He said he expects a “robust debate” on the budget in the coming year and noted the failure of Congress to fund the government over the long term. The conversation must be about cutting spending “while still making investments that we do need,” he said.
“Regardless of how the politics play out in 2012, the people will be better for it,” Obama said.
The president also lauded Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) for helping to win support for the nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, and he told reporters that he had phoned Lugar following the vote. Obama said he reminded Lugar that his first trip as a Senator was with the Indiana Republican and focused on nuclear weapons, a foreign policy issue that Obama wrote about in his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” and spoke about frequently on the presidential campaign trail. Lugar’s strong working relationship with the White House has been central to conservative criticism that could materialize in a GOP primary challenge in 2012.