend when their helicopter was shot down during a mission in Afghanistan. It was the single worst incident for the US in the 10-year war.
“We will press on and we will succeed,” Obama said.
On the campaign trail, the US’s credit downgrade was Topic A – and Obama came in for heavy blame. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, frontrunner for the GOP nomination, attributed the downgrade to “the failure of leadership by the president.”
“It seems that they would substitute Harry Truman’s ‘the buck stops here’ with the new motto of the White House, which is ‘the buck stops somewhere else,’ ” Romney said Monday in New Hampshire, according to the Washington Post. “The truth is, the buck does stop at the president’s desk and he needs to exert the leadership necessary to restore America’s financial foundation, the credibility of our fiscal capacity and restore once again the balance sheet upon which our economy rests.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who is polling second after Mr. Romney among declared candidates, accused Obama of “hiding out” at Camp David over the weekend, pretending that the downgrade didn’t matter and hoping the markets wouldn’t notice.
“He came out just long enough today to again declare that raising taxes and cutting Medicare are his only solutions to our nation's economic crisis,” she said in a statement from Atlantic, Iowa, where she was campaigning. “He dismissed the downgrade of our country's credit rating, and argued that there's no more room for spending cuts in Washington.”
"The president says our nation's economic problems are 'eminently solvable,' ” she said, “but it is painfully obvious that President Obama does not have the leadership capacity to put our country back on the right track."