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Monday
Aug082011

Obama: 'We've Always Been, Always Will Be Triple-A Country'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama expressed confidence in U.S. government finances Monday, following a first-ever downgrade of the country's AAA credit rating by Standard & Poor's, and said he sensed a new urgency for a bipartisan debt-reduction deal later this year.

"No matter what some agency may say," Obama said trying to minimalize the sting of S&P's historic action, "we've always been and always will be a triple-A country."

But the president's remarks, his first since the downgrade, did little to calm volatile stock markets which began tumbling from Monday's opening bell. As Obama spoke, the Dow Jones Industrial Average free-fell past the 11,000 mark, down more than 600 points.

The president attributed the market upheaval to a "string of economic disruptions" around the world, and the debt ceiling debate brinksmanship that raised the specter of a U.S. default.

"All of this is a legitimate source of concern," he said. "But here's the good news: Our problems are eminently solvable, and we know what we have to do to solve them. With respect to debt, our problem is not confidence in our credit. The markets continue to reaffirm our credit as among the world's safest. Our challenge is the need to tackle our deficits over the long term."

Obama said he hoped the unprecedented downgrade of U.S. debt -- for right or for wrong -- would instill a "renewed sense of urgency" in Republican and Democratic leaders who are tasked with reaching a $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan before the end of the year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio