Do it for the Gipper. That's the pitch President Obama made to Republicans on Tuesday as he continued to push for a "grand bargain" on raising the debt ceiling.
In an interview with CBS News, Obama again invoked Ronald Reagan as an example of how a president and a Congress controlled by an opposite party can find common ground.
"Ronald Reagan repeatedly took steps that included revenue in order for him to accomplish some of these larger goals. And the question is, if Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises?" Obama said.
Negotiators met for nearly two hours again Tuesday, their third straight day at the White House and one of the longest gatherings so far.
Publicly, the sides seem far from an agreement to extend the nation's borrowing capacity, with an Aug. 2 deadline looming before what experts warn could be a catastrophic default.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said during a scathing floor speech that he thought a deal to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling was "unattainable" with Obama still in the White House.
Asked about that comment by CBS' Scott Pelley, Obama downplayed it as a political swipe from a leader who is committed to helping defeat him in 2012. He said the debt crisis was not a Democratic or a Republican problem, but "a national problem that has to be resolved."
Democrats, Obama said, are willing to compromise, even though not all of his party's membership in Congress will sign on to a deal.
"I think we can get it done. Now, if it turns out that the other side won't budge on anything, then we're gonna be here every day until we get this done," he said.
McConnell later Tuesday offered a legislative strategy that could see the debt ceiling raised without spending cuts. To do so, both houses of Congress would have to pass measures of disapproval opposing Obama's requests for an increase, which the president would then veto.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did not immediately dismiss such a strategy.
"Sen. McConnell’s proposal today reaffirmed what leaders of both parties have stated clearly, that defaulting on America’s past-due bills is not an option," Carney said. "The president continues to believe that our focus must remain on seizing this unique opportunity to come to agreement on significant, balanced deficit reduction."
John A. Boehner, the House speaker, saw the McConnell plan as evidence of his colleague's "frustration."
"I think everybody believes there needs to be a backup plan if we are unable to come to an agreement, and frankly I think Mitch has done good work," he told Fox News Channel's Bret Baier.