As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama Announces Intensive Debt Ceiling Talks

President Obama took to the podium in the White House briefing room this afternoon to say everyone’s going to work through the weekend and that the Congressional leaders of both Parties he had just met with from both Parties will reconvene on Sunday – Sunday, people, working hard! – and nothing’s done until everything’s done and all the things I’ve been hearing Washington leaders say for years as they finish playing chicken and get a deal done at the last minute, or near the last minute.

They’ll finish this, believe me. Speaker Boehner’s a natural dealmaker, and the former Clintonistas Obama has working for him – National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, OMB Director Jack Lew, and Chief of Staff Bill Daley – have all been down this road with Republicans many times.

The White House has already suggested all the Bush tax cuts can stay and that it may make real cuts to entitlements. And Republicans are saying the can accept the closing of tax loopholes. The two sides are creeping toward each other, and they’ll get there, because nobody wants to risk getting blamed for the consequences of breaching the debt limit.

After today’s meeting, the Congressional leadership did not come to the stakeout at the White House – a sign that progress is being made and they don’t want to screw it up by saying stupid things. In his brief appearance, Obama said the meeting was “frank” but also “constructive,” meaning they had some arguments but no one shouted and their differences may be bridgeable.

I took some video of Obama in the briefing room for you to see. I left it unedited to create a kind of cinéma vérité effect and give you the feeling of what it’s like to be in the briefing room.

You’ll notice the video starts out with me sitting down until Ann Comptom comes along and politely throws me out of her seat. You can see Wendell Goler of Fox News doing a little live intro before the president appears, and Chip Reid of CBS getting miked up by his producer. You’ll hear people saying “here we go” just before Obama comes out, the traditional signal the video and still camera people give to each other that the president is about to emerge.

I panned the room to give you a sense of the place and the people on hand. And after a couple of minutes, I put the video camera down to get some still photos, which I’ll put up another time.

17 Responses to Obama Announces Intensive Debt Ceiling Talks

  1. Thank you, thank you. It’s almost like we’re there with you.

    If your insights are correct, then no one is going to like this agreement.
    Sounds good to me.

  2. Thank you for the play by play Keith. The video is set to private so couldn’t watch.

    This negotiating in secret doesn’t cut it for me. We are a constitutional republic and these people are horsetrading over our future like they are the masters and we are the slaves.

    I’m most alarmed about the talk of using chained CPI. This is a stealth tax increase on Social Security recipients and disabled veterans. It is bad enough they haven’t received a COLA in two years, yet health care, food, and energy costs have increased tremendously over that time. I’m all for sharing the pain, but we can’t do this to our elderly and veterans who have sacrificed enough already.

  3. Here they are huddling behind closed doors deciding our fate, when it is revealed that Congress allocated $10M to Project Gunrunner (aka Fast and Furious) in the stimulus bill. Guess that is what happens when legislators pass bills without reading or understanding what is in them. We the taxpayers bought the weapons used by Mexican drug runners to kill our border security officers and probably hundreds of other innocent human beings. I’m stunned.

  4. Nice video, thanks for letting us view into your world, even for a minute.

    I too am concerned about a ‘deal’. It seems to me the GOP always gives up more than the progressives, thus the problem we face. I think that the conservatives should hold the ground.

    Thanks again.

  5. Great job Keith! I felt like I was in the room. I also noticed how uncomfortable he (Obama) appeared to be without a teleprompter. He truly is a very scripted speaker. Terrific job, thanks.

    • Rick, I too have noticed this. Without that security blanket, he sure seems out of place and struggles with answers. I look forward to the day that in a debate that the GOP nomine will hold his feet to the fire because he will not have the crutch of the teleprompter.

  6. If anyone wants greater detail, post me a note. This is my own research and you won’t even find any news about this.

    At the bottom are the four last time periods when the semi-annual interest payments on intragovernmental debt are made. On 6/30 and 12/31 the intragovernmental holdings take at least a $80 billion increase, except for a few days ago. They recorded the increase in the monthly payments statements, but it did not appear in the daily statements.

    Something to think ponder, if you worry about the debt. 2011 was to have $1.5 to 1.6 trillion deficit. So far we have had the following:
    Q1 ~$400 billion
    Q2 ~$250 billion
    Q3 ~$90 billion
    So is Q4 going to run up $800 to 900 billion in debt? The CBO still expects public debt to jump $600 billion in the next quarter.

    End of Q3 debt reports were posted without $100 billion in interest payments due on June 30.

    This has the daily debt, you can plug in a range of dates

    This has the monthly interest payments

    Date Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings
    Total Public Debt Outstanding
    12/30/2009 7,727,177,503,757.64 4,417,715,512,812.82
    12/31/2009 7,811,008,785,487.30 4,500,340,892,024.73

    Date Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings
    Total Public Debt Outstanding
    06/29/2010 8,556,448,489,602.01 4,481,094,226,101.80
    06/30/2010 8,633,680,393,089.93 4,569,793,360,878.17
    07/01/2010 8,627,008,761,347.43 4,551,308,594,868.30

    Date Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings
    Total Public Debt Outstanding
    12/30/2010 9,327,743,778,364.03 4,543,386,575,453.37
    12/31/2010 9,390,476,088,043.35 4,634,739,130,665.17

    Date Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings
    Total Public Debt Outstanding
    06/29/2011 9,738,245,826,816.95 4,606,187,874,075.46
    06/30/2011 9,742,223,364,846.58 4,600,864,275,161.82
    07/01/2011 9,761,785,482,183.79 4,581,293,783,933.33
    07/05/2011 9,754,032,683,356.88 4,589,000,503,321.67
    07/06/2011 9,748,841,925,620.21 4,594,179,923,367.02

    • Wow, what a staggering amount ! And they are working on this behind closed doors? Why does it have to be like this? Our society is more educated about the Casey Anthony trial than the how our Govt is

    • Thank you for sharing your research Andy. I’ve been trying to get a handle on our debt, and your figures and links are very helpful. Does look like we are spending much less than anticipated this fiscal year, which is a good thing. The outstanding debt figures are staggering. How do we ever pay this back? Looks like it will be on the backs of our progeny for generations to come. It shames me to think my generation let this happen.

    • Dan – there are assigned seats with, generally speaking, the largest organizations toward the front. White House Dossier does not have a seat, but I usually sit in one of the unoccupied forward seats.