White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that making needed changes in the two massive programs will require compromise. He would not set a timetable for negotiations.
Adjusting Social Security and Medicare have typically been politically charged topics that both parties have used to attack each other.
Carney also defended Obama's assertions that his 2012 budget eventually will not add to the national debt, even though it shows deficits in every year through 2021. He said the budget foresees spending and revenues reaching balance further down the road. He said the only spending that will create deficits will be continued interest payments on the debt.