White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended then-Senator Barack Obama’s 2006 vote against raising the debt ceiling on Wednesday - even as he urged current members of Congress not to “play politics” with the issue.
Upon casting a vote against raising the debt ceiling in 2006, Mr. Obama said, in part: “America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
Gibbs said at his daily briefing Wednesday that “it’s important [to] understand that raising the debt limit was not in question” when Mr. Obama cast that vote — essentially characterizing Mr. Obama’s vote as a symbolic one.
As a reporter pointed out, the Senate in 2006 only passed the debt ceiling measure 52 to 48, a relatively close outcome. “Well, we’ve had closer,” Gibbs quipped.
Insisting that “the full faith and credit of our government and our economy was not in doubt” in 2006, Gibbs said Mr. Obama had used to vote “to make a point about needing to get serious about fiscal discipline” and was “sending a message.”
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