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Obama: Americans Aren't 'Paying Close Attention' to Debt Ceiling Details

2:14 PM, Jul 11, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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At a solo press conference this morning, the fifteenth of his presidency, Barack Obama was asked why a sizable part of the public does not seem convinced that the debt ceiling ought to be raised. "The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury option goes," Obama said. "They shouldn’t. They're worrying about their family, they're worrying about their jobs, they're worrying about their neighborhood. They've got a lot of other things on their plate. We're paid to worry about it."

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Elizabeth Cromwell

Obama continued: "Now, I will say that some of the professional politicians know better. And for them to say that we shouldn’t be raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible. They know better."

An Associated Press poll conducted at the end of June found that 41 percent of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling, compared with 38 percent who support it. That’s slightly lower than a Gallup poll conducted in May, which found that 47 percent were opposed to a debt ceiling increase, with only 19 percent supporting it.

The AP poll discovered that 61 percent believe either the debt ceiling shouldn’t be raised at all or should be raised only with “significant spending cuts” attached. But as the president reiterated several times this morning, he believes the government faces “debt and deficits” problem—not a federal spending problem. Nevertheless, Obama said he thinks the American people could be persuaded.

"If you said to the American people, 'Is it a good idea for the United States not to pay its bills and potentially create another recession that could throw millions of more people out of work?' I feel pretty confident I can get a majority on my side on that one," Obama said. 

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