Obama urges debt panel to reach for deal

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) ? President Barack Obama has urged leaders of Congress’ supercommittee to press hard for a deal on slashing the deficit ? and not look for an end run around a key enforcement mechanism.

Obama spoke to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling by phone from Air Force One as he flew to San Diego.

Spokesman Jay Carney says Obama urged the two in separate calls to “achieve what is eminently achievable.” The committee is supposed to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in new deficit cuts by Thanksgiving.

If it can’t, automatic cuts in defense and other programs will kick in. Carney says Obama warned the two not to try to shut off those automatic cuts, and instead do the hard work necessary for a deal.