ABC News' Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) Reports:
Today President Obama will continue his push to convince the American people that a “big deal” to reduce the deficit is the best option for the nation’s economy at a town hall at the University of Maryland.
The event comes one day after news broke that the president and House Speaker John Boehner are attempting to revive a far-reaching deal to reduce the deficit through immediate spending cuts paired with entitlement cuts and tax reforms further down the road.
However, both sides remain far from an agreement and congressional Democrats were outraged Thursday at the possibility that Obama would accept a deal that does not include immediate tax increases.
With less than two weeks to avert default and raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, Obama writes in a USA Today editorial that the debate should be about more than just avoiding the “catastrophe of not paying our bills.”
“We have the opportunity to do something big and meaningful,” he writes.
Also today, President Obama will welcome New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to the White House to discuss the partnership between their two countries and their shared global interests.
Later in the afternoon Obama will meet privately with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who are expected to announce today that the Defense Department is ready to end the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ban on gays openly serving in the military.
Obama will also spend time today with Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Mrs. Eikenberry to thank the Ambassador for his service in Afghanistan.