Obama Talks Budget, Trade Details During Philly Visit

President Barack Obama joined members of the House Democratic caucus in the City of Brotherly Love Thursday.

The U.S. leader joined the delegation at the Sheraton Society Hill shortly after he arrived at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday evening, a day after the group began their three-day policy retreat.

During the meeting, President Obama called for an end to the automatic spending cuts that have reduced money for domestic and defense programs. He says the cuts triggered by a 2011 budget act don't "differentiate between smart government spending and dumb government spending."

Obama also told a gathering of Democratic lawmakers that he welcomed Republicans who are talking about addressing income inequality and poverty. In a reference to Mitt Romney, Obama said: "We've got a former presidential candidate on the other side who suddenly is just deeply concerned about poverty. That's great."

He said imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

The President also promised to divulge more information about the specifics in the trade deals he's negotiating overseas, according to a staffer who was in the room.

Obama eagerly wants to finalize trade deals in Europe and Asia. His strongest opposition in Congress has come from Democrats who fear free-trade deals will harm workers. They want more information before agreeing to up-or-down votes on the deals.

The staffer says Obama told Democrats previous trade deals haven't been perfect but these new ones will improve the status quo. He told lawmakers the U.S. can't afford to let China set rules for global trade.

The staffer wasn't authorized to discuss a private meeting and requested anonymity.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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