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Obama declines to draw line in budget battle

Panelists on CBS News political analyst John Dickerson's weekly politics roundtable agreed Friday that President Obama missed an opportunity to take a hard line on the budget at his press conference despite calls by Democrats for stronger leadership on this issue from the White House.

The "Washington Unplugged" week-in-review roundtable included CBS News chief White House correspondent Chip Reid and Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, as well as National Journal congressional correspondent Major Garrett.

"I really thought he was going to go further on this [budget] and I'll tell you why - before this press conference, I received a hint that the president had something to say on budget negotiations," Reid told Dickerson.

Asked about the budget Friday, Obama said that negotiations "shouldn't be that complicated" and that Republicans are "not going to get 100 percent of what they want."

"Both sides are going to have to sit down and compromise on prudent cuts somewhere between what the Republicans were seeking that's now been rejected and what the Democrats had agreed to that has also been rejected," Obama said.

"We did get a hint that he had something to say and I really didn't think he said very much," Reid said.

Cordes pointed to frustrations among Democrats that the president isn't taking a hard line on budget talks, and Garrett added that they left Republicans feeling like they have the upper hand.

"The president is still not prepared to make those kind of delineations and let people know in a political sense what he's for and what he's absolutely against," Garrett said. "Until that happens, this is going to muddle on and Republicans will continue to believe they have the momentum."

Mr. Obama also commented on crises in Japan and Libya at Friday's presser, which was initially announced by the White House to be on the topic of energy and essentially rising gas prices.

Friday's "Washington Unplugged" also featured Dickerson's sit down interview with Rep. Tom Graves, a Tea Party-linked Republican from Georgia's who's emerging as a leader among Congress' freshmen in the budget battle.