He acknowledges many people may not immediately notice the full impact of the so-called sequester cuts if they take effect Friday. But he says yanking $85 billion from the economy this year would be a "big hit" on a nation still trying to fully recover from a recession.
Speaking to business executives Wednesday, Obama acknowledged it will be difficult for lawmakers to reach a deal to offset the cuts by Friday. He says the logjam is not technical, "it's political.
The president wants Republicans to drop their opposition to using some new tax revenue to offset the cuts. And he says members of his own party must accept some changes to government entitlement programs.