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Obama: Americans want both sides to 'act like grownups'

From NBC’s Athena Jones and Domenico Montanaro
In a move reminiscent to his push for a tax deal at the end of last year, President Obama made an unannounced trip to the White House briefing room to push for a budget deal.

AP

President Obama talks about the budget today at the White House.

Obama said both sides were "closer than we've ever been before" on reaching a budget deal and that the only question is whether politics or ideology are going to get in the way of preventing a government shutdown.

The last thing the economy needs is a government shutdown, Obama said, adding that his team will work as long as necessary to reach an agreement on the budget.

Obama said there would be a meeting between House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) later today, and that if progress wasn't made in that meeting, he wanted congressional leaders to come back to the White House tomorrow for more talks.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney later dodged questions about whether that meant the president would cancel his planned trips Wednesday to Pennsylvania and New York.

On the prospect of another short-term continuing resolution, Obama said it wouldn't be his preference, but that if over next 24 to 48 hours, a deal was done and the two sides just can't get the paperwork through quickly enough, a short-term CR under those circumstances is something the White House would support.

Obama said the American people expect both sides to "act like grownups" and not focus on scoring political points. Americans are worrying about gas prices and jobs, and that's what the government should be focused on, he said.

While the president said Democrats were willing to offer additional proposals for cuts, he did not offer specifics.