Obama surfaces to make public plea for debt deal

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama mounted the bully pulpit again this morning to promote the debt-ceiling bills pushed by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell “offered a plan that would get us through this,” said Obama, who did not take any questions during the brief appearance at the White House. (RELATED: White House seeks wiggle room as debt default looms)

The Senate Democratic and Republican bills are “not miles apart … we’re in rough agreement,” he said, without repeating his earlier demands for tax increases.

Obama also called on his supporters to pressure legislators to back a “compromise” bill, and emphasized his desire for a bill that would fund federal agencies until 2013.

Funding until 2013 is important for the White House, because it would help sideline campaign-year debates on the national debt and annual deficits.

Still, despite his call for a bipartisan fix, Obama recognized differences in the competing Senate bills, especially those concerning a still-uncertain mechanism that would force spending cuts. “I support that [mechanism] if it is done in a smart and a balanced way.” he said.

Obama did not comment on the House debt-ceiling bill, which stalled last night as House Speaker John Boehner tried to pressure colleagues for a final few critical votes. That bill is expected to come to the House floor for a vote today.

“If we don’t come to an agreement, we could lose our triple-A credit rating,” the president said from the podium. “We can end [this dispute] with a simple vote.”