President: 'Every American will suffer' if debt deal not reached

President Obama took his public relations effort on the road Friday, keeping the pressure on Congress to raise the debt ceiling and devise a grand bargain to deal with the national deficit, by telling a Maryland audience that "if we don't solve it, every American will suffer."

At a town-hall meeting at the University of Maryland, Obama again made his case for raising the debt ceiling, cutting almost $4 trillion in spending and raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

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The president, who for the last few weeks has been in intense White House meetings with congressional leaders, said that despite the fighting in Washington, "we have never defaulted on our debt — we're not going to do it now."

"The United States of America doesn't run out without paying the tab," Obama said. "We pay our bills. We meet our obligations."

The president said that in the 2010 midterms, "Americans chose a divided government, but they didn't choose a dysfunctional government."

Obama said he has convinced the American people on taxes and spending, and that he has found a bipartisan group in the Senate, presumably the Gang of Six, that agrees.

"The only folks we have left to convince are some folks in the House of Representatives," Obama said. "We're going to keep working on that."

Addressing the issue of class warfare, Obama said he wants "everybody to be able to be a millionaire" and that his efforts for a balanced plan are "not about punishing wealth."

"This isn't some wild-eyed socialist position," Obama said. "This is the position being taken by people of both parties and no party."