Obama: S&P Downgrade Should Spur 'Urgency' on Deficit

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The president responded to sinking markets and the agency's surprising blow to America's credit rating on Friday

President Obama sought to calm jittery investors on Monday, declaring that U.S. economic woes "are eminently solvable" after Standard & Poor's lowered the U.S. credit rating and Wall Street responded with a steep dive in stock prices.

"My hope is that Friday's news will give us a new sense of urgency," the president said in a statement from the White House, promising to bring forward his own recommendations in the coming weeks on how a special congressional committee should proceed to further reduce the deficit.

Standard & Poor's lowered the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA-plus on Friday, giving Obama the ignominious legacy of being the only president to preside over such a drop in the nation's financial standing. Without specifically blaming Republicans, Obama said the action was a result of "a lack of political will in Washington" and the refusal by some lawmakers to compromise.

"We didn't need a rating agency to tell us the gridlock in Washington over the last couple of months has not been constructive, to say the least," Obama said. "We knew from the outset that a prolonged debate over the debt limit ... could do enormous damage to our economy and the worlds."

The market, which dropped by more than 400 points since the opening bell, continued to decline as Obama spoke. Still, he insisted that the markets have complete faith in the U.S. financial system. "That doesn't mean we don't have a problem," he said.

The Dow fell below 11,000 as Obama spoke, down 447.22 points, or 3.91 percent, to 10,997.39.

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