Aug. 8 - Obama blames credit downgrade on political gridlock in Washington and addresses the downing of a U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday (August 8) blamed a downgrade in the United States' credit rating on political gridlock in Washington and said he would offer some recommendations on how to reduce federal deficits. Obama said in a White House appearance that he hopes the Standard and Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt to AA-plus from AAA will give lawmakers a new sense of urgency to tackle deficit spending and said he did not believe the reductions could be carried out with spending cuts alone. A congressional committee, to be formed under the legislation passed last week that averted a government default, is to report its recommendations in late November on how to cut $1.5 trillion in spending over a decade. Obama said he would offer his own recommendations for fixing the problem and cited again the need to raise taxes on wealthier Americans and make modest adjustments to popular but expensive entitlement programs. The president also addressed concerns about a Taliban resurgence after Afghan militants shot down a helicopter over the weekend killing 30 U.S. troops, most of them elite Navy SEALs. Saturday's helicopter crash in Afghanistan will not deter the United States from its mission in the country, he said. "I know that our troops will continue the hard work of transitioning to a stronger Afghan government and ensuring that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists," Obama said. "We will press on and we will succeed." The crash was the deadliest incident for U.S. forces since the war in Afghanistan began nearly a decade ago and followed a series of high-profile assassinations and attacks by the insurgents over the past several months. Critics of Obama's plan to withdraw 33,000 U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of next summer have alternatively attacked the president for pulling out too slowly or too quickly from the war.