07.24.11

7 Best Moments from Sunday Talk

Tim Geithner calls debt default “unthinkable,” Tim Pawlenty calls President Obama a “chicken,” Michael Bloomberg officiates a gay wedding, and more in our Sunday talk roundup.

Geithner: Default ‘Unthinkable’

Tim Geithner, for one, is not worried about the U.S. going into default. “It’s unthinkable we would not meet our obligations on time,” he told State of the Union on Sunday. “It’s not going to happen.” The Treasury secretary said that congressional leaders are working hard on a plan, one version of which would set up a special committee to reform the U.S. budget in the coming months. “They need to have a framework,” Geithner said, “and that should happen today.” Geithner declined to answer if Obama had a back-up plan.

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Boehner: Plan Must Be ‘Two-Stage Process’

John Boehner grabbed headlines last week when he walked out of debt-ceiling talks—and on Fox News Sunday, he explained his gripe. The House speaker told Chris Wallace that a deficit-reduction plan would not be “physically possible” to do in one step. Instead, Boehner’s preferred two- step plan, would raise the debt ceiling in stages: First, it would increase the limit by a relatively small $1 trillion, matched by spending cuts. The second phase would rely on a deficit-reduction panel’s recommendations, and would raise the ceiling again early next year. “This is about what’s doable at the eleventh hour,” Boehner said. The White House, meanwhile, continues to reject this plan, balking at the idea of dragging the process out further.

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Pawlenty: Obama Is a ‘Chicken’

Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty might not be known for his feistiness, but that didn’t stop him from taking shots at President Obama on State of the Union. The former Minnesota governor told Candy Crowley that Obama ought to make public statements on entitlement reform. “If you’re the leader of the free world, would you please come to the microphone and quit hiding in the basement,” he said, adding that Obama lacks the courage to talk openly about the issue.

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Daley: ‘Enormous Damage’ Has Been Done

Bill Daley didn’t mince any words when discussing the national debt on Meet the Press. In response to a comment by a Moody’s economist on the damaged perception of the U.S.’s finances, Obama’s chief of staff said the debate over raising the debt ceiling has had dire consequences for the country’s economic reputation around the world. “I don’t think there’s any question there’s been enormous damage done to our creditworthiness,” he told host David Gregory.

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Bloomberg Honored to Officiate Gay Wedding

Michael Bloomberg doesn’t mind an office romance: On This Week, the mayor told Amanpour that he’s honored to officiate the nuptials of his two top aides, who also joined him on the show. John Feinblatt and Jonathan Mintz will skip the gay marriage lottery and instead wed at Gracie Mansion Sunday evening. Hundreds of couples are expected to wed on the first day gay marriage is legal in the state.

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Is Phone Hacking Ever Justified?

Days after Rupert Murdoch nearly took a pie to the face while testifying about News of the World’s hacking scandal, Reliable Sources’ Howard Kurtz pressed the tabloid’s former editor, Paul McMullan, on boundaries for the press. “If you want to have a free democracy in an open society where politicians behave well, you’ve got to have a press that is allowed to stray into the area of the dark arts,” said McMullan. What would Hugh Grant say?

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Kyl Backs Boehner’s Plan

With nine days to go before the impending debt-ceiling deadline strikes, Republican Jon Kyl said he agrees with Speaker Boehner’s deficit-reduction plan. The senator broke down the plan for Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer: “Boehner’s formulation…[is that] we should extend the debt ceiling for as long we reduce spending. In other words, a dollar for dollar. If we can reduce spending by a trillion dollars, then we extend the debt ceiling a trillion dollars’ worth.” He added that, for the president, extending the debt ceiling should take priority over getting reelected.

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