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Obama: "More Than Willing To Engage" GOP On Need For More Taxes

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Now, the reason this is relevant is because I gather -- and I haven’t gotten this from firsthand sources, but from secondhand sources in the press -- that our friends on the other side of the aisle, their position is: We’re concerned about the sequester. We recognize that just cutting the federal spending with a meat ax, as opposed to scalpel is probably damaging -- it will damage our national security; it will damage our educational system. We'll have kids getting kicked off of Head Start. It will mean people who have disabled kids suddenly having less help.

They recognize that the sequester is a bad idea, but what they’ve suggested is that the only way to replace it now is for us to cut Social Security, cut Medicare, and not close a single loophole, not raise any additional revenue from the wealthiest Americans or corporations who have a lot of lawyers and accountants who are able to maneuver and manage and work and game the system.

And I have to tell you, if that's an argument that they want to have before the court of public opinion, that is an argument I'm more than willing to engage in. Because I believe the American people understand that, yes, we need to reduce the deficit, but it shouldn’t just be on the backs of seniors; it shouldn’t just be on the backs of young people who are trying to get a college education; it should not just be on the backs of parents who are trying to give their kids a better start in life; that all of us have to participate -- and that if, in fact, it’s important for us to make sure we've got a strong national defense and that we reduce our spending in a smart way, we sure as heck should be willing to ask those of us who are luckiest in this society to close a few loopholes and deductions that the average American doesn’t get.

And if that's the choice that we've got, I promise you we can win that debate because we're on the right side of this argument. And I expect that you guys will be with me on that.

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