President Obama Prepares to Address Debt Ceiling

(NECN/NBC News: Kristen Welker) - President Obama is soaking up the final hours of vacation before he and Congress engage in their next fiscal fight.

At the top of the list is the debt ceiling, which is like the nation's credit card -- and it’s about to max out.

Emboldened by his recent tax-hike victory, Obama drew a hard line in his weekly address.

"As I said earlier this week, one thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they've already racked up,” he said.

House Speaker John Boehner, who won re-election to the speakership this week, told his conference he plans to use the debt limit as leverage to cut spending.

In the Republican address, Rep. Dave Camp echoed Boehner.

"Our national debt is now over $16 trillion,” he said. “We're crushing today's small businesses and the next generation of Americans under a mountain of debt."

If the fight sounds familiar -- it is.

During the summer of 2011, the country had its credit downgraded after the president and lawmakers had a bruising fight over the debt limit.

On Friday, CNBC’s Jim Cramer told Andrea Mitchell that the upcoming partisan battle could have an impact.

"Look, the first quarter is going to be very difficult because of this,” Cramer said. “A lot of companies are going to report in the next few weeks -- and they're going to say we are already even more cloudy because we don't know what cuts are coming."

And there are two other budget deadlines looming in the coming months, which could complicate the president's second term agenda. They include immigration reform, pressing for stiffer gun control laws and new energy policies.

Joe Lockhart served as press secretary to former President Bill Clinton.

Lockhart said that in order to achieve his other policy goals, Obama should focus on building public support -- a tactic he more heavily employed toward the end of his first term.

"The president has to lay out a program and a political game plan for how he is going to sell this and then hit the road and go city to city -- talk to Republicans, talk to Democrats, create an environment where it's very, very difficult for the Republicans to oppose him,” Lockhart said.

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