Obama: Let's Stop the 'Extortion'

President blasts 'extreme parts' of the GOP at news conference

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 8, 2013 2:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama took full advantage of a presidential news conference this afternoon to amplify a familiar point: He thinks what Republicans are doing amounts to "extortion," and he won't negotiate on anything until they pass a spending bill to reopen the government and agree to raise the debt ceiling without conditions. Among the highlights from CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post:

  • “Let’s stop the excuses. Let’s take a vote in the House. Let’s end this shutdown right now.”
  • "If Republicans want to talk about these things again, I'm ready to head up to the Hill and try. I'll even spring for dinner again. But I'm not gonna do it until the more extreme parts of the Republican party stop forcing John Boehner to issue threats about our economy. We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy. Democracy doesn't function this way."
  • He said he told Boehner "that having such a conversation, talks, negotiations, shouldn't require hanging the threats of an economic shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of the American people."
  • "The American people don't get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs. You don't get a chance to call your bank and say, 'I'm not gonna pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an X-Box."
  • A debt default could “permanently increase our borrowing costs,” and "there’s nothing fiscally responsible about that." Failure to raise the debt ceiling creates the "significant risk of a very deep recession," he said. It would be "insane."
  • Read the full transcript.

President Obama listens while speaking during his press conference Tuesday.
President Obama listens while speaking during his press conference Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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