White House senior adviser David Plouffe said on Sunday that despite Republican warnings that the tax debate is over, President Obama would not accept a budget deal without additional revenue.
“We are going to require some more revenues,” Plouffe told me on “This Week.” “John Boehner himself said he thought there was $800 billion in revenues from closing loopholes. We’ve dealt with the tax rate issue, now it’s about loopholes.”
“And I think the country would be well served by tax and entitlement reform because it would help the economy,” he added.
Plouffe said that Obama has met Republicans “more than halfway,” and that any deal needs to be “balanced.” Republicans, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, have said that the revenue debate is “over” and that they would not negotiate with the White House for additional revenue in a budget deal.
“We need spending cuts and entitlement reform and revenue. Have to have that,” Plouffe said.
When I asked him if Republicans have caved with their new debt ceiling strategy, he said that they had.
“Yeah, I think they have, on this principle, and that’s very important,” he said. ”This is a big departure for them.”
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Plouffe said that in Obama’s inauguration address he will lay out his vision for his second term, and will provide a “blueprint” in his State of the Union address.
He said that in his second term, Obama will push for “common ground” on issues like the deficit, immigration reform and gun control.
“It’s clear there’s a huge consensus in the country about how we ought to approach the deficit and the economy—issues like immigration and gun safety,” Plouffe said. “I think he’s going to be very frustrated if Washington is completely divorced from the reality in the country.”
“So he’s going to seek common ground, he’s going to find every way he can to compromise. But he’s going to be pretty clear, and we’re also going to bring the American people more into the debate than we did in the first term.”
Despite misgivings among several Democratic Senators about the president’s proposals on gun control, Plouffe said he believes a deal is possible, although difficult to achieve. He said he believes that opinions in Washington are changing on the issue, citing the example of pro-gun Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin who expressed an openness to discuss the issue.
“We don’t expect it all to pass…in its current form,” he said. “We’re going to twist the arms of Democrats, Republicans and we’re going to engage the American people in this debate.”
Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused Obama of being a “sore winner” in his dealings with Republicans. He said that the Obama administration could build common ground with Republicans on immigration reform and the deficit if he would ask Democrats to compromise more, but he hasn’t.
“That’s the problem with this administration. They don’t, they don’t—they’re not very gracious winners. And I always say if there’s one thing worse than a sore loser, that’s a sore winner. And the president is a sore winner,” Santorum told me. “And Republicans understand that. This president could get immigration done. He could get something done on deficits and entitlements, but he’s got to move his people to do that instead of forcing Republicans always to come his way. And that’s the problem.”