Obama Holds Out Prospect of Post-Election Grand Bargain’
President Barack Obama voiced confidence that if re-elected he would secure within six months a deficit-reduction deal with Republicans equivalent to the “grand bargain” he failed to achieve last year.
Obama made the bold prediction in an interview Tuesday with the Des Moines Register which was originally off-the-record. The White House released it Wednesday after the editor of the newspaper, which is still deciding its presidential endorsement, wrote a blistering blog complaining of the restriction.
Win or lose, Obama faces a so-called “fiscal cliff” of automatic across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases set for the end of the year, before the swearing in of a new Congress and the victor in the presidential election.
“It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant,” he said of the negotiations ahead. “But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs,” Obama said.
He also said a broader long-term deal could “credibly meet” the target of $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years as proposed in December, 2010 by a deficit reduction commission headed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.