Obama shifts "hands off" approach to supercommittee, calls co-chairs

Members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction hold a public hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. From left are, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., Co-Chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Co-Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

On Friday, President Obama phoned both Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Representative Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas,  the bipartisan co-chairs of the supercommittee, and urged them to reach a deal. He also reminded the two that both parties agreed to a sequester.

This marks a shift for President Obama, who has had a "hands-off" approach to the congressional deliberations.

A senior White House official says the president called the co-chairs in response to media reports, like this one from Foreign Policy's "The Cable," outlining an attempt by Republicans to circumvent the "trigger" mechanism.

This week, Sen. John McCain said, "We'll do everything we can to prevent [the trigger] being implemented. You can't bind future Congresses."

In his call, President Obama responded, emphasizing that, "Congress must not shirk its responsibilities."

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