Former Pa. Gov. Rendell: Time for Obama to Lead

Friday, 19 Aug 2011 12:34 PM

By David A. Patten

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Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, called on Friday for President Barack Obama to step forward and present his own detailed plan on how to fix what ails the economy, saying, "It’s time for the president to say, ‘Here it is.'”

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell says President Obama must lead the economy.
Former Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell
(AP photo)
Rendell appeared along with former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Gregg said no one begrudged the president time with his family, but urged him to return to Washington to work on the economic difficulties that have led in recent weeks to extraordinarily volatility in the financial markets.

“If I were in his shoes and I wanted to show some serious leadership,” Gregg said, “I’d demand that the Congress come back to Washington, and we sit down and reach a [target] number [for cuts] that’s a lot larger than what this alleged supercommittee has been charged with.

“You’ve got to hit a number of about $5.5 trillion over 10 years to get this debt-to-GDP ratio down below 60 percent, which is what is a viable number for us as a nation,” said Gregg. “And he ought to simply say, ‘Don’t leave town until we’ve done it, come back here and stay until we fix it.’”

Rendell, interestingly, concurred with Gregg’s recommendations.

“What the president needs to do now is lead,” Rendell said. “If he could have kept the Congress in Washington, then I would have canceled the vacation. “Without the Congress in Washington, then I think the White House moves to where ever the president is, and he gets the work done regardless of where he is.”

Rendell concurred with Gregg’s call for much larger spending cuts than the supercommittee has been tasked with. He said the president should submit a plan that cuts tax loopholes and offers a targeted investment program to generate jobs.

New York Times columnist and author Andrew Ross Sorkin then asked Rendell: “When you think about the grand bargain, what number do you think we need to reach? And also strategically, should the president put that number out there, if he can’t ultimately get there?”

Rendell’s response: “Well, I think he’s got to lead . . . he’s got to lead. There’s only one executive in a government. It’s the mayor, it’s the governor, it’s the president. And it’s time for the president to say, ‘Here it is.’

“I’m talking about $4-4.5 trillion, and that means no sacred cows. I’m talking about closing loopholes and producing revenue that will help us, and I’m talking about a short-term [jobs] investment problem.

“If he led and put that package together, either we get it done and it’s great for the country, or if not, the Republicans would have, as we say in Philadelphia, ‘some explainin’ to do.’”





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