Obama open to short-term deal
By Justin Sink - 10/08/13 02:44 PM ET
President Obama said Tuesday he would accept a short-term deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
At a news conference, Obama said he would agree to a deal to allow room for broader negotiations with congressional Republicans.
But Obama indicated the deal would have to be a “clean” bill to raise the borrowing limit and fund the government, something he has repeatedly demanded.
That has been a hard sell with Republicans, who have demanded changes to ObamaCare and spending cuts in exchange for funding the government and raising the debt ceiling.
The president told reporters Tuesday he would "talk about anything" with Republicans if they passed short-term bills to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
But at the same time, the president reiterated that the administration was “not going to pay a ransom.” “Having such a conversation, talks, negotiations, shouldn't require hanging the threats of a government shutdown or economic chaos over the American people,” he said.
The president said that it was unlikely an agreement would be struck until “the more extreme part of the Republican party stop forcing John Boehner to issue threats.”
Obama earlier Tuesday called Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) to reiterate that he would not negotiate on raising the debt limit and ending the government shutdown.
Boehner told reporters that Democrats had adopted an “untenable position.”
“There's never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit. Never. Not once,” Boehner said.
Republicans have sought to score points against Obama by highlighting his unwillingness to speak with them.
But Obama repeatedly stressed Tuesday he was willing to discuss "anything" — as long as it wasn't tied to a "threat looming over the conversations."
At the press conference, Obama also warned that, as the government approached the debt ceiling, a default on the nation's bill would be catastrophic for the American economy.
“There would be a significant risk of a very deep recession. … This is our word. This is our good name. This is real,” Obama said.
The Treasury Department says the borrowing limit must be raised by Oct. 17.
Both parties have been engaged in a deep messaging war in the fiscal fight, and the White House is confident it is winning that battle.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday found Republicans have been hurt politically by the shutdown, while Obama’s rating has actually ticked up.
The poll found that 70 percent disapprove of the way congressional Republicans are handling the fight. Obama’s level of approval in the fight moved from 41 percent in the Post’s Sept. 25-29 poll to 45 percent now, with more centrist Democrats and Independents backing Obama.