President Barack Obama gave quite a performance at last Friday's news conference.

He blamed everyone else for the debt-ceiling crisis—including, of course, his predecessor. He even trashed the Democratic Congress, saying it "has run up the credit card," though it was just doing his bidding the last two years. He's yet to offer his own plan in writing but demanded that Congress needed in "the next 24 to 36 hours to . . . show me a plan . . . for deficit and debt reduction."

The president said "the least attractive option" to resolve the crisis was raising the debt ceiling without "any progress on deficit and debt." Yet a "clean debt-ceiling vote" is precisely what the president and his people had advocated for months, starting last January.

Mr. Obama also claimed that a "clear majority" of Republicans and "80 percent" of voters want "balanced" deficit reduction that includes higher taxes and spending cuts. But a July 10 Gallup Poll, for example, found that fewer than one in three people surveyed support reducing the deficit "equally with spending cuts and tax increases."

Americans do hold complicated opinions about the debt-ceiling controversy. A Washington Post/Pew Research Poll on July 7-10 found that 78% were concerned "that raising the debt ceiling would lead to higher government spending and make the national debt bigger." Yet 74% expressed concern "that not raising the debt ceiling would force the government into default and hurt the nation's economy." Anxiety about hurting the economy has been rising since late May, while concerns about higher spending have been flat.

Karl Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush. He is a Fox News contributor and author of "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions, 2010). To continue reading his column in The Wall Street Journal, click here.

Karl Rove joined Fox News Channel as a political contributor in February 2008. He also currently serves as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads. His latest book is "The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters" (Simon & Schuster, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @KarlRove.