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Obama's Scolding of Republicans Inflames Debt Talks

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In this file photo of Thursday, June 16, 2011, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, right, stands with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

If President Obama was hoping that his tongue-lashing of Republican lawmakers on Wednesday would jump-start stalled debt talks, the GOP response made clear that both sides are farther apart than ever.

Republicans refuse to accept Democrats' demands to hike taxes on top-earning Americans as part of the deal to increase the amount the nation can borrow by a Aug. 2 deadline. And the GOP didn't take kindly to the president comparing them to his two children, whom he says don't wait until the last minute to get their homework done.

House Speaker John Boehner said the president's remarks at his first full-blown news conference since March "ignore legislative and economic reality and demonstrate remarkable irony."

"His administration has been burying our kids and grandkids in new debt and offered no plan to rein in spending," Boehner said in a written statement. "Republicans have been leading and offering solutions to put the brakes on this spending binge. The president has been AWOL from the debate."

Boehner added that a bill that increases taxes and the amount the nation can borrow won't pass the GOP-led House.

"The votes simply aren't there – and they aren't going to be there, because the American people know tax hikes destroy jobs," he said. "They also know Washington has been on a spending binge for many years, and they will only tolerate a debt limit increase if we stop it."

At the news conference, Obama sought to portray the debt debate as class warfare, suggesting that Republicans are guardians of the rich by refusing to consider ending tax breaks for corporate jets or oil companies while Democrats are seeking to protect vulnerable children from drastic cuts to programs that will invest in their future.

"If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, then that means we've got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship, that means we've got to stop funding certain grants for medical research, that means that food safety may be compromised, that means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden," he said.

The president also took aim at the frequent recesses that Congress takes.

"These are bills that Congress ran up," he said. The money's been spent. The obligations have been made. You stay here. Let's get it done."

But Rep. Paul Ryan, whose 2012 budget blueprint has been seized by Democrats as a political liability for seeking to change Medicare to a voucher program, said in a Twitter post, "Mr. President, leadership is more than just showing up."

Republican leaders have expressed doubt about the Aug. 2 deadline that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner set in May when the nation hit its $14.3 trillion debt limit. Geithner said the Treasury could perform accounting maneuvers until Aug. 2 before the nation risked defaulting on its debt for the first time.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told Fox News that Wall Street "folks" have told him the deadline is closer to Aug. 22. Corker also said he believes Geithner will soon tell the American people that Aug. 2 is an arbitrary deadline. He also said that Treasury has about $1 trillion in reserve that can be used to pay off debts.

The one thing Senate Democrats and Republicans may actually agree on is cancelling next week's Independence Day recess.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is seriously considering nixing it after the president's criticism, and some Senate Republicans say they favor staying in session to work on the debt problem.

Fox News' Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.