Liz Claman got reaction to President George W. Bush’s press conference this morning. CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood, CNBC economy reporter Steve Liesman and Corvis Communications Budget Analyst Stan Collender all gave their take on what the president’s intentions mean for the U.S. going forward--abroad and at home.
On Iraq--Harwood said that statements the president has made recently still point toward him “staying the course.” But there’s no guarantee President Bush will reject the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. “We need to keep our mind open to the possibility that he’ll surprise us” in January, which is when a formal announcement on Iraq strategy is expected.
Liesman was in the studio with Liz Claman, and he said doesn’t expect the gridlock in Washington that Wall Street thinks will happen. The president already supports raising the minimum wage $2.10 over the next two years. A minimum wage increase had been a key Democratic platform during this year’s midterm elections. Liesman said that with only two years left in office, Bush might be more willing to compromise on some of the bigger economic issues. The question is whether or not disagreement with Democratic-controlled Congress over Iraq will get in the way.
Corvis’ Collender doubts there will be much compromise between congressional Republicans and Democrats, though. “They’re the ones that are going to be running for reelection – not the president,” he says. Being a numbers guy, Collender also noted that a surge in the military presence in Iraq and a boost in the minimum wage mean a wider deficit. “Everything [President Bush] is talking about is going to cost money.”