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      Obama challenges GOP to compromise on debt

      WASHINGTON (AP) " Confronting a partisan stalemate, President Barack Obama bluntly challenged Republicans Monday to make compromises on raising the nation's borrowing limit to avert a potentially disastrous economic crisis.

      "What I've said to them is, 'Let's go,'" the president said, as the clock ticked down to an Aug. 2 deadline. The administration says there must be a deal by then or the nation will face an unprecedented default on its obligations that could throw the uncertain economic recovery into greater doubt and reverberate around the globe.

      "It is possible for us to construct a package that is balanced, shares sacrifice, would involve both parties taking on sacred cows," the president said, mentioning Medicare and Social Security as well as the tax increases the Republicans oppose.

      Obama spoke at a White House news conference a day after high-level negotiations with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders ended in a partisan standoff. The president has called the lawmakers back to the White House Monday afternoon and has said he'll call meetings daily until the deadlock is broken.

      Besides the economic impact, the political fortunes of Obama himself as well as the lawmakers will be affected heading into next year's elections. Obama's demand for higher taxes for the wealthy and some big corporations has run into conservatives' refusal to entertain that approach, leaving the outcome uncertain with less than a month left.

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