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February 21, 2013

Obama talks sequester with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner

President Obama has been hammering at congressional Republicans to reach a compromise to avert a series of budget cuts -- and today he picked up the phone to talk to them about it.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama placed calls earlier today to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner, but he declined to characterize the calls beyond that they were "good conversations."

Obama continued pressing Republicans via a public relations push, taping interviews from the Oval Office with black radio show hosts.

"I don't know if they're going to move," Obama said of Republican lawmakers in an interview on Al Sharpton's "Keeping it Real," radio show. "That's what we're going to have to keep pushing over the next seven or eight days."

Carney announced Obama will take his push on the road next week, visiting Newport News, Va., to "highlight the fact that there will be real-world impacts to the implementation of the sequester, if that takes place, if Republicans choose to allow that to happen." The Daily Press reports he'll appear at Newport News Shipbuilding where he'll talk about "potentially deep cuts to defense."

Obama wants to replace the steep spending cuts with a mix of tax measures -- closing loopholes for corporate jets, among other items -- and spending cuts. Republican leaders say the door for taxes is closed.

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