Obama Calls GOP Leaders

WASHINGTON (February 21, 2013)--President Barack Obama called Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell Thursday to talk about looming spending cuts set to kick in on March 1.

The calls were Mr. Obama's first in weeks to top Republicans in Congress and they came as both parties remain in a stalemate over how to avoid across-the-board automatic cuts that would trim $85 billion from most government accounts.

McConnell’s spokesman Don Stewart said the outreach was Mr. Obama's first since New Year's Eve.

White House spokesman Jay Carney disclosed the calls Thursday.

Neither he nor top Republican aides offered details about the discussions.

Mr. Obama is mounting a public campaign, including a trip to Virginia next week, to cast the cuts as damaging to national security and to other government services.

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