In an interview that was released this morning with former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos on ABC, President Obama talked a little about his view of the debt.
"[W]e don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt," Obama said. "In fact, for the next ten years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place."
Obama continued, "The question is, can we do it smarter, can we do it better? And– you know, what I’m saying to them is I am prepared to do some tough stuff. Neither side’s gonna get 100%. That’s what the American people are lookin’ for. That’s what’s gonna be good for jobs. That’s what’s gonna be good for growth."
Then Obama hinted a deal might not be attainable. "But ultimately, it may be that– the differences are just– too wide. It may be that ideologically, if their position is, 'We can’t do any revenue,' or, 'We can only do revenue if we gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid,' if that’s the position, then we’re probably not gonna be able to get a deal."
"That won’t– that won’t create a crisis. It just means that we will have missed an opportunity. I think that opportunity is there and I’m gonna– make sure that they know that I’m prepared to– work with them. But ultimately, it may be better if some Democratic and Republican Senators work together," he said.
Obama admitted he wasn't going to balance the budget. But, he said, it's not his goal. "Look, balancing the budget in part depends on how fast you grow. You remember– you were in the Clinton administration. The reason that you guys balanced it was a combination of some tax hikes, some spending cuts, and the economy grew," said Obama.
"And, so– you know, my goal is not to chase– a balanced budget just for the sake of balance. My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work, and if we do that we’re gonna be bringin’ in more revenue. If we’ve controlled spending and we’ve got a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance. But it’s not balance on the backs of, you know, the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families who’ve got disabled kids."