Meet the Press   |  October 20, 2013

Obama's responsibility for showdown

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew discusses the role played by President Barack Obama in the debt ceiling and shutdown debate.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the journal has a piece of headline that says, obama wins -- big whoop -- can he lead? is that the crisis that the president decries? is that the lasting part of his legacy here? doesn't he have to absorb a big responsibility for that?

>> i think the history of crisis management goes back longer than this administration, and i think the divisions in congress are -- is as deep as they've been in modern times . you know, you look at what we've been able to accomplish notwithstanding all the noise. we're in a very different place now than we were even in 2011 , 2010 . our deficit is cut in half as a percentage of the economy from when the president took office.

>> aren't automatic spending cuts, which the president opposed, a big reason for that?

>> it's part of that, but there is a tendency in washington to look at one piece of what's happened, and we have to look at the entirety of it. if you go back and you look, part of the spending cuts we agreed on them, because any budget agreement was going to reduce spending in domestic and defense programs. part of the deficit reduction was from the tax bill that passed at the beginning of this year that raised the top tax rates and repealed the bush tax cuts . the last part of the savings is coming from these automatic across-the-board cuts. now, i do believe that those should be replaced with more sensible policies. but the vast majority of the deficit reduction will still be in place. so i think we've done a lot. we've got to shift the focus from just fiscal policy . fiscal policy is very important, but there is a lot that we need to do to build and grow this economy. we need infrastructure, the farm bill needs to pass. the immigration bill is hublggely