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“If we think it’s hard now, imagine how these guys [lawmakers] are going to be thinking six months from now,” Mr. Obama said. “We might as well do it now. Pull off the Band-Aid. Eat our peas. Now is the time to do it. If not now, when?”

Mr. Obama suggested Republicans’ concerns about taxes are overblown because proposals to close corporate tax loopholes and raise rates on wealthier families wouldn’t take effect until 2013.

“Nobody has talked about increasing taxes now,” the president said. “Nobody has talked about increasing taxes next year. We’re talking about, potentially, 2013 and the out years.”

While Republicans are fairly united in opposition to tax increases, Democrats reacted with hostility to the president’s willingness to include spending reductions on entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare as part of any deal. On Monday morning, Mr. Obama spoke for the first time of “trimming benefits” for seniors to make those programs sustainable for a longer period.

“We’re going to have a sales job,” the president said. “This is not pleasant. This is hard to persuade people to do hard stuff that entails trimming benefits and increasing revenues.”