"We can get our fiscal house in order, but we can do it in a way that is consistent with our values and who we are as a people," Obama said at one event. "Or we can decide to shrink our vision of what America is."
At times, Obama echoed the debt reduction speech he gave Wednesday, in which he called for cutting budget deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years. He also responded to critics who called that effort excessively partisan toward the Republican budget offered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who says his plan would cut $4.4 trillion over a decade.
"The speech I gave yesterday was not a partisan shot at the other side," Obama told backers in Chicago. "It was an attempt to clarify the choice that we have as a country right now."
Obama said the nation needs to reduce its debt, but "how we get there is important."