VIDEO: President Obama Addresses Gun Control, Debt Ceiling in Press Conference
In a press conference on Monday, President Barack Obama addressed reporters on the debt ceiling and took questions on some of today's biggest political issues, including gun control.
The president began by saying that the U.S. is "poised for a good year," but cautioned that that will only take place as long as "politics don't get in the way of America's progress."
Obama also pointedly pushed for Congress to authorize the raising of the debt ceiling, seemingly explaining to the American people that such a raise does not authorize more spending, but just allows the country to pay for spending to which Congress has already committed.
"While I'm willing to compromise over how to reduce our deficits, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they've already racked up," he said.
NBC reporter Chuck Todd asked President Barack Obama whether or not he would invoke the 14th Amendment in order to raise the nation's debt ceiling without Congress's approval. The president didn't directly answer the question, despite prodding from Todd.
The president replied saying that if the House and the Senate want to give him the authority in order to avoid taking these "tough votes," he would be "happy to take it." He iterated, however, that Congress orders him to spend, but hasn't followed up with allowing him to actually pay those bills.
"They lay all this out for me, because they have the spending power, so I am required by law to pay these bills. Separately, they also have to authorize the raising of the debt ceiling," he said.
He went on to say that the debt ceiling debate isn't a "complicated concept," likening Congress's spending to going out to an all-you-can-eat dinner but then leaving without paying the bill.
"If Congress wants to have a debate about, maybe we shouldn't go out to dinner next time [...] that's fine. But, you don't say, in order for me to control my appetites, I'm going to not pay the people who already provided me services, the people who lent me the money. That's not showing any discipline; all that's doing is not meeting your obligations."
"That's not a credible way to run this government ... we've got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis when there's a clear path ahead of us," he said.
Obama then responded to a reporter asking for his reaction to criticism that he's too 'insular' with his cabinet. He called out conservative media, saying that their 'demonization' of him likely prevents GOP lawmakers from wanting to be seen as being "too chummy" with the commander in chief.
"If you think about, say myself and Speaker Boehner - I like Speaker Boehner personally, and when we went out and played golf, we had a great time, but that didn't get a deal done in 2011," he said. "When I'm over here at the Congressional picnic and folks are coming up and taking pictures with their family, I promise you, Michelle and I are very nice [...] but it doesn't prevent them from going onto the floor of the House and blasting me for being a 'big-spending Socialist.'"
"I think there are a lot of Republicans at this point that feel that given how much energy has been devoted in some of the media that's preferred by Republican constituencies to demonize me, that it doesn't look real good socializing with me. I think a lot of folks say, 'Well, if we look like we're being too chummy with the president, that might cause us problems,'" he said.
Obama added that while he and the first lady often invite Congressional representatives over to the White House, they don't always show up. "Sometimes they don't choose to come, and I think it's because they don't find the optics useful for them," he said.
He wrapped up his remarks by saying that if voters start electing representatives who value common ground over party politics, we'll see the behavior in Congress "start to change."
See the president's opening remarks:
Watch the president's exchange with Chuck Todd on the Debt Ceiling:
President Obama says the NRA and other groups are "ginning up fear" about the government taking away guns.
Obama responds to claims he's too "insular":
More video still to come -- stay tuned; it will be posted momentarily.