Jesse Jackson on Obama: 'I Hope He Does Not Blink'

By Nicholas Ballasy | July 13, 2011 | 6:03 PM EDT

( – Liberal political activist Rev. Jesse Jackson told that the Republican Party is “pushing” President Barack Obama “against the wall again” with the current debt limit negotiations and he hopes the president “does not blink.”

On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “House Republicans have a plan. We passed our budget back in the spring, outlined our priorities. Where’s the president’s plan? When’s he going to lay his cards on the table? This debt-limit increase is his problem, and I think it’s time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table, something that the Congress can pass.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, asked Jackson whether he agreed or disagreed with Boehner.

Jackson said: “Under President Bush, they [Republicans] raised the debt limit 19 times to the tune of $4 trillion dollars, so it’s not about debt limit. It’s about yet pushing him against the wall again and I hope he does not blink. When, what drove the debt crisis? Well, a trillion dollars in the misadventure in Iraq, which they supported. What drove the debt limit? The Bush tax-cut extension – over a trillion dollars more money in that deal than all the state budget deficits combined,” he said outside of the Capitol on Wednesday.

Rev. Jesse Jackson. (AP Photo)

“What drove the debt crisis?” said Jackson. “We bailed out the banks but did not bail out the victims of bankrupt behavior. So now they want poor people and seniors to pay for the party they were never allowed to attend. We must fight to reduce our budget. But those who have the most must pay their fair share of taxes and must end these unnecessary wars – a combination of more wars, unnecessary wars and more wealth up top and more poverty at the bottom does not speak well for our democracy.”

The debt limit was raised seven times during the Bush administration, adding $4 trillion to the national debt. (The debt limit is the amount of money Congress is legally allowed to borrow and currently is set at $14.29 trillion.) also asked Jackson, “The Republicans took over the House by over 60 seats. Do you think they have a mandate to cut spending and not raise taxes?”

He responded, “There is no mandate to give privileges for those who have private jets and jeopardize Social Security. There is no mandate to the five major oil companies with a trillion dollars in profits since 9/11 and still getting tax subsidies while you’re threatening to reduce Medicare and Medicaid. That was not the message of that campaign and should not be.”