Obama: This was the scariest night of my presidency

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President Barack Obama almost minted the coin.

On "Pod Save America," a podcast from new media start-up Crooked Media featuring former Obama staffers and speechwriters, Obama was asked what the "scariest moment" of his presidency was.

"I think it was the moment when it seemed that [former Republican House Speaker] John Boehner didn't seem to generate the votes to make sure the US didn't default on our debt," said Obama. "We had to start drafting a speech."

In the midst of the possibility of a government shutdown, Obama said that the administration was considering any number of ways to avoid the shutdown and deal with the national debt. One of the ideas floated, according to Obama, was having the US Treasury mint a coin worth $1 trillion to pay off a good portion of the debt.

"We were having these conversations with Jack Lew and others about what options in fact were available, because it had never happened before," said Obama. "There were all kinds of wacky ideas about how potentially you could have this massive coin."

Obama's idea of the coin may be a bit different from what others discussed at the time. As Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal (who we should note was fascinated by the idea while at Business Insider) noted on Twitter, you in theory could just mint any size of coin and declare it worth $1 trillion. Obama, however, said he imagined it much larger.

"It was some primitive... it was out of the Stone Age," Obama told the hosts. "I pictured rolling in some coin."

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President Barack Obama's inaugurations
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President Barack Obama's inaugurations

The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, takes the oath given by US. Supreme Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. (lower R) during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009. Michelle Obama holds a Bible used by President Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration in 1861. Daughter Malia (R) looks on.

(REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

U.S President Barack Obama (C) addresses the crowd after taking the Oath of Office as the 44th President of the United States during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Vice President elect Joe Biden and President elect Barack Obama wave to the crowd gathered at the Edgewood, Md., train station as their train heads from Philadelphia to Washington on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009, for the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States.

(Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Buttons of Michelle Obama are for sale with US President-elect Barack Obama inauguration memorabilia at the Presidential Inaugural Committee store January 12, 2009, in Washington, DC.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Lakisha Smith cries as she watches the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States on a large screen in the neighborhood of Harlem January 20, 2009 in New York City. Obama was inaugurated as the first African-American president of the U.S.

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Sasha Obama, center, yawns during President Barack Obama's speech, as her sister, Malia, left, and mother/First Lady, Michell Obama, right, watch during the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday afternoon.

 (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Work continues on the inaugural platform at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 16, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, 2009.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A man walks on the inaugural stand at the west front of the U.S. Capitol January 15, 2009 in Washington, DC. Preparations for the presidential inauguration are under way for incoming U.S. President Barack Obama.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former U.S. President George W. Bush embraces President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, after Obama's inaugural address at the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Crowds fill the National Mall before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States at his inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A spectator waits on the National Mall on the morning of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States at his inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

U.S President Barack Obama (C) addresses the crowd after taking the Oath of Office as the 44th President of the United States during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the inaugural parade from the reviewing stand in from of the White House in Washington, DC, January 20, 2009.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009. Michelle Obama watches at right. The Bible Obama uses is the same one that President Abraham Lincoln used at his Inauguration in 1861.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

President Barack Obama walks in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US.

(Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in as 44th US president at the Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2009.

(TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Malia (L) and Sasha Obama arrive at the inauguration ceremony of their father, President-elect Barack Obama, as the 44th President of the United States in Washington January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Brent Smith (L), 3, watches the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States on a large screen in the neighborhood of Harlem January 20, 2009 in New York City. Obama was inaugurated as the first African-American president of the U.S.

(Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images)

A woman looks through binoculars at the Capitol building during the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

Michael and Laurie McRobbie of Indiana attend the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

Joe Biden, with his wife Jill at his side, is sworn-in as Vice President of the U.S. by Justice Stevens during the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jim Young)

A man stands wearing a hat in support of U.S. President Barack Obama on the National Mall in Washington January 20, 2013. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden took the oath of office for his second term on Sunday at a small ceremony at his official residence, using a bible with a Celtic cross on the cover that has been in his family since 1893. The U.S. Constitution requires the president and vice president to be sworn in on January 20. 

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Aretha Franklin sings during the inauguration ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

U.S. President Barack Obama is applauded by members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) in the President's Room after signing his first act as president, a proclamation, moments after being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States during the inaugural ceremony in Washington January 20, 2009. From left: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Vice President Joe Biden, JCCIC Chairman Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) To the right of Senator Reid is Lisa Brown, White House Clerk.

(REUTERS/Molly Riley)

An attendee prays during the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

First lady Michelle Obama (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama escort former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura (R) down the steps of the U.S. Capitol after inauguration ceremony in Washington January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Vice President Joe Biden (L) recite the Pledge of Allegiance during the inauguration ceremony in Washington January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

U.S President Barack Obama and his wife First Lady Michelle Obama dance on stage during MTV & ServiceNation: Live From The Youth Inaugural Ball at the Hilton Washington on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States today, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden attend the Southern Inaugural Ball celebrating the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Obama will be attending 10 Inaugural Balls. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African American to be elected President.

(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia wave to supporters lining Pennsylvania Avenue during the inaugural parade after he was sworn in as the 44th U.S. President in Washington January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)

U.S President Barack Obama (L) takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as first lady Michelle Obama holds the bible and their daughters Malia and Sasha (L-R) look on in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, January 20, 2013.

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)

The U.S. Capitol is pictured at sunrise before the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Recording artist Jay-Z arrives ahead swearing-in ceremonies for U.S. President Barack Obama on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Malia (L) and Sasha Obama arrive during the second presidential inauguration of their father, President Barack Obama, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington. Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.

(REUTERS/Win McNamee-POOL)

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (2nd from R, front) administers the oath of office to U.S. President Barack Obama as first lady Michelle Obama (C, front) and daughters Malia and Sasha (R, front) look on during ceremonies on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool)

A boy listens on the National Mall during the 57th inauguration ceremonies for U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

Beyonce sings the National Anthem during inauguration ceremonies for U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A woman listens on the National Mall during the 57th inauguration ceremonies for U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

A spectator watches U.S. President Barack Obama go by during the inaugural parade in Washington, January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk and wave after emerging from the presidential limousine during the inaugural parade from the Capitol to the White House in Washington, January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at the Inaugural Ball in Washington, January 21, 2013.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

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Obama did go on to explain the technical discussion behind the coin.

"There was this theory that I had the authority to issue through the mint this massive $1 trillion coin and on that basis we could try to pay off US Treasurys," said Obama. "It was a very realistic possibility that we couldn't get the votes for that and we couldn't get those debts rolled over and we would be in a situation where were technically in default. At that point you were in uncharted territory.

Obama said that the night was fraught as well because they were discussing the legality of the actions that he might take to avoid defaults and the possibility of getting sued by investors holding US bonds.

"In addition to talking to Jack Lew and my speechwriters about a speech, there were also questions about whether any actions that I took might be violations of the law," said Obama. "So we had to be talking to lawyers about potential challenges and legal actions and lawsuits from bondholders around the world. It wasn't my favorite night."

Check out the full discussion at the Crooked Media site.

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