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Obama Quote on Raising Debt Limit (2006)

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President Obama Speaks To The Media In Brady Press Briefing Room
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Circulating via email, a quote attributed to Sen. Barack Obama in 2006 in which he calls raising the U.S. national debt ceiling 'a sign of leadership failure.'

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: May 2011
Status: Authentic (see details below)

Email text contributed by J. Moore, May 23, 2011:

Subject: Wisdom then, Wisdom now!!

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a Sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. ...Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here'. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."


Analysis: True. The above quote comprises two excerpts from a long speech delivered by Barack Obama during a Senate debate over raising the national debt limit on March 16, 2006. Along with his entire party, then-Senator Obama voted against the increase, which passed nonetheless with overwhelming Republican support.

As President, Obama has said he regrets taking that stand. "He realizes now," explained White House spokesman Jay Carney in a statement to the press on April 11, 2011, "that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy and the global economy that it is not a vote that, even when you are protesting an administration's policies, you can play around with."

As of now, the shoe is on the other foot.

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Recommended article:

Hypocrisy Reigns on All Sides in Debt Limit Showdown
McClatchy Newspapers, 25 July 2011

Sources and further reading:

Congressional Record - Senate - March 16, 2006
U.S. Gov. Printing Office

In Debt Speech, Obama Quotes Reagan, Forgets to Quote Himself
Reason, 25 July 2011

White House: Obama Regrets Vote Against Raising Debt Limit
Associated Press, 11 April 2011

Obama: Not Always a Fan of Upping Debt Ceiling
National Review Online, 3 January 2011

The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
Congressional Research Service, 29 April 2008

Last updated 07/29/11

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